Associate Artistic Director
A dancer, actor, educator and filmmaker. Jekyns began his studies in Drama and Dance at Bellas Artes in his native Colombia. Later, he graduated in Dance at the Instituto Colombiano de Ballet, and subsequently joined the Ballet de Cali. Also, he has danced with Ballet Arizona, Ohio Ballet, Chautauqua Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theatre, MFDP/SF, Histrion Theatre of Art, Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley, American Conservatory Theatre, Oakland Ballet, Diablo Ballet, San Francisco Opera, Los Angeles Opera, among other appearances as guest artist.
His principal dance repertoire includes Balanchine’s Apollo and Serenade, Romeo and Juliet, Giselle, Swan Lake, Nutcracker, Esplanade, Carmen. In theatre, The Man of the Suitcase, The Tosca Project and No Exit, as well as appearances in films like Love Hurts, Blue Jasmine and HBO's Perry Mason. In opera, in addition to the principal roles in Marta Domingo’s La Traviata, Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci and Zambello's Aida at San Francisco Opera, he has performed in Barber of Seville, Cyrano de Bergerac, Turandot, Nixon in China, Madame Butterfly, Moby Dick, Show Boat, Sweeney Todd, among others. At the Los Angeles Opera in Simon Boccanegra, Barber of Seville and Carmen.
Along with extensive national and international touring and guesting, Jekyns has appeared in international dance festivals in Thailand, Cuba and Colombia, as well as in the International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi.
He graduated with honors both with a B.A in Performing Arts from the LEAP Program at St. Mary’s College as well as with a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Performance in Film, Theatre and Television from California State University. Additionally, he is proud member of SAG-AFTRA and AGMA performers' unions. In addition to receiving the Colombian State Department Honor in Excellence, other careers highlights include being a recipient of the Sono Osato award scholarship from The Actor's Fund, a Hollywood Foreign Press Association Fellowship, a Dance Pedagogy Certificate from The National Ballet of Cuba, and a featured article in Pointe Magazine.
Lastly, Jekyns enjoys being invited to teach at several dance schools nationwide, and has also lectured at California State University and Orange Coast Community College. Currently he is faculty at the California School of the Arts.
Associate artistic director
Laura has been a professional in the ballet industry for over 15 years. A California native, she began her training in Santa Barbara at GVSB. When her family moved to the Inland Empire Laura began studying at Inland Pacific Ballet. Along with the faculty at IPB, she was privileged to work with well-known choreographers and teachers such as, Stanley Holden, Janek Schergan, Glenn Edgerton, Lawrence Blake, Arturo Fernandez, Charlotte Richards, and Maria Vegh. Laura spent her summers at intensive training programs under a scholarship program at San Francisco Conservatory of Dance. She performed classic contemporary works by Jiri Kylian as well as world premieres created by Robert Moses. She studied the summer of 2006 at Maple Conservatory with former ABT soloist Charles Maple, at the helm. Beginning at a young age, Laura performed such works as Serenade, Theme and Variations, Stars and Stripes, The Nutcracker, Coppelia, Giselle, Swan Lake, as well as many new works designed and created specifically for Inland Pacific Ballet. These included, The Little Mermaid, Cinderella and Dracula.
After 5 years spent with Inland Pacific Ballet, Laura decided to embark on the next chapter of her career as a freelance artist. Much of her dancing has been on stage in live works such as Loving the Silent Tears, The Glory of Christmas, The Glory of Easter, Sleeping Beauty, Raymonda, Phantom, Pizzicati, Dance in the USA, Appalachian Spring, Romeo and Juliet to name a few. She has been featured in music videos with artists such as Taylor Swift’s Shake it Off, Daft Punk’s Lose Yourself to Dance and the hit TV series Lucifer. In 2014 Laura joined the San Francisco Opera as a corps member of the opera’s resident dance company. For 4 years she worked with great choreographers such as Lynne Page in Les Troyens, Colm Seary in Des Meistersinger and again as a principal in Andrea Chenier. She was honored to be chosen to be part of the world premiere of Girls of the Golden West, directed by Peter Sellars and composed by John Adams. In the Fall of 2018 Laura joined the LA Opera in their production of Hansel and Gretel, performing alongside Grammy award winner Susan Graham.
In addition to her extensive stage time and dance career, Laura began to teach at the age of 19, finding a new passion in the coaching and mentoring of young dancers. In 2014 she met former Maggie Black trained dancer Mario Nugara. At this point in her career, she felt the need of a new perspective to help her retain strength for a long career with fewer injuries. It was also her desire to grow as a teacher and mentor. Along with this technique and teaching method Laura developed her own successful syllabus for her students and SoCal Arts.
Many of her current students have been accepted and offered scholarships to some of the most acclaimed schools in the country such as, The Rock School of Dance, American Ballet Theater and the School of American Ballet. For the past 3 years, Laura has coached her students to participate in Youth American Grand Prix. In YAGP’s 2019 competition, Laura’s student Katie O’Gara was awarded top 24 in the Southern California Senior division and invited to perform Spotlight Awards in Los Angeles.
As a young dance student, Laura took Pilates classes on a regular basis, and it became an integral part of the strength training necessary for a career in dance. In the Fall of 2019 Laura was awarded the Career Transitions for Dancers grant, upon being awarded the grant she was trained in the full Pilates Mat program from some of the most accomplished Basi faculty in the US. She is eager to incorporate this incredible cross training into her pre professional program, and to bring Pilates mat to the Monrovia Community.
Along with her husband, Laura is delighted to bring her talents to Monrovia and share her love of dance, art, and the mentorship of aspiring young students.
Damara is a Los Angeles native who began her studies at Rozann-Zimmerman Ballet Center under the direction of Patrick Franz, former Premier Danseur of the Paris Opera Ballet, and later graduated from Idyllwild Arts Academy under the direction of Jean-Marie Martz. She spent her summers training in programs at Pacific Northwest Ballet, Boston Ballet, and American Ballet Theatre.
Damara started her professional career with Media City Ballet in Burbank, California as a soloist dancer. She then took her career to Denver, Colorado to dance with the Colorado Ballet and Ballet Ariel. After returning to Los Angeles to be closer to her family, she returned to Burbank to dance with Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre, dancing soloist and principal roles, as well as enjoying opportunities with Pasadena Dance Theatre and Contempo Arts Productions. She has also been contracted as a principal guest artist out of state for Birmingham Ballet for their production of Swan Lake and Evansville Ballet Theatre.
While continuing to pursue her dance career, she completed her studies for her Bachelor of Arts in Performing Arts through Saint Mary’s College of California and graduated Summa Cum Laude in May of 2019. Some of her notable roles to date have been the title role in Cinderella, Clara and the Sugarplum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Ivy Smith in On the Town, Micaéla in Natasha Middleton’s Carmen, Odette and Odile in Swan Lake, and her dream role of Juliet in Contempo Arts Productions’ Romeo and Juliet.
Bianca Scaglione is a Los Angeles native who began her ballet training at the age of two years old. Bianca has studied at various prestigious ballet schools such as American Ballet Theater under the direction of Ethan Brown, Rosanna Seravalli, and Harriet Clark, Classical Ballet of Western New York under the direction of William Gentes and Susannah Dwyer, and Los Angeles Ballet Academy under the direction of Roxana Olesijuk.
Bianca is a classically trained and versatile dancer, proficient in all styles ranging from pointe, ballet, hip hop, tap, jazz, and contemporary. In 2019, Bianca received her BFA in Dance Theater from AMDA College and Conservatory of the Performing Arts and graduated with honors. In addition to being a professional dancer and teacher, Bianca is also a trained singer and actress. Bianca's song "It's A Beautiful Day" was featured in the Hallmark movie The Sweeter Side of Life when she was just 15 years old. Bianca is the current voice-over artist for popular restaurant chain Mendocino Farms. Recently, Bianca performed with Matthew Morrison from GLEE at his Disney Dreamin' premiere in Beverly Hills.
Bianca is thrilled to be part of the SoCal Arts team and have the privilege to share her knowledge and love of dance with young, passionate artists.
Meagan VAn Deren
Meagan Van Deren began her training at the National Ballet Academy of Denver. She continued her training at Pacific Northwest Ballet School, and the Vassiliev Academy of Classical Ballet in Manhattan, NY.
In 2009, she was awarded fourth place at the Denver Ballet Guild. Meagan has performed classical variations such as Lilac Fairy, Sugar Plum Fairy, Paquita Principal Variation and Raymonda Principal Variation. Her repertoire also includes Grand Pas De Quatre, Paquita Corps, and Sleeping Beauty Corps.
Meagan began teaching ballet at the age of sixteen at her home studio in Parker, Colorado. Since then she has taught at The Studio in Fort Collins, CO and Media Dance Center in Burbank, CA.She is passionate about sharing her love for ballet through teaching.