Misako Aoki Owner & Artistic Director
Misako Aoki began her dance training in Japan and later trained at the Royal Ballet School in London. From there, she joined the Matsuyama Ballet Company, one of the major ballet companies in Japan, and performed in Europe and China with Rudolf Nureyev. After moving to the United States in 1993, Misako founded her own studio and taught at Towson and UMBC. She was also a rehearsal assistant for the Moscow Ballet's Nutcracker and the Washington Ballet's Nutcracker at the Hippodrome. Additionally, Misako is the Artistic Director of Misako Ballet Company, a non-profit professional dance company. She has served as a scholarship review panelist for Howard County Arts Council for several years and as a 2015 Dance panelist at Maryland State Arts Council.
Ms. Misako Aoki received FY 2019 Mark Ryder Original Choreography Award!
We are pleased to announce that Ms. Misako Aoki has been selected as the recipient for the Howard County Arts Council’s FY 2019 Mark Ryder Original Choreography Award!
Jessica McElvaney, Ballet & Contemporary Modern Dance
Jessica joined the faculty of Misako Ballet Studio in 2004. She has a B.A.in Dance, a B.A. in Modern Languages and Linguistics, and an M.A. in Instructional Systems Development from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She received her early training at MgM Dance Studio, Falls Road Dance Studio, and the Baltimore Actor's Theatre Academy. She participated in workshops with Doug Varone and Dancers and Clancyworks, and performed with Doug Hamby Dance. Jessica continues to perform as a member of Misako Ballet Company. She is also a production assistant and educational outreach teacher for Misako Ballet Company and Studio.
Cecilia Ituarte, Ballet and Mommy & Me
Cecilia Ituarte has over 14 years of experience as a dance teacher. She holds an Associate Diploma in Ballet Teaching and Advanced II degree in Modern Dance Theatre from the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD). She graduated in Classical Ballet from the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD). As a dancer, she has enjoyed performing in several cities in Mexico; in Trujillo, Peru and in Los Angeles, California with companies including: Mexico en Movimiento and Momentum Danza among others. She has choreographed pieces for her students, and is also a professional graphic designer.
Christine Williams, Pilates
Christine has been teaching Pilates classes since 2002. Christine is certified as a Pilates instructor by Peak Pilates in Pilates Mat, Pilates Reformer, Pilates Tower, Pilates Chair and Pilates Barrel. She has also developed and taught Aqua Pilates classes. Known by her students for her enthusiasm and encouraging attitude, Christine enjoys helping people achieve their personal fitness goals. Christine blends excellent teaching skills with passion, creativity, motivation and education. She continues to take advanced workshops and certification training in the health industry to increase her knowledge and better serve her clients.
Dorothy Adams, Ballet
Dorothy Adams is from Montgomery County, here she grew up watching her sister dance. From this she fell in love with ballet. Dance was her way to express her feelings. At the young age of nine she began ballet at the Montgomery County Ballet Company and years later she majored in dance at the University of Maryland. Along with ballet she does jazz and modern.
She has been teaching for over 25 years in Howard County and loves to interact with all her students of different ages and backgrounds in order to expose them to the wonders and joys of dance. Their most important lesson taught in her lesson according to her is that anything can be accomplished with hard work and effort.
Along with being a dance teacher she also teaches at a local Elementary School and previously in Baltimore County where she wrote dance curriculum. She loves volunteering after school, as well as swimming.
Bethany Bilewu, Hip Hop Dance
Bethany Bilewu has been dancing since two & training professionally since five. She started her professional training with Spirit Wings Dance Company. With her passion, she hopes to start a non-profit aimed for children who cannot afford to have an education in the arts. Bethany is currently a student at Towson University with a graduation date of May 2019. She is apart of Towson Dance Department works including The Senior Seminar Project & DMMP. Along with teaching at Misako Beats, she is the Hip-Hop Instructor at Spirit Wings Dance Company for their pre-professional program & enjoys sharing dance with everyone.
Gabrielle Marrapodi, Musical Theatre Dance
Gabrielle is a graduate from George Mason University completing a BFA in Dance. She began her dance training in Columbia, Maryland studying various genres. At George Mason she focused on modern movement and had the privilege to study under former members of companies such as Lines, Battleworks, Alvin Ailey, Lar Lubovitch, Mark Morris, and The Washington Ballet, as well as Broadway. She has created choreographic works as well as having traveled to Cuba to study Afro-Cuban and social dance. Over the years Gabrielle has been vocal training under the guidance of Erin Driscoll. Most recently, Gabrielle booked and completed her first performance contract at Busch Gardens, Williamsburg Christmas Town in their mainstage production of “Scrooge No More”. Gabrielle wishes to continue teaching and inspiring young dancers.
Nina Basu, Ballet
Nina Basu received her training with Tampa City Ballet, a pre-professional intensive ballet program in Tampa, Florida While there, she learned classical ballet, variations, partnering, and neoclassical repertoire. She has danced in Cinderella, Don Quixote, Sleeping Beauty, the Nutcracker as Clara, Alice in Wonderland, and Pacquita as Pacquita. She also attended Blake High School for the performing arts in Tampa, Florida that taught Horton modern technique. She has also been awarded acceptances into summer programs such as The Rock School for the Dance Education, The Miami City Ballet, and International Ballet School, and Lines Contemporary Ballet. She is also a YAGP finalist.
