Faculty

Sarah-Jane Measor, Director/Owner

Sarah-Jane Measor was born in England and realized her love for dance at an early age. She was trained in the Royal Academy of Dance & Imperial Society Techniques and holds the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) Teaching Certificate with distinction. Her knowledge of dance extends beyond ballet, encompassing tap, jazz and European folk dance. Ms. Measor taught and performed professionally in Hong Kong before coming to the United States in 1990. She joined the faculty of Menlo Park Academy of Dance as a teacher in 1992, became co-owner and Director in 2005, and in 2015, became sole owner and Director.
Ms. Measor is the recipient of numerous regional and national competition choreographic awards, as well as many studio awards recognizing “best technique” and “overall highest scores”. In 2016, under her leadership, Menlo Park Academy of Dance submitted the most student entries of any U.S. school for Royal Academy dance exams. She has successfully coached students through all RAD levels of exams including the prestigious Solo Seal Award.
In 2016 and 2017, she and her husband, Michael Lowe, were presented with the prestigious Outstanding Teacher Award by Youth America Grand Prix where many of her students have placed in the final rounds held in New York City.
Ms. Measor nurtures her students to achieve their best and many have gone on to enjoy professional dance careers, including former student, Cheryl Burke, of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars”. Ms. Measor made her professional choreographic debut in 2016 with Menlowe Ballet’s world premiere of Portraits.

Sarah Arnold

Sarah trained in Atherton with Kimiko Sugano Jonsson, Sacramento Ballet and San Francisco Ballet after receiving a Ford Foundation scholarship. After a 10-year professional career in Europe and the USA, she became the Director of Ballet Idaho’s company school as well as directing her own ballet academy for 25 years.  She is certified in “Progressing Ballet Technique”, has augmented her studies with David Howard, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Finis Jhung, Jurgen Schneider/Vaganova syllabus, Lisa Howell (Perfect Form Physiotherapy), and most notably, Maria Vegh. Her students have joined companies such as Pacific Northwest Ballet, Houston Ballet, Boston Ballet, and Lines. Sarah is also the creator of “The Accidental Artist”, an online ballet blog and instructional site for dancers and teachers. To Ms. Arnold, teaching is a lifelong pursuit and she is always motivated to share her knowledge and experience with her students!

Faith Bonitz-Tanaka

Faith found a love of ballet at an early age.  She was trained in the RAD, Balanchine, and Vagonova techniques.  She danced professionally with the Illinois Ballet and the Capital Ballet.  Upon retiring she began teaching and found a new passion sharing her love of dance with her students. Faith strives to make her classes both challenging and fun, focusing equally on technique and artistry. She later became certified in Pilates which helps her to have more awareness of how the body works. Faith is excited to be returning to MPAD after taking a few years off welcoming her third daughter.

Kallee Gallant

Kallee Gallant has been dancing for almost 20 years and has taught a variety of styles including ballet, tap, jazz, and pointe. She primarily trained at and performed with the Maine State Ballet. Other training includes The School of American Ballet, Miami City Ballet, and Boston Ballet. While dancing at Maine State Ballet she was promoted to a principal dancer, performing roles such as Sugarplum and Dewdrop Fairy in Nutcracker, Titania in Midsummer Night’s Dream, and the principal female in Paquita. Kallee graduated from Columbia University and currently works full time as a physical scientist at LeoLabs, a commercial space company that aims to improve visibility and debris tracking in low earth orbit. Kallee is excited to join the faculty of MPAD.

Cassidy Isaacson

Cassidy Isaacson started dancing when she was four years old and has trained at numerous schools in the WA area including Dance Premier, Westlake Dance Center, The Connection, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Deborah Hadley’s School of Ballet. Cassidy’s training consists of ballet, pointe, lyrical, contemporary, jazz, hip hop, tap, acro and modern. She has won competition titles at Tremaine, West Coast Dance Explosion, Encore, Spotlight, International Dance Challenge and Youth America Grand Prix to name a few. In the summer of 2011 Cassidy received a full scholarship to The Juilliard School, and at 16 accepted a contract with Grand Rapids Ballet Company where she spent eight years of her professional career before joining Smuin Contemporary Ballet in 2019. Cassidy has choreographed over 11 world premieres on her fellow colleagues, and has toured and performed in China, Paris and Vietnam. Some of her favorite works performed over the years include Trey McIntyre’s Wild Sweet Love, Alejandro Cerrudo’s Extremely Close, Penny Saunders’ In Frame, and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Written and Forgotten. Cassidy is very much looking forward to working with the incredible MPAD students and faculty!

Babatunji Johnson

Babatunji Johnson was born in Portland, Oregon and grew up on the Big Island of Hawaii. Though never formally trained as a child, Babatunji was always moving his body to the beat. At the age of 15, he discovered the art of hip hop. Following over a decade of self-taught street performance, he has developed a unique approach to various styles of hip hop such as breakdance, popping, and krump. While cultivating his own movement language, Babatunji simultaneously trained in ballet, modern, and contemporary, going on to work and perform around the world with Alonzo King LINES Ballet for six years among other inspiring companies. In 2015 Babatunji was given a Princess Grace Award, as well as a Chris Hellman Award for his outstanding achievements and promise in the world of dance.

