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.