MEET OUR STAFF

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.
CLAIRE BEDNAREK
Dance Instructor/ Office Administrator
Claire Sophia Bednarek is a performer and instructor originally from Denver, CO. She began dancing at the Colorado Ballet at the age of age four and continued her training at the Dance Conservatory of Denver under the direction of Jennifer Jones Micek, Cori Lucero and Staci Kinkead-Fox. Here she performed principal, soloist and corps roles in The Nutcracker, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake. Claire also studied at the Denver School of the Arts as a dance major, opening her training to many diverse styles. Claire placed an additional emphasis on choreography, setting numerous solo and group pieces for the Dance Conservatory of Denver. Claire additionally studied at summer intensives including but not limited to the Kirov Academy of Ballet, Boston Ballet School and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. In the summer of 2016, Claire had the opportunity to tour and perform with Butler Ballet across Eastern Europe. Claire graduated Cum Laude from Butler University with a BA in Dance Pedagogy. At Butler, she trained rigorously in a variety of different styles under the direction of Marek Cholewa, Rosanna Ruffo, Derek Reid, Ramon Flowers, Laura Byram, Cynthia Pratt and Susan McGuire, among others. She performed soloist and corps roles in full story ballets, as well as featured roles in new choreographic works. Claire is an experienced teacher of classical ballet and jazz dance for dancers of all ages. In her spare time, Claire enjoys hiking, reading and snuggling her cat, Steven.
DEWEY DECKING
Dance Instructor/ Office Administrator
Dewey to CPAA! Dewey Decking is a fifth generation of Carlsbad. He was raised from a young age performing at local theatres such as Carlsbad Community Theatre, Moonlight Amphitheatre, and Lawrence Welk. Dance Arts was the studio he grew up in, under the amazing training of Louis McKay. He went to Boston Conservatory with a major in musical, and a minor in dance. From there he became a professional performer, and has travelled the world doing what he loved to do. In full circle, he's now on the board of CCT, and thrilled to join the family here at CPAA.
CHRISTINE KOLLAR
Dance Instructor
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.
BRITTANY MAY
Dance Instructor
Brittany grew up dancing in Encinitas under the Direction of Leslie Craig. Brittany has attended summer intensives at State Street Ballet, Santa Barbara, and taken summer classes from Larry Rosenburg. Brittany received her BA in dance from California State University, Fullerton. Under the department direction of Gladys Kares, Brittany began her modern training. She trained in Limon, Horton, and Graham from instructors Debra Noble, Alvin Rangel, and Lisa D Long; as well as keeping up her Ballet training with Muriel Joyce. Brittany May has performed in CSUF’s Fall and Spring Dance Concerts where she danced in contemporary ballet pieces by Muriel Joyce followed by classical repertoire from “Giselle.” Brittany Graduated Magma Cum Laude from the University Honors Program. Her senior thesis involved a research investigation on the style of Horton and how it related