ELLEN AKASHI

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, CALIFORNIA

Ellen Akashi, a native of Southern California, began studying dance at Southland Ballet Academy under the direction of Salwa Rizkalla. She has attended numerous dance programs including those of Axis Connect, BODYTRAFFIC, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, LINES, and Springboard Danse Montréal. In 2013, Ellen received a BFA in Dance Performance from Chapman University, where she performed an excerpt of Jiří Kylián's Falling Angels and a Merce Cunningham MinEvent. She furthered her modern dance training at the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance's year-round program with director Summer Lee Rhatigan and artists Christian Burns, Tristan Ching, Alex Ketley, and Doug Letheren. Since returning to Southern California, Ellen has performed with the San Diego Opera in Nixon in China; Skylar Spence's music video I Can't Be Your Superman; and two seasons with LA-based Clairobscur Dance Company, founded by artistic director and resident choreographer Laurie Sefton. This is Ellen’s second season with Backhausdance.

 

TAWNY CHAPMAN

BUENA PARK, CALIFORNIA

Tawny Chapman, originally from Southern California, has worked for more than 15 years as an accomplished performer, innovative choreographer and influential educator. Currently performing in her 14th season as a veteran dancer with Orange County’s critically acclaimed Backhausdance, Tawny is a graduate of Chapman University with a BFA in Dance Performance and an alumna of the Orange County School of the Arts’ Commercial Dance Conservatory. She has performed the choreographic work of Jennifer Backhaus, Dee Caspary, Jodie Gates, Sean Greene, Liz Imperio, and William Lu, among others. Tawny is currently on faculty at Impact Dance Center (Los Alamitos) and the Orange County School of the Arts’ Commercial Dance Conservatory, where she also serves as a program facilitator. In addition to performing and teaching, Tawny’s award-winning choreographic works have been performed at Pasadena Dance Festival, Backhausdance’s Platform, Encore Dance Festival, Studio A Dance’s DanceSpot, Hart Pulse Dance’s MixMatch Dance Festival, The Core Collective, and beyond.

 

SAMMY DEANGELO

YORBA LINDA, CALIFORNIA

Samuel DeAngelo, from Yorba Linda, CA, started dancing at the age of 18. After discovering his deep passion for dance, he began his college dance at Santa Ana College, and then transferred to Chapman University. In 2016, he graduated from Chapman University with a BFA in Dance Performance and was awarded multiple awards for both performance and choreography. After graduation, he has worked with companies such as Anaheim Ballet, Ponybox Dance Theater, Shieldwall Dance Company, and most recently, Disney Cruise Line, where he was part of the opening cast of Beauty and The Beast. He has worked with choreographers such as Jennifer Backhaus, Ido Tadmor, Yin Yue, Amanda Kay White, Sean Greene, Andrea Guise, and Connor Gallagher. Additionally, he has participated in notable intensives including Backhausdance’s Summer Intensive, BODYTRAFFIC, and Los Angeles Contemporary Dance Company (LACDC). Samuel joined Backhausdance as an apprentice, and became a full company member in 2017. 

 

 

AMIE LEE KILGORE

TUCSON, ARIZONA

Amie Lee Kilgore, originally from Tucson AZ, began her dance training at the age of 11 under the tutelage of Mary-Beth Cabana with Ballet Tucson. In 2014, Amie graduated summa cum laude from the University of Arizona and was recognized as Outstanding Senior for the College of Fine Arts and Dance. While working toward her BFA in Dance, she was privileged to perform various featured roles by UA Dance Faculty, as well as world-renowned works such as Rubies, Allegro Brilliante and Tarantella by the legendary George Balanchine. Prior to graduation, Amie furthered her contemporary dance training and became a founding member of ConDanza, under the direction of Cesar Degollado Rubio. Currently, she is in her fifth year as a part-time performing faculty member with San Pedro City Ballet under the direction of Cindy and Patrick Bradley. This is Amie’s fourth season with Orange County’s critically acclaimed Backhausdance.

 

KATIE NATWICK

ESCONDIDO, CALIFORNIA

Katie Natwick began dancing at the age of 11 in her hometown of Escondido, CA. Having discovered a deep passion for movement, she furthered her training at Chapman University where she received a BFA in Dance Performance. Throughout her career, Katie has had the opportunity to perform with companies such as DANCE AEGIS, Kairos Dance Company and Nickerson-Rossi Dance, as well as choreographers including Robin Conrad, Sean Greene, Jess Harper and Dale Merrill. A multi-faceted artist, she also teaches various dance styles at Hills Academy of Music, Art and Dance in Torrance, CA. This is Katie’s second season as a company member of Backhausdance.

