OUR TEAM

Professional, Qualified, Experienced

 

SHARON SOBEL IDUL

Artistic Director and Owner

Sharon Sobel Idul, a Pittsburg native & mother of two, began her ballet training at the age three through the City of Pittsburg. She then studied under Helga Ishikata at Delta Ballet Academy from age 7 to 18. Sharon joined Delta Children's Ballet Theatre in 1992 and performed in principal roles of The Little Match Girl, Enchanted Toy Shoppe, Peter and the Wolf, and Bolero. Sharon was the recipient of the 2004 Jason Robins Dance Scholarship and holds a degree in Dance from Cal State University, Long Beach, where she studied under accomplished dance educators and choreographers Sophie Monat, Alaine Haubert, Keith Johnson, Sharon McKinney, Douglas Neilson, and many other guest instructors. During her time at CSU-Long Beach, she performed original ballet pieces, as well as historical ballets such as Balanchine’s Serenade and Petipa’s Les Slyphides, while dancing with Peninsula Ballet Theatre during visits to the Bay Area.

Sharon was the owner of Delta Ballet Academy from 2007-2014. In 2008 debuted as Artistic Director of Delta Children’s Ballet Theatre with the premiere of Peter Pan.   In 2009, she helped form Black Diamond Ballet​ - East County's First Professional Ballet Company whose annual production of the Nutcracker is performed at the Creative Arts Building each December. She is an active member of the Soroptimist International of Pittsburg.  Last year, she joined the Pittsburg High School staff to offer dance to 10th-12th graders.  She was recently awarded a Master of the Arts in Education and will finish her single-subject credential this summer.  Sharon is committed to the giving back to a community that has given her so much throughout the years and is thrilled to come home to Pittsburg and provide the community with arts education under her new studio, Pittsburg Performing Arts Academy.

AMANDA FARRIS

Ballet, Pointe

Amanda Farris was born and raised in Central California, training in ballet with Central West Ballet, Valley Oak School of Dance, and during summers with Boston Ballet.  Ms. Farris was a medalist in the Russian Pointe USA national ballet competition in 2004.  She attended Long Beach State on a full academic scholarship where she studied both cultural anthropology and dance.  There Ms. Farris trained in modern dance and ballet under world renowned faculty.  After graduating summa cum laude, she joined The Georgia Ballet where she quickly rose to dancing principal roles, many of which were created on her.  Some  featured roles include those in Giselle, The Sleeping Beauty, Pas de Quatre, Janusz Mazon’s Pinnochio and The Firebird, and Alexandre Proia’s The Four Seasons.  Since joining Diablo Ballet in 2014, Ms. Farris has danced in works by Robert Dekkers, George Balanchine, Sonya Delwaide, Val Caniparoli, Christopher Stowell, Sean Kellly, Norbert Vesak, and Trey McIntyre. 
Ms. Farris has been teaching all levels of ballet and modern dance in schools across the country for over ten years. She is trained in the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet pre-ballet teaching syllabus, and was personally mentored by Gina Hyatt-Mazon, current principal of the Hamburg Ballet School in Germany.

ANDREA HERRERA

Ballet, Pointe, Lyrical, Jazz

Andrea began her ballet training at Delta Ballet Academy in Antioch, CA at age 9 under Helen Piernik and artistic director emeritus, Helga Ishikata.  She continued training in ballet, contemporary, and jazz at Delta Ballet until age 18 under Ricky Navarro, Michael Lowe, and artistic director, Sharon Sobel Idul. She has competed in national competitions including YAGP and performed with Delta Children’s Ballet Theater, Peninsula Ballet, Black Diamond Ballet Theater, and Menlowe Ballet. Andrea teaches throughout the Bay Area and is on staff with Pittsburg Performing Arts Academy. Andrea holds a B.A. in Linguistics and Communications from U.C. Davis.

CELINE GALANG

Hip Hop, Jazz, Lyrical

Celine Galang is a sophomore attending University of California, Berkeley. She started dancing ballet at Delta Ballet Academy when she was nine and throughout the years she also acquired training in lyrical, jazz, contemporary, musical theater, and hip-hop. She participated in Delta Ballet Academy's competition team, Pittsburg Performing Arts Academy's Performance Company, and traveled to Los Angeles and New York for Joffrey Ballet's summer intensives. She has also competed in the Youth American Grand Prix and performed in numerous Nutcracker productions. Celine hopes to share her passion for dance to her students by inspiring them to be well-rounded dancers.

