The Jazz Company dancers at The Southern Strutt are given the opportunity to train monthly with our Artists in Residence.
Frequently described as one of the the most sought after choreographers in the world, contemporary master teacher. Justin Giles began his training at the Southern Strutt dance studio in South Carolina, under the direction of his mother, Nancy Giles. His attention to detail and sense of musicality have been described as breathtaking and thought
At a young age, Justin was a winner on Star Search as well as Destination Stardom in Hawaii, two of the most prestigious competitions
Soon after, Justin introduced his work with the premier of his own company “SoulEscape” in Dallas. He has toured the US with countless A-List dance conventions including LA Dance Magic and Nuvo and is on guest faculty with Adrenaline Dance Conventions, Hollywood Convention and the popular in10sive workshops. A highly in-demand master teacher, his award-winning choreography can be seen on hundreds of dance studios and professional companies nationwide and abroad.
Yusha Marie Sorzano
Ballet, Modern, Contemporary
Originally from The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Ms. Sorzano has been a member of Ailey II, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Morphoses, TU Dance and the Los Angeles based BODYTRAFFIC. She has performed in principal roles with The Ailey company and in a variety of concert works from noted choreographers, including Ulysses Dove, Robert Battle, Hofesh Shechter, Mauro Bigonzetti, Judith Jameson and Ron K. Brown. She has worked with recording artists Wynton Marsalis, Sweet Honey in the Rock and Rihanna, and she has been a guest artist on “Dancing with the Stars.” She also starred as the principal dancer in the independent film “You Me and The Circus.” Ms. Sorzano is a faculty member of The Joffrey Jazz Contemporary Program. When not performing, she enjoys teaching master classes nationally and internationally.
Master Teacher / Choreographer / Artistic Director
Francisco Gella’s distinguished career as a professional dancer, choreographer, artistic director and dance educator in the genres of ballet, modern and contemporary dance, spans more than twenty years since he took his first ballet class at the University of Washington during his freshman year. His award-winning innovative choreography, and highly effective inspirational teaching methods are sought after by universities, schools, and companies across North America and around the globe.
Education Born in Bacolod City, Philippines and now residing in Los Angeles, CA., Mr. Gella first began dancing in college at the age of 19 and later graduated with a B.A. in Dance from the University of Washington in Seattle in 1996. Choreography Credits Francisco has choreographed for Pennsylvania Ballet’s Shut-Up and Dance production, PHILADANCO’s Danco on Danco program; Danco/II; Ballet East; Tucson Regional Ballet; Reflections Dance Company; California Ballet; Ballet Pacifica; the University of Utah Ballet Ensemble; South Bay Ballet; Luminario Ballet; the Orange County High School for the Arts; Los Angeles Ballet Academy; the University of Washington Dance Program and for the prestigious Laguna Dance Festival.
His work for South Bay Ballet entitled Configured Echoes garnered the Best Choreography Award at the National Regional Dance America Conference. His Tango en Pointe solo was performed for the Presidential Scholar’s Gala held at the Kennedy Center. He has been a finalist multiple times for the McCallum Theater’s Dance Under the Stars Choreography Festival in the professional and pre-professional divisions, and in 2013 won the Grand Prize. He has also created numerous award-winning contemporary ensembles and solos for Youth America Grand Prix competitors. Francisco has been awarded the title of ‘Outstanding Choreographer’ at the Youth America Grand Prix semi-finals in Los Angeles in 2011 and in San Diego in 2012; has also been a featured choreographer for RAWArtists.org; and was the assistant choreographer of Patricia Zhou’s solo featured on a segment in the hit TV show “Dancing with the Stars.”
In 2013, Francisco founded the COLABO Youth Dance Collective. COLABO made its official debut in Jamie Nichol’s Celebrate Dance in Glendale, California where Francisco’s “Concentric Harmonies” also premiered to rave reviews. More recently in August 2013, Francisco created a ten-minute ballet that premiered at Utah’s Dancing Under The Stars Festival where he also came out of retirement to perform. In October 2014, Francisco premiered a fifteen-minute contemporary ballet for Arizona’s Phoenix Ballet in front of an international audience at the Beijing Ballet Invitational opening gala event. Most recently, Francisco’s new Modern Dance work ‘Collage’, created for the Irvine Valley College Performing Dance Ensemble, premiered at the department’s annual fall concert featuring the choreography of faculty and special guest artists.
In April 2015, Francisco will be Artist-in-Residence with the Repertory Dance Theatre of Salt Lake City. Teaching Credits Francisco is the founder and artistic director of NUEVO School of Contemporary Dance (2008-2014) and COLABO Youth Dance Collective. He has been a guest instructor with BODYTRAFFIC; Luminario Ballet; SUNY Binghamton Summer Dance Institute; Extravadanza in Montreal, Canada; West Coast Dance Academy; Lula Washington Dance Company and School; California Ballet Conservatory; Ballet Pacifica Conservatory; Festival Ballet; Tucson Regional Ballet; Orange County High School for the Arts; Michelle Latimer Dance Company; The Southern Strutt Dance Company; Columbia City Jazz Company; Northern California Dance Conservatory; Master Ballet Academy; Bunker Dance Center; the Be Discovered Talent Development Program; The Dance Awards and many other schools and studios. He is currently an artist in residence at Dance Industry in Dallas, Texas and at Utah’s Center Stage Performing Arts Studio. While a company member at the Philadelphia Dance Company, he taught master classes at numerous prestigious colleges and universities throughout the world. Francisco is in his third year as the lead ballet faculty of the 24 Seven Dance Convention, Gil Stroming’s highly successful convention with tour stops in cities all over North America. Dance Performance Credits Francisco has been a company member with the Philadelphia Dance Company; Repertory Dance Theater; Spectrum Dance Theater; Chamber Dance Company; Seattle Opera; California Ballet and Ballet Pacifica. He danced at the National Choreographers Initiative two years in a row, performed as a principal soloist at the Closing Ceremonies in the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics in Japan and was featured in a PBS Dance in America Special in Daniel Ezralow’s holiday satirical work entitled the X-mas Philes. Coming out of retirement in August 2014, Francisco performed a solo work for the Dancing Under the Stars Festival in Orem, Utah.