Esperanza Dance Project – Dancer Bios
Makenna Aitken is a 17-year-old junior at University High School. This is her first year in Esperanza but she has been dancing for 5 years. She is currently in the Primavera Dance group at her school which is the highest level of performing dance at UHS. Makenna is also involved in soccer and swim with her school. Dance is a passion for Makenna and she hopes to continue Esperanza for as long as she can because she gets the privilege of helping out the community.
Jaynie Anguiano, 24, is a Tucson native working as a counseling assistant at a local behavioral health rehabilitation facility and as a part-time science and writing tutor. Jaynie graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in May 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Biological Basis of Behavior and is currently applying to medical school. Jaynie started dancing at age 12 and has been trained in jazz, tap, contemporary, modern, and ballet. Jaynie is currently in her second season with the Esperanza and serves as the artistic director’s assistant. She has truly enjoyed performing with Esperanza and helping to spread awareness about such an important topic though an artistic medium that has played a crucial role in her own life.
Jessica Anguiano is a 20-year-old sophomore at the University of Arizona studying Psychology and Pre-Health. Jessica has been dancing since she was 9 years old, dancing with director Beth Braun in high school and continuing with Braun in Esperanza Dance Project. This is Jessica’s fourth season with Esperanza Dance Project. Jessica joined the project because she feels that people should not be ignorant to sexual violence, and because sexual violence is a relevant topic in so many people’s lives, including her’s. Jessica is passionate about Esperanza Dance Project and is honored to be representing the project for the fourth time this season.
Marian Arthur was born in Tucson, AZ and is currently a senior at the University ofArizona studying Political Science and Psychology. She has been dancing since the age of four and has trained in and enjoys a variety of dance including ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop, and modern. Marian stopped in middle school and started up again in high school with Beth Braun. Going to the U of A, she thought she would no longer be able to continue dancing. Thanks to the Esperanza Dance Project, she is still able to enjoy dancing into her college years. She loves that Esperanza Dance Project enables her to express her feelings about a subject that is important to her and how it inspires other to express their own feelings about this subject. This will be her fourth season with the Project.
Thaddeus “Tadeo” Celaya
Thaddeus “Tadeo” Celaya is 25-year-old queer latino youth born and raised in Tucson, Arizona. Tadeo has been dancing since winter of 2010 under the direction of Nicole Hamilton and Pepe Ochoa when he joined the Rincon/University winter guard and color guard. He joined the Esperanza Dance Project after graduating from Rincon high in 2011. Currently, Tadeo is a part time dance student at Pima Community College and hopes to transfer to The University of Arizona dance program or explore professional dance opportunities.
Gabriella Chancay is a 17-year-old senior at University High School. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, she found a passion for dancing at the age of four when she began taking jazz, ballet and tap lessons lessons at her local studio. She continued her dance instruction under the direction of the Spindrift School of Performing Arts in Pacifica, California until the age of eleven. Later, after moving across the country twice with her family, she found herself in Tucson, Arizona. Starting in her freshman year of high school, she has been dancing under the instruction of Beth Braun and is currently a member of the Primavera advanced dance class at University High School. She hopes that her dancing can inspire others and is honored to be a part of the Esperanza Dance Project.
Francisco “Pancho” Chaparro
Francisco Chaparro, better know by his nickname “Pancho,” is a 17-year-old high school student at Rincon High School. He has danced with Beth Braun since his sophomore year. Before that, he choreographed and danced in a hip-hop group in elementary school. Beth Braun helped Pancho start dancing again. Soon after, he joined the Esperanza Dance Project. Pancho believes strongly in Esperanza and its message.
Nicolle Chavez is a Senior at Rincon High School, born and raised in Tucson, Arizona. She has been acting since she was a 9th grader and plans to pursue it in college. She feels Esperanza further’s her love for understanding people, as a narrator in Esperanza she not only becomes more aware of sexual violence herself but is able to aid in the awareness of others.