COURTNEY RAMM

Ballet, Pilates, Yoga, Modern

Courtney is a professional dancer/choreographer, yoga and Pilates instructor, new mother, and avid Nature lover. She has taught yoga for 10 years and completed her Yogaworks Teaching Training in Paris, France with master teacher John Gaydos. Originally from New York City, Courtney has taught all over the world- including Singapore, Thailand, Hawaii and Australia. She loves helping her students feel their best through movement, breathing, and positivity!

EMILY MENDOZA

Broadway Jazz, Acro

Emily is a sophomore attending AMDA College and Conservatory. She will be attending AMDA’s New
York campus this fall for her third semester. She started dancing at Delta Ballet Academy when she was
twelve. Before she joined Delta Ballet, she was a competitive gymnast over at Four Stars Gymnastics for
five years. She has participated in Delta Ballet’s competition team, where she competed in many styles
including ballet, jazz, lyrical, tap, and pointe. Emily has performed with the Black Diamond Ballet for five years, participating in their annual production of the Nutcracker. She attended Joffrey
Ballet summer intensive for two years over in New York, where she attended their jazz/contemporary
and Broadway programs. While attending Deer Valley High School, she has participated in many plays
and musicals throughout her high school career. Where she found her passion for acting and musical
theater. She has helped out and taught for the past six years at both Delta Ballet and Pittsburg
Performing Arts. Also, she has been a Water Safety Instructor over at the Antioch Water Park for the
past four years. Emily is excited to continue the teach and inspire her students through her passion of
acting, dance, and the performing arts.

JANE BENITEZ

Hip Hop

Jane has been dancing since her senior year in high school back in 2010. Started off her training by taking weekly hip hop classes religiously to co-directing a competitive dance company called Evolution Movement. Very shortly after she began choreographing, and before you know it she was teaching her own public classes and at studios and schools to all ages around the East Bay. Her first official studio classes were at the formally known Delta Ballet Academy (now PPA) where she was the hip hop instructor from 2010-2017. Other studios she has taught at include East County Performing Arts Center and Dancer's Elite. After some time away from dance, she is extremely excited and gracious to return and get back to what she loves!

JEANETTE MILLER

Tap, Pilates

Ms Jeanette began her love of dance at the age of 3. She has studied ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, modern, hip hop, tumbling and cheer. At an early age she performed in professional as well as children's theater productions of The Nutcracker. As a young girl, besides dancing every day of the week, she was a cheerleader and went on to be a member of her varsity high school dance team for four years. During her training she attended workshops taught by many sought after choreographers such as Mia Michaels, Mandy Moore, Chris Judd, Dave Scott and Shane Sparks. After high school she continued dancing in the dance program at Diablo Valley College. She continues to take class and attend workshops. Jeanette continued her lifelong relationship as a dancer of a Dance Masters of America student and became a Dance Masters Member Teacher in 2011. She has been a member of 3 professional dance teams in Sacramento and the Bay Area. She has studied to become a certified USASF Certificated Coach. Along with teaching dance classes she coaches a High School Dance Team. Her love of dance continues through her teaching and the joy she sees in her student's accomplishments.

JESS REYES

Piano, Voice

With almost 40 years of experience as a Professional Musician, Jess A. Reyes attended San José State University where he earned a B. A. in Jazz Performance and a M. A. in Electronic Music. After college he moved to Los Angeles and worked as a Composer, Arranger and Keyboardist. Shortly thereafter, Jess was hired by Apple Computer to help develop new media technologies such as QuickTime. He would spend the next 20+ years in the tech industry working on digital media software and hardware, including 10 years as Senior Project Manager for the GarageBand music application. As a keyboardist / pianist, Jess has played behind great performers such as Ernie Watts, Dave Weckl, Jeff Lorber, Russ Ferrante, Greg Adams, Grant Geisman and Steve Smith. Now retired from the tech industry and armed with a freshly-minted California teaching credential, Jess now spends his days back at his alma mater, Pittsburg High School, as the school’s full-time Digital Recording Arts instructor. He also continues to perform as keyboardist / vocalist in the band “Majestic: San Francisco’s Ultimate Tribute to Journey”.