 

 

KAITLIN REGAN

Phoenix, arizona

Kaitlin Regan is currently performing in her 8th season with Orange County’s critically acclaimed dance company Backhausdance, where she also serves as Educational Outreach Director. She is an alumni of Chapman University with a BFA in Dance Performance. Kaitlin has performed the works of Jennifer Backhaus, Dale Merrill, Sean Greene, Mike Esperanza, Yin Yue, Ido Tadmor and others. As an influential dance educator in Southern California for the past 13 years, Kaitlin helped develop an adaptive dance program for students with special needs. She is also on faculty at Avanti Dance Company (Costa Mesa, CA) and Impact Dance Center (Cypress, CA). She was chosen to be dance teaching artist for ESCAPE; a research grant designed to examine the impact of learning science concepts through dance and visual arts, in addition to classroom studies, for ESL students. In addition, Kaitlin has developed STEAM assemblies and residencies for the company coinciding with the Next Generation Science Standards.

 

CHIHIRO SANO

Yokohama, Japan

Chihiro Sano, originally from Japan, began her modern dance training at the age of seven under the direction of Akiko Ishii. She joined Backhausdance as an apprentice and has been a full company member since 2010. Chihiro has worked as an assistant to Artistic Director Jennifer Backhaus on freelance projects such as the Irvine Valley College Faculty Dance Concert, the East Valley Dance Project/Studio Project in Palm Desert, the Temecula Community Theater Dance Project and Trolley Dances Riverside. A certified yoga instructor, Chihiro is passionate about sharing her love of dance and yoga with people of all ages.

 

MEGAN SEAGREN

AURORA, COLORADO

Megan Seagren, originally from Aurora, CO, fell in love with dance at age three. In 2016, she graduated magne cum laude from Chapman University with a BFA in Dance Performance. During her collegiate years, Megan had the privilege of performing at the prestigious Joyce Theater in New York City with the Chapman Dance Ensemble under the direction of Jennifer Backhaus and Dale Merrill. She has attended intensive studies with AXIS Connect; Backhausdance; BODYTRAFFIC; Colorado Ballet; and the American Dance Festival (ADF), where she performed works by Batsheva, Lar Lubovitch and William Forsythe. Megan has performed as a guest artist with Backhausdance, Emergent Dance Company, Los Angeles Contemporary Dance Company, Shieldwall Dance Company and VVW Dance. This is her second season as a company member of Backhausdance.

 

EVAN SWENSON

FRESNO, California

Evan has been dancing professionally for 15 yrs. At 17 years old, he began his career while attending the Houston Ballet Ben Stevenson Academy with a full scholarship. While there he was given opportunities to perform and work with the Houston Ballet. Evan then left Houston to join Atlanta Ballet for three seasons, before moving to New York. This is where he decided not to be in full-time companies and began to free lance. After one year Evan broke his foot in rehearsal, which made him stop dancing. He moved back to California in the fall of 2008, and started new endeavors. Shortly after he knew something was missing and started dancing again. Evan jumped right into the free lance scene of Southern California doing everything from concert, to commercial, to film and modeling. This is his fourth season working with Backhausdance.

 

AMANDA KAY WHITE

St. Charles, Missouri

Amanda Kay White is a founding/current member of Orange County, California’s critically acclaimed dance company Backhausdance. She is an alumna of Chapman University with a BFA in Dance Performance and a BA in Communication Arts with an emphasis in Advertising. Amanda recently graduated with a Master’s of Fine Arts in Choreography from Jacksonville University in April of 2016. As an extension of her thesis work she traveled to Finland to partake in the inaugural Dance Hack, where new differing avenues of technology converged with the moving human form. Additionally, her written thesis was accepted into the prestigious International Academic Forum on the City in Barcelona, Spain. Her inventive choreographic works have been showcased at Highways Performance Space, Pasadena Dance Festival, American Celebration, The Core Collective, Epilepsy Network Benefit Concert, Chapman Touring Company, American College Dance Festival, and MixMatch Dance Festival. Amanda is currently on faculty at Santa Ana College, Chapman University, Orange County School of the Arts, and South Coast Conservatory. Along with teaching at SCC, she is the executive advisor to their national award winning dance team and managing director of the jazz department. In 2009 she founded Compass Dance Company, a pre-professional contemporary dance company for emerging artists ages 14 and up. By engaging, expressing, and innovating Compass Dance Company reaches out to the community through dance.