Laury Jackson, Belly Dance
Najla Nefersita, my dance name is a performing bellydance artist based in the state of Maryland of the USA. Najla began her study of bellydance in 2003(ATS, Egyptian and Tribal), she also has training in Modern, Hip hop, Tap and ballet; giving her a very open mind in the world of dance. Her movements can be described as mysteries, with a taste of tease and playfullness. Najla's dance is a fusion style of belly dance, showing her training in modern dance and hip hop giving her style that graceful touch yet stylish flare. Najla has studied with different instructors as well as taken workshops with well know Teachers such as Lotus Niraja, Naimah, Dr. Sunyella Amen, Belladonna, Amar Gamal, Artemis and Shems. She is always looking to learn more and studying different styles of bellydance.
Mary Clark, Summer Camp
Mary Clark has been dancing since she was five years old and graduated Towson University with a BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography with K-12 Concentration. While studying at TU, she became a member of the National Honors Society for Dance Arts and spent her summers working for AileyCamp Baltimore and attending summer dance intensives with Ballet Magnificat and Frequent Flyers. Mary has choreographed and performed for TU’s 150th Anniversary Celebration (Dance On Bones), was selected to perform at the American College Dance Association in West Virginia, and has performed with Air Dance Bernasconi at Baltimore Theatre Project.
Lauren Jurd Hawkes, Summer Camp
Lauren Jurd Hawkes is from Columbia, Maryland. She has been dancing for over twenty years. Her background includes studying ballet, modern and jazz. She is in the process of completing her Masters in Leadership of Education from Notre Dame University of Maryland. She is a certified mommy and me instructor and certified in pre/post-natal fitness.
Seth & Jessica Ewoo , Hip Hop
Seth and Jessica are hip-hop teachers at Misako Beats. They moved around a lot in their childhood. They both lived in many states and Seth lived in multiple countries including Ghana and Canada.
Seth fell in love with dancing when he was little and watched Michael Jackson perform. He fell in love with Jackson’s technique and began to watch a lot of dance, despite never actually dancing himself. In 2003, Seth performed with his friends in an international festival and realized he was a natural- since then, Seth has been dancing and loving it.
Jessica always had a sister who was a ballerina, and Jess knew she wanted to dance but not in the style of ballet. In her Kindergarten talent show, her mother choreographed a piece for her to dance. After that Jessica and her mother kept choreographing dances to perform. Eventually, Jessica found friends who liked to dance and would learn choreography from music videos with them.
Tonja Mask-Gomez, Ballet & Tap Dance
Tonja Mask-Gomez began her dance experience at La-Cher-Tari Dance studio at the age of 3, under the direction of Mrs. Cheryl G. Jenkins. Her teaching is a combination and reflection of the superb instruction that she received while at La-Cher-Tari Dance Studio under such greats as the late Marian D. Cuyjet, Delphine Mantz, Jiva Rankins, Henry Roy, Carol Butcher, and the late Melvin Purnell. When she was 15 she furthered her dance career at Pointe Breeze “Positively to the Point” Dance Co. In 2003, Tonja received her Bachelor’s in Liberal studies and minored in Dance at West Chester University. During her time at WCU, she was the captain of the Black Student Union (BSU) Dance Co. for 3 years, and performed with the West Chester University Dance team for 4 years. Tonja is also a proud 9 year member of L.Y.F.E (Live your fantasy everyday) Dance Co. Tonja has instructed, choreographed and inspired young people to pursuit their dreams and to do it with excellence! Throughout her career, Tonja has captured the essence of disciplined instruction and has been both admired and revered by her dance peers and students. These accomplishments and being a wife and mother of two beautiful kids has made Tonja the person that she is today.
Fredric Davis, Hip Hop Dance
Fredric Davis , Baltimore native, began his Hip Hop dance experience by being apart of Deer Park Middle School's Dance Team. Following that, he desired to explore more genres of dance by becoming a dance student at N'ferno Performing Art Center. There, Fredric took classes in ballet, modern, jazz, and hip hop. In addition, he was selected to become a member of N'ferno Competition Dance Team, where he gained performance experience. Feeling that his high school need more arts programs, Fredric petitioned and gained sponsors so he could create a dance team at his school. From there, he choreographed and instructed his fellow peers for performances at school functions. However, he discovered that he had a strong passion for choreography and started choreographing for N'ferno's Competition Hip Hop Dance Team in his senior year of high school. After high school, he attended University of Tampa, in Tampa, Florida, double majoring in International Accounting and Applied Dance, focusing mostly on theJazz and Hip Hop dance styles. Also, joining his university's dance team called Unified Dance Crew performing around the Tampa Bay Area. Currently, Fredric is now teaching Hip Hop dance at N'ferno Performing Art Center.
Zakiya Murphy, Yoga
Zakiya is currently a student at Morgan State University, studying Film and Television Writing. She has been practicing yoga for over 5 years, and received her instructor certification last year. Zakiya believes that yoga is a great gateway to improved health of the mind, body, and spirit. All people of all sizes can practice yoga. There are no limitations, only adjustments. A fun fact about Zakiya is that she is a now two-time, independently published author. Ask her about her books after class, and follow her on Instagram at the handle @zakiya.davidia.