MEET OUR STAFF

Carlsbad Performing Arts Academy prides itself on its diverse and quality instructors that are dedicated to maintaining the integrity of the performing arts. Each staff member has a unique and distinct style that integrates the technical and knowledgeable foundation of dance with the passion that it takes to inspire our future artist to achieve maximum success both in and outside of the classroom.

Mary White
Founder | Creative Director
Mary White-Phlek is a Carlsbad native that began her performing arts journey at the age of 3. She spent her childhood immersed in the Dance and Theatre world and found that her true joy was when she was up onstage in front of an audience. Mary began teaching and choreographing at the age of 16 and went on to receive her BA in Dance from UCSD. She is also spent several year touring throughout San Diego and L.A. as a singer/song writer. She continued sharing her life's passion for the arts through her involvement throughout the community as a Director and Choreographer, as well as Drama teacher and Artist in Residence through both Vista and Carlsbad Unified School District. Mary found herself constantly envisioning opening up a Performing Arts Studio that would be unlike anything else she had ever been a part of. She envisioned a place where dancers, musicians, actors and like-minded people could hone their craft and be inspired to experience true artistic expression. Her mission was to create a place that would give students something different than the traditional dance studio experience. She believes that by allow students to exercise their voice and share their ideas, they will foster the qualities of the visionaries of our future. In 2009, Mary's dream became a reality and CPAA was born. She is honored to say that the vision of growth and evolving only increases each year. She is dedicated to continuing her mission in providing a inspiring and nurturing environment for our children and the future creators of this world.
Sara K. Blodgett
Managing Director
Born and raised on Whidbey Island, Wash., Sara moved to N. County San Diego in 1999. In 2008, she began her dance career through enrolling in classes at local community colleges and as an intern at San Diego Dance Theater. Ms. Blodgett has performed professionally with San Diego Dance Theater, GET DOWN / PICK UP, H20, and with Sadie Weinberg of LITVAK Dance. Driven to make quality dance education accessible to all, Blodgett spent several years volunteer teaching dance at several North County school districts. In addition, she developed and directed dance programming for nine years at the YMCA of San Diego County. Most recently Blodgett served as the Executive Director of San Diego Dance Theater (SDDT) & White Box Performance Space, a local non-profit arts organization. Her leadership skills provided SDDT with the breadth to expand its programs and services exponentially. Sara is filling a new role for CPAA; one created to facilitate growth while continuing to ensure we’re providing the best possible experience for families. She is thrilled to be a part of the future of Carlsbad Performing Arts Academy, and we couldn't be happier to have her as part of our team.
Caitlin McNally
Adminstrative Assistant | Dance Teacher
Caitlin grew up in San Jose, CA and began dancing at the age of 4. Training and competing with Dance Attack Studios in Los Gatos, CA. She earned a Conservatory of the Arts Dance Major Position in High School, awarded numerous performance and choreography awards, invited to dance at the Rockette Summer Intensive, and was captain of the original Vivid Dance Company. Caitlin has trained in ballet, tap, jazz, modern, lyrical, hip hop, and contemporary. After leaving San Diego State University as a Dance Major, Caitlin earned a B.A. in Communications at Biola University. Before CPAA, Caitlin spent time in hospitality administration. She loves seeing young dancers find their own love of dance. In her spare time, she is researching cockapoo puppies or watching The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
Olivia DiAngelis
Dance Teacher
Olivia DiAngelis grew up in Escondido California and went to and graduated from Escondido High School. She started dancing when she was seven years old at Dance FX and has been dancing for ten years ever since. She was a competitor for eight of those years and has taken different master classes and worked with teachers in a variety of genres. Most of her inspirations come from where she started, and seeing these talented individuals she grew up with do amazing things. The kids that she works with also inspire her to keep going. She has been teaching for three years and enjoys co-teaching to help keep students learning and being inspired. What inspires her most about teaching is watching how every student has a different learning style and seeing them push themselves to different limits and places is a pure joy. Besides dancing she loves to spend time with her family and friends and be around the people she loves.
Savannah Duran
Dance Teacher | Associate Competition Director
Savannah is from Kansas City, Missouri and has been dancing since the age of three. She grew up dancing competitively and has gone through training with many notable teachers including; Mark Meismer, Chris Jacobsen, Ray Leeper and Paula Abdul. Savannah has been teaching dance since 2006, where many of her dancers have received top awards and recognitions both regionally and nationally. She loves Musical Theatre, Jazz, Ballet and sharing her passion for performance with kids. Savannah attended the University of Missouri-Columbia where she was a member of the Golden Girls dance team and studied International Studies. Since then she has traveled the world and lived in over 13 countries. She has set down roots here in San Diego and is thankful to have found a home at CPAA!