Emberly Davis, age 15, was born in Austin, Texas and raised in Tucson, Arizona. She is a sophomore at Tucson High Magnet School where she participates in the dance program. Emberly has been dancing for eleven years and has studied ballet, modern, jazz, and African dance. She believes that Esperanza Dance Project’s mission has the power to change people’s lives and puts a purpose and drive behind her dance. This is her first season performing with EDP.
Zoe DeFalco is 15-years-old and is a student at University High School. She was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and has lived in Tucson for thirteen years. Zoe has been dancing since the age of three and has trained in ballet, contemporary, jazz, and modern styles. This is her first year dancing with the Esperanza Dance Project and she hopes to use her love of dance to raise awareness and promote the project’s mission.
Ariel Helm was born and raised in Tucson Arizona, she is a freshman at Tucson High School and has been dancing for 6 years. She is trained in ballet, modern, hip hop, and jazz. Her preferred styles are jazz and modern. She loves being in the Esperanza Dance Project because she wants to be part of something bigger then herself as well as helping others by doing something she loves.
Ariana Rayne Garcia
Ariana Rayne Garcia, is currently finishing her degree at the University of Arizona in Anthropology and hopes to go into maternal and child health after graduation. She has been dancing on and off since she was six years old in many different styles including Irish, contemporary, modern, and jazz, and has danced with Esperanza for three years. Dance has always been a passion for Ariana, and she hopes to bring movement and hope into all parts of her life.
Arianna Montes is a 17-year-old senior at Tucson High School. Raised in Colorado, she played volleyball and was later introduced to the art she loves: dance. Arianna started dancing for her high school pom team. When she moved to Arizona in 2015, she wanted to stop completely. With the help of Tucson High’s dance program and the Esperanza Dance Project, she continued pursuing her passion for dance. She could not be more thankful to be able to be a part of Esperanza today
Peace Mutwiri is a 17-year-old student at University High School. Unlike many dancers who begin dancing at age two, Peace had never danced prior to her freshman year. In Ms. Braun’s beginning dance class, she developed a love for ballet. She realized that dance was more than physical movement; it required passion and complete surrender to the choreography in order to create a memorable experience. After freshman year, Peace was determined to improve her dancing and hopefully become a dance major. She began taking ballet classes at ZUZI Dance Company under the instruction of Caesar Degollado Rubio. Shortly after, Peace was invited to join the Esperanza Dance Project where she hopes to not only grow as a dancer, but as a person as well. Through her involvement in the company, Peace strives to positively impact those around her and become a voice for the voiceless.
Veronica Pasamante is a pre-business student at the University of Arizona. She is 19-years-old and has been using dance as a method of expressing herself for nearly fourteen years. She joined Esperanza dance project as a sophomore in high school in 2013, with hopes of putting an end to the stigma of sexual violence. She plans to continue dancing for the rest of her life, and to continue spreading awareness of all injustices in today’s society. Esperanza has changed Veronica’s reason for dancing and has shown her the potential for anyone to make a change in their community.
Grace Rhyne, 23, began dancing with the Ballet West Academy in 2005 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Grace co-founded the East High Dance Krew and for two years served as President until graduating early with honors. Since moving to Tucson in 2011, Grace continues to study modern dance with Mr. Norman Walker, choreograph, and has recently joined the faculty at the Arizona Ballet Theatre. This is Grace’s second season with Esperanza Dance Project, of which she is very grateful to be a part of. Grace has also been a dancer and choreographer for Safos Dance Theatre, working with the company since 2011. Grace does graphic design, is a visual artist – working in predominately three-dimensional recycled materials – and holds the position of Executive Director at the WomanKraft Art Center, a non-profit art center located on Stone Avenue in Tucson, Arizona.
Samantha Transue is 19 years old and was born and raised in Tucson Arizona. She is currently working and attending Pima Community College and pursuing a degree in accounting. She started dancing with Ms. Braun as a freshman in high school and continued through her years at University High School. She has been dancing for a total of five years and enjoys modern and contemporary. Her favorite part of being in Esperanza is the sense of community and the positive effect that the company has everywhere they perform.