JOSIE ESPOSITO

Piano, Voice, Trumpet

Pittsburg native, Josie Esposito, began piano at the age of 10 under the instruction of Marilyn Lewis. She expanded her musical studies playing trumpet at Hillview Jr. High School and continued performing as an advanced player in the marching band, jazz ensemble and symphonic band at Pittsburg High School on both instruments. Josie received  a full year scholarship to Los Medanos College after earning an award as Overall Best Musician for Piano at the Los Medanos Jazz Festival in 1987 and continued her studies there as a music major.  As well as an accomplished vocalist, Josie continues her musical endeavors as a disc jockey, concert producer and musical director for Poison Apple Productions and Pittsburg Community Theatre. Some shows include Wonka Jr., Peter Pan Jr., Narnia – The Musical, and Hairspray.

LOU ESPOSITO, II

Percussion, Drums

Lou Esposito II began as a drummer at the age of 10, performing throughout his junior high and high school years, namely with the Pittsburg High School Marching Showband and Jazz Ensemble. He continued his studies at Los Medanos College for two years and became a member of the local musical group, Vocal-ease and the Boogiemen for 11 years. Lou has performed with a number of bands throughout the years playing a variation of styles including jazz, blues, rock, soul, funk, and country. Since 2009, he has performed as the percussionist for the bay area’s tribute to Michael Jackson, Foreverland, and has performed nationwide including Scottsdale, AZ,  Princeton, NJ, Aspen, CO, and Seattle WA.

MARYANNGELINE MEDENAS

Ballet, Modern, Yoga

MaryAnngeline is a teacher, choreographer and performer with an MFA in Dance from Saint Mary’s College of California and holds a 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher certificate.  She has performed Greek Dance at the Dora Stratou Theatre in Athens, Greece and had the opportunity to perform Vitalsby Mike Esperanza at CSU Long Beach and at the Kennedy Center for ACDA. The combination of these experiences polished her ability and love to move organically, with intention and appreciate the body, mind and spirit to help her delve deeper into understanding who she is and to help her share the stories of others.

MICHAEL CRONAN

Guitar

Pittsburg born & raised.  Learned to play at age 12 and has been playing guitar now for 46 years. Has taught many local guitar students to play from ages 5 - 35.  Anyone can learn to play the guitar!

NATALIA HERNANDEZ

Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical

Natalia grew up in Antioch, CA and started at the age of 3. She attended Delta Ballet Academy under the direction of Helga Ishikata, started competing with their team by age 5.  In 2007, Delta Ballet Academy switched ownership to Sharon Sobel Idul , but she continued to compete and dance.
In addition to competing, she performed in various productions under Delta Children's Ballet Theatre (now DBA as Black Diamond Ballet), including Peter Pan, Pinocchio, The Little Match Girl, and more recently, the Nutcracker.  She followed the studio to Pittsburg and continued studying under the new name - Pittsburg Performing Arts Academy.  While attending Deer Valley High School, she joined the dance team, advanced dance ensemble, and was awarded, "overall best performer."  She's excited to join the PPAA family and share her many years of dance with the next generation.

SARA LEYVA

Yoga, Arco/Tumbling

Hi! I’m Sara Leyva, a registered yoga instructor and gymnastics coach.

I began practicing yoga years ago when I was looking for a way to help reduce stress and anxiety. Throughout my journey, which includes over 200 hours of training, I have reinvigorated myself both mentally and physically. As an instructor, I strive to meet each student at her or his own level of practice. With my light-hearted and fun approach to teaching, I encourage anyone in the community, even if you are new to yoga, to come explore with me!

I competed in 3 styles of gymnastics over a course of 12 years: competitive, team, and acro. My years of coaching ages 3-13, was such an enriching experience for me. I love helping students build self confidence on and off the tumbling mat, all while having fun!

BRITTANY LOYOLA ARAGON

Office Manager

Bio to Come Shortly

MYLA BENJAMIN

Office Assistant

Myla Benjamin has been dancing at a young age and has been dancing ever since. She danced at Delta Ballet Academy and Pittsburg Performing Arts Academy as a graduating senior. She also performed in Black Diamond Ballet Theatre’s Nutcrackersince 2012 and played some roles such as Arabian Coffee and the Rat Queen. Myla is currently working and dancing at Pittsburg Performing Arts Academy and is also an honor student at Los Medanos College.

MARLENE GUZMAN

Office Assistant

Coming soon!

SAMI CRONAN

Office Assistant

Coming soon!

(925) 754-9833

329 Railroad Ave, Pittsburg, CA 94565, USA

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©2018 by Pittsburg Performing Arts Academy (formerly Delta Ballet Academy)