Kirsten Oakley, School Director, Formal Program & Children’s Division
Kirsten Oakley is the artistic director of Footworks Youth Ballet, director of the Oakley Ballet Center and a native of Ventura County. Kirsten trained at Westside Ballet in Santa Monica with Yvonne Mounsey. She started her professional career as a member of the Milwaukee Ballet. She has also danced with the Chicago Lyric Opera, Milwaukee Dance Theater, and Et toi, tu Danses? (Ballet Wisconsin). Kirsten opened the Oakley Ballet Center in 1998 with the mission of providing top-quality classical ballet instruction in a positive environment. Kirsten’s focus on instilling her students with sound technique and positive self-image has resulted in many successes. Her students have attended notable summer programs, including the School of American Ballet, the Pacific Northwest Ballet School, the San Francisco Ballet School, the Boston Ballet School, and many others. Alumni of her school have continued to dance in professional companies like Ballet West, advanced training programs such as Pacific Northwest Ballet School’s Professional Division, and university dance departments at Stanford and CSULB.
Laurin Boland, Children’s Division
Laurin began her early training in both Ventura and Santa Barbara counties as well as in Philadelphia. She continued her studies in dance with the UCSB dance department and performed with the UCSB Ballet Company under the direction of Valerie Houston. Laurin earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with an emphasis in Child Development from UCSB and, later, a Masters Degree in Elementary Education from California Lutheran University. After years of working with children in Ventura, Laurin is delighted to be teaching ballet with her longtime and very dear friend, Kirsten Oakley, at Oakley Ballet Center. Laurin lives in Ventura with her husband Bill, and their three children.
Kimmie Hannah, Formal Program & Children’s Division
A native of Ventura, Kimmie began her training locally. In 1998 she started studying at the Oakley Ballet Center where she is a member of the instructional staff. Miss Hannah has attended summer programs at Boston Ballet, as well as Ballet Chicago. Her professional experience includes being part of the Channel Islands Ballet, first as a trainee and then an apprentice. More recently Kimmie danced with the San Diego City Ballet. Kimmie is currently studying dance at California State University Long Beach.
Brianna Meyer, Formal Program & Children’s Division
Brianna Meyer is from Thousand Oaks, California. She trained with Kirsten Oakley and on full scholarship at Pacific Northwest Ballet School. She also participated in summer courses at Oakley Ballet Center, San Francisco Ballet School, School of American Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet. As a student in Pacific Northwest Ballet School’s Professional Division, Ms. Meyer has performed works by August Bournonville, Kent Stowell, and Melissa Barak. She also danced numerous corps de ballet roles with Pacific Northwest Ballet, including performances of Kent Stowell’s The Nutcracker and Swan Lake; Ronald Hynd’s Sleeping Beauty; George Balanchine’s Diamonds, Theme and Variations and Symphony in Three Movements; and Twyla Tharp’s Waterbaby Bagatelles.
J. Steven Murillo, Modern Technique
A veteran performer, choreographer, lighting designer and producer, Steven started performing at 14 with The Aman Folk Ensemble at UCLA. He was awarded a full scholarship to Duquesne University with the internationally famous Tamburitzans. Discovering classical dance, he transferred to the UCLA Dance Department (BA and MA, Performance and Choreography), appearing as a soloist with the UCLA Dance Company. A founding member of Dance /LA, he toured nationally before moving to New York, where he took company class with Jennifer Muller. He also toured with Toronto Dance Theatre in Canada for a year. He is the recipient of the Massachusetts Arts Council Choreographic Fellowship (1979). He danced with the Boston Opera Ballet and taught Modern Dance at the prestigious Boston Conservatory. He has been on the Dance Faculty at UC Irvine and Arizona State University, and lived for a year in Copenhagen, Denmark, teaching for several studios and choreographing for the LaNarDin Ballets. Retiring from performing, he went on to become the Production Manager for UCLA Center for the Performing Arts, and the Arts Manager at UCSB Arts & Lectures. Steven also served as Technical Director and Lighting Designer for the CSULB Dance Department. Steven studied technique and choreography with Mia Slavenska, Stanley Holden, Margaret Hills, Alfredo Corvino, Jack Cole, Jennifer Muller, Louis Falco, and has performed the works of Doris Humphrey, Jose Limon, Lar Lubavitch, Bill Evans, and Senta Driver.
Brittany Petersen, Formal Program & Children’s Division
Brittany began her ballet training at the Oakley Ballet Center under Kirsten Oakley and continued her studies at the Pacific Northwest Ballet School. She also participated in summer intensives at School of American Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet. Brittany joined Ballet West in 2006 as a member of Ballet West II. Prior to joining Ballet West, she performed with Pacific Northwest Ballet in Kent Stowell’s The Nutcracker, George Balanchine’s Symphony in 3 Movements, Serenade, Symphony in C, La Valse and Jewels, as well as Ronald Hynd’s The Merry Widow. Since joining Ballet West, Brittany’s performance highlights include Heather Colledge-Gray’s Il Riposo, Jonas Kage’s The Sleeping Beauty and Giselle, and William Christensen’s The Nutcracker.
Adrian Torres, Formal Program
Adrian Daniel Torres, a native of Oxnard, began his professional dance education in 1995 with the Alvin Ailey American dance Center in New York. He was a Fellowship (scholarship) student at the AAADC for the 1995-’96 and 1997-’98 season. He performed with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater during their ‘95 and ‘97 City Center Season in their annual production of “Memoria”. In between Ailey, Adrian was honored to be one of the first recipients of the Bob Fosse Scholarship Program (1996-97 season). This program enabled him to study at many different dance schools in the LA area, like the EDGE Performing Arts Center in Hollywood, Westside Ballet in Santa Monica, among others. In 1998, Adrian was recruited by a German Dance Theater Company, Tanztheater Darmstadt. He performed with the company 2 years, before moving on to a contemporary Ballet company, the Nordharzer Ballett Ensemble (also based in Germany). In addition to regular dance concert productions, his work with these companies included musicals, such as the “Rocky Horror Picture Show”, and collaborations with the theater’s acting and opera companies, such as a production of “The Diary of Anne Frank”. In 2009, Adrian returned to southern California, with his wife and their two daughters, and he teaches Ballet/ Floor Barre at Oakley Ballet Center, as well as at other dance schools in the Ventura County area.