Jayvin Lee

Jayvin started dancing age of 12. He started off teaching himself styles such as popping, breakdancing, and even turfing. During high school, he then joined local dance teams to learn urban choreography which lead him to compete and showcase. During college, he continued to perform as well as take master classes and workshops with leading choreographers in the Hip Hop community. He was then given the opportunity to teach at multiple studios in the Bay Area. Jayvin has also choreographed Hip Hop numbers with the Foothill College Dance Company. He’s ecstatic about being able to inspire and help more students achieve their dance goals at MPAOD.

Julie Lowe

Julie Lowe serves as Associate Artistic Director of Menlowe Ballet. She received her earliest training in New York with Mimi Kellerman, and continued with teachers including Audree Ismailloff, Meredith Bayless, Lawrence Rhodes, Wilhelm Burmann, Sally Streets, Howard Sayette, Betsy Erickson, and Ronn Guidi. As a long-time principal dancer with the Oakland Ballet Company under the artistic leadership of
Ronn Guidi, Ms. Lowe participated in many of Oakland Ballet’s notable Diaghilev and Americana revivals, toured extensively throughout the United States and Europe, and received mentoring from many of the dance world’s luminaries including Frederic Franklin, Anna Sokolow, Leonide Massine, Eugene Loring, Irina Nijinska, Ruthanna Boris and John Butler. Her repertoire includes the title role in Giselle, Swanhilda in
Coppélia, Sugarplum Fairy, Snow Queen, Rose Queen and Marie in Nutcracker, Gretel in Hansel and Gretel, Beth in the world premiere of Eugene Loring’s The Tenderland, and roles in ballets by John McFall, Betsy Erickson, Brenda Way, Marc Wilde, John Pasqualetti and Ronn Guidi. Ms. Lowe appeared as guest artist with San Francisco’s ODC for their 1991 and 1992 seasons performing the title role in The Velveteen Rabbit. She served as a Master Teacher for the Ballroom Dance Teachers College and taught social and ballroom dance at San Francisco’s Metronome Ballroom and Oakland’s Just
Dance Ballroom for almost a decade. Since 2012 Ms. Lowe has led a thriving adult ballet program at Alameda Ballet Academy. Ms. Lowe has enjoyed a longstanding artistic collaboration with MPAD’s Sarah-Jane Measor and Michael Lowe as the three have comprised the artistic leadership team for Menlowe Ballet since its inception. Ms. Lowe has had the privilege to work with many MPAD students over the years as a guest coach. With her nurturing, supportive and exacting approach, Ms. Lowe is honored to have the opportunity to contribute to the training and development of MPAD’s talented students.

Michael Lowe

Michael danced principal roles with Oakland Ballet from 1972 to 2001. He toured extensively throughout the United States and Europe, and worked with legendary choreographers such as Agnes de Mille, John Butler, Leonide Massine, Frederic Franklin, Willem Christensen, Eugene Loring and Mark Morris to name a few. In 2003, Michael won the prestigious Isadora Duncan Award for Best Choreography for his ballet Bamboo. His works have been seen all over the US, Belarusse, Poland and in Paris. Michael has also served as Assistant Artistic Director of Oakland Ballet from 1997-2000 and co-ordinated the company’s Outreach program through the East Bay from 1982-1999. In addition, Michael also directed Peninsula Ballet Theatre from 2004-2008, Oakland Ballet in 2009 and served as resident choreographer for Moving Arts Dance. Michael is a company teacher for Smuin Ballet and Artistic Director of his own exciting new company, Menlowe Ballet. Students of Michael have enjoyed success in many competitions including the International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi. Many have gone on to careers with company’s such as San Francisco Ballet, National Ballet of Canada and Ballet San Jose.

Hayley Elizabeth Marilao

Hayley Elizabeth Marilao is a choreographer, dancer, and teacher based in the Silicon Valley of California.  Through her concert dance training, she has been able to attend dance intensives with major modern and contemporary dance companies such as Paul Taylor Dance Company, Martha Graham Dance Company, Alonzo Lines King Ballet, LA Contemporary Dance Company, American Dance Festival, and Entity Dance Company.  In addition, she has performed at events such as American College Dance Festival Baja Region, Dance Xchange Temecula, and SJSU University Dance Theatre Concerts.  As a choreographer, she has presented works in performances including Young Choreographers Forum SF, SpectorDance Choreography Showcase, Works in the Works, Loose Cannons Choreography Show, and OCC Invitational Concert. Currently, she is finishing her undergraduate degree at San Jose State University.  Marilao is expected to graduate with a BFA in Dance in Spring 2023.  

Fabiana Santiago

Fabiana Santiago, from Crystal Lake, Illinois, began studying at age four at the Judith Svalander School of Ballet. She attended intensives with Boston Ballet and with the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in New York City, resulting in a full scholarship to study in Moscow, Russia. Fabiana completed her sophomore year with BBA in Moscow training with the international graduating class under the direction of Marina Lionova, and performed on the new and historic stages at the Bolshoi Theatre as the Lead Gypsy in La Fille Mal Gardée and in the Spanish Duet from La Cachucha. She was awarded a talent scholarship to attend Butler University in Indianapolis where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Dance. Upon graduating, she was invited to perform with New York’s Ajkun Ballet Theatre under Chiara Ajkun. In the fall of 2017 Fabiana moved to the west coast and joined Menlowe Ballet under the direction of Michael Lowe, performing a variety of ensemble and soloist roles. Fabiana’s passion for dance also transcends through her teaching. She was a faculty member at the Rockford School of Dance in Rockford IL, and has also taught at various schools throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Fabiana has been teaching at Menlo Park Academy of Dance for the past 2 years as a contemporary, jazz, and pre-ballet instructor. She has choreographed contemporary lyrical works for competition and her work has been recognized and awarded in the Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) and California Dance Classics (CDC). Fabiana looks forward to another year of teaching as a member of the MPAD family.

Isabelle Sjahsam

Isabelle is a performer, director, teacher and creator in works ranging from traditional ballets to interdisciplinary public performance installations. She received her early dance training with Bay Area Royal Academy of Dance teacher, Connie Vaughan, and later studied with RAD examiner Susan Robinson in England. Contemporary dance became Isabelle’s passion after seeing the Mark Morris Dance Group, prompting her to attend the Taylor School in New York and complete a BA in Dance at Mills College. Sjahsam has performed with several Bay Area companies including Em Space Dance, Jenny McAllister/13th Floor Dance Theater and Anna Halprin and Dancers. She appeared in the works of Michael Lowe while working with Moving Arts Dance and Black Diamond Ballet Theatre, and has toured internationally with Leyya Tawil’s Dance Elixir. Currently Isabelle co-directs ArtFace Performance Group, an Oakland based dance-theater troupe with Malinda Trimble.

Lauren Mindel

Lauren grew up in the Bay Area training in ballet, jazz, contemporary, modern, character, and more.  She danced professionally with Menlowe Ballet since its inauguration in 2011 up until 2016 under the artistic direction of Michael Lowe.  Prior to that, she performed with PBT in 2005 and 2008 and Black Diamond Ballet Theatre in 2010, both under the artistic direction of Michael Lowe.  Lauren has been teaching a variety of dance forms to children and adults for the past 12 years, with 9 of those years at MPAD.  Lauren has also had the opportunity to teach open classes at Alonzo King LINES Dance Center and summer intensive classes at MPAD and San Francisco Ballet School.  She has used her versatile dance background to her benefit as a choreographer, and has had the honor of winning both national and regional choreography awards at dance competitions.  Currently, Lauren is finishing up her Doctorate in Physical Therapy at UCSF and San Francisco State with the hopes of improving healthcare for the dance community.

Lois Wood

Lois Wood is a lifelong dancer, choreographer, and performer. Lois trained in New York before continuing her career in California. She initiated the first children’s ballet program at the Menlo Park Recreation Center called “Tiny Ballerina”. Developing an interest in Jazz, and Tap Dancing, she continued to study to under the tutelage of Joyce Aranda, and Menlo Park Academy of Dance founder RoseAnn Sayler. Subsequently, Lois went on to develop a tap program at the Redwood City Parks and Recreation Center, and also added Tap to the dance program for the City of Menlo Park. Lois Wood is married, has one son, and has been a resident in Menlo Park for 40 years.  She has also been teaching for the Las Lomitas Elementary School District for over three decades, and is thrilled to join the faculty of Menlo Park Academy of Dance.

Erin Yarbrough Powell

Erin Yarbrough-Powell was born and raised in Fresno, CA, where she received her dance training under Diane K. Mosier. She then went on to study at the Interlochen Arts Academy. After graduating high school, Ms. Yarbrough-Powell danced with the Oakland Ballet for five years, during which time she was awarded the Isadora Duncan Dance Award for her portrayal of Giselle. In 2003 she joined the Smuin Ballet, where over the course of 17 years she enjoyed performing leading roles in the works of Amy Seiwert, Helen Pickett, Val Caniparoli, Stanton Welch, Trey McIntyre, Jiri Kylian, and of course Michael Smuin, among many others. In addition to performing professionally, Ms. Yarbrough-Powell has been teaching dance for over 20 years.  

Nicole Yip

Nicole Yip grew up in Colorado where she received the majority of her ballet training.  She studied under Mark Carlsen, German Zamuel, and Irina Brecher.  After high school, she moved to California to join Ballet San Jose dancing in ballets such as Giselle, Romeo and Juliet, Les Sylphide, and the Firebird among other classical and contemporary works.  She has also performed as a guest artist with Western Ballet, Peninsula Ballet Theater, and other ballet schools and companies in the Bay Area.  Nicole has enjoyed teaching beginning, intermediate, and advanced ballet classes at many different dance schools in the Bay Area.