Whitney Edwards
Dance Teacher
Whitney Edwards has been a professional ballet dancer, performing for audiences and teaching workshops all over the United States for 14 years. Whitney is originally from Alpharetta, Georgia and began her training at the Duluth School of Ballet and later progressed to North Atlanta Dance Academy under the direction of Michael Garrison. Ms. Edwards began her professional career at the world-renowned Dance Theatre of Harlem, under the direction of Arthur Mitchell for 4 years. While at DTH she had the pleasure of studying under Prima Ballerina Assoluta Eva Evdokimova and Raymond Lukens. After her time at DTH, Whitney joined Nashville Ballet II, became a company member at Nevada Ballet Theater, The Georgia Ballet, City Ballet of San Diego, and is currently a company member with California Ballet. Ms. Edwards also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Kennesaw State University. Ms. Edwards hopes to continue sharing her love for the art form of ballet with students all over San Diego County.
Christine Kollar
Dance Teacher
Born and raised in southern California, Christine began dancing and doing gymnastics at the age of 4. She trained at SCATS Olympic gym (with Cathy Rigby) for 10 years and has had a wide range of ballet training in varied styles including, Balanchine, Joffrey, Kirov and Royal Ballet. She has also had extensive training in many styles of Jazz, with her first love being lyrical. She became serious about dance out of High School when she earned a full scholarship to Jimmie DeFore Dance Center and began dancing professionally. For nine years she assisted the famed teacher/ chorographer Hama throughout Orange County and Los Angeles. Her professional work includes dancing on live TV in Disney's, "Beverly Hills 75 Birthday" - KABC, performed at the Marriott Marquis New York City, Caesars Palace Tahoe, OC Performing Arts Academy for "Arts on the Green" L.A.'s Magic Castle, and opened the show for country singers Kenny Rogers and Rick Skaggs. She has also performed in industrials for Fuji Film, Hewlett Packard, Chevron Oil, Shell Oil, as well as many other various shows, and starred in a commercial for The Boot Ranch. She has taught for 14 years in the Orange County area from beginner to professional level. She was also dance coach to the SCATS competitive gymnastics team under California Olympic coach Don Peters. Many of her students have progressed to become professional dancers as well as earn dance scholarships in college.
Darnay Luckie
Dance Teacher
Darnay Luckie began dancing in high school and went on to dance with artists like Beyonce, Rihanna, Chaka Khan, and Kelly Rowland shortly after. He can been seen in many live performances and music videos. While these experiences helped to make him who is today and taught him the politics of the industry, Darnay was left with the desire to create. He knew that he had the ability to give rise to something that was of his own. Previously working with the Boys and Girls Club, Darnay is drawn to the power of children to be purely genuine and wants to provide a positive outlet for them. Darnay feels that children in our society need to be able to express themselves in a safe and loving environment. He hopes to inspire each individual and hopes to help them reveal their true self through dance. Darnay strongly believes that we are all creators and all things are possible.
Shannon Mueller
Dance Teacher
Shannon Mueller graduated from Chapman University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance as well as a Minor in Integrated Educational Studies. Shannon is formally trained in ballet, jazz, modern, and tap. Some of Shannon’s performance credits include original works of Merce Cunningham (excerpts from Canfield, Scramble, Roaratorio, Changing Step, Signals, Un jour ou deux) in a MinEvent, the LA Tap Festival, and a variety of performances at Chapman University including “American Celebration” (excerpts of Memphis and That’s Entertainment!). Shannon has won numerous awards for her choreography, which has been seen internationally and worldwide. She was selected as one of Regional Dance America’s Emerging Choreographers to attend their annual RDA Craft of Choreography Conference directed by Janis Brenner. She was also chosen to set an original piece at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland for their annual showcase, “The Exhibition”. Shannon’s choreography was also selected and presented at the MixMatch Dance Festival in Santa Monica, CA, the Young Choreographer’s Festival at Symphony Space in New York City, the San Diego International Fringe Festival, the San Diego Dance Showcase at the Lyceum Theater, and the NDEO Conference in La Jolla. Teaching dance is fulfilling for Shannon because she knows she is teaching more than just dance steps and technique. She is allowing her students to develop creativity, passion, confidence, good character, and determination. She hopes to always inspire students to be “no less than their best”.
Peggy Seipp-Roy
Dance Teacher
Peggy Seipp-Roy, danced professionally as a Principle dancer with Companies throughout the US and Europe. Companies such as Minnesota Dance Theatre, James Sewell Ballet, TU Dance, Moving Spaces (Germany), as well as guest appearances with dancers from LINES Ballet and Complexions throughout the US and Europe.Peggy began her training at the Minnesota Dance Theatre, before joining the School of the American Ballet, and Royal Winnipeg. Peggy holds a BA in Speech Communication/Theater Arts, and Secondary Education from the University of St. Thomas, and received her certification in Stott Pilates from Stott Pilates in Montreal. She has taught extensively throughout the US. Most recently on the facility of NW Dance Project, TU Dance, Minnesota Dance Theater and the Dance Institute, James Sewell Ballet, St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Arts, and University of Minnesota Dance Department. Peggy worked as the assistant school and company director at TU Dance Company and Center. Peggy teaches master classes and open professional ballet and contemporary ballet classes for many professional companies and broadway touring shows throughout the country.
Khamla Somphanh
Dance Teacher
Khamla has performed and taught professionally throughout the country. She began her training at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts and continued at the University of the Arts before moving to NYC to pursue her career. In addition to her classes at Malashock Dance School, Khamla is Artist–In–Resisdence at Canyon Crest Academy and is a freelance choreographer. As an established instructor, Khamla has taught at Mills College, ODC Dance Commons and Shawl-Anderson Modern Dance Center. She has danced with ODC/ San Francisco Dance Company, Wylliams/Henry Danse Ensemble, Na-Ni Chen Dance Company, Rod Rodgers Dance Company, East/West Repertory Ensemble, New World Dance Company, Soundance Dance Company, as guest artist for Malashock Dance and on Broadway in the “King and I”, choreographed by Lar Lubovitz to name a few. Khamla received her Horton Pedagogy Certification at the Alvin Ailey School in NYC. Khamla Somphanh teaches a Horton-based modern technique class that emphasizes physicality, strength, clarity and body alignment. Her classes support and encourage movement expression, self-discovery by way of exploring one’s abilities. The class will be fast-paced tapping into facets of technique, movement quality, athleticism, phraseology and articulation.
Freddie Thompson
Dance Teacher
Freddie started dancing at the young age of 5. His love for dance flourished fast and he soon became a member of the Dance Unlimited competition team when he was 6. Freddie did train in ballet and tap but his love and focus is hip-hop. He continued to dance competitively under the direction of Erin Riley-Carrasco, Eddie Barcello and Cheyenne Kibblewhite for the next twelve years. Freddie won several top honors as a competitive dancer including scholarships to the Pulse convention, Scholarships to dance with Dave Scott and Debbie Allen. He has also danced in LA as a guest in Carnival “A Choreographers Showcase in 2008 and 2013. Freddie’s training outside of the studio has included countless well-known choreographers in the business. Freddie has also been a part of the Culture Shock Dance Organization since 2005 when he became apart of the very first Mighty Shock San Diego dance troupe and continued on to Future Shock and Culture Shock San Diego. He has also been a part of Culture Shock’s “A Hip Hop Nutcracker” production as a choreographer and dancer. Freddie has choreographed for the award winning troupes of Mighty and Future Shock San Diego, Torrey Pines High School National Champion Hip Hop Team, and many dance studios throughout San Diego County.
Angela Yurtin
Dance Teacher
Angela grew up in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, PA and began dancing at her aunt’s dance studio, Christine's School of Dance. She was a competition dancer and even competed against Abby Lee of Dance Moms! Her studio repeatedly won Overall Awards for groups, as did she for her solos. That continues to hold true for her own for her teams today! Overalls, Entertainment Awards, Technique Awards, and Choreography Awards are not uncommon for Miss Angela! Angela’s style of teaching is rooted in strong, classic technique with a fun performance quality! Her favorite styles to teach are Tap & Musical Theatre.

Angela earned her BFA in Dance from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio and attended intensives at PA's Governor's School as well as Dance Master's Teacher's Training School in NY. After graduation, she moved to Las Vegas to begin work as a professional dancer, turning down contracts with Holland America Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruises and Kings Island Tampa Bay. Shortly after arriving in Las Vegas, she was involved in a horrible car accident and sustained fractures to her spine in two places, spinal compression, six broken ribs and shattered bones in her fingers. She was told she would never dance again but beat the odds! She is so grateful to be able to continue to express her passion for dance through teaching and is inspired by her students every day! She currently resides in Carlsbad with her Husband and 4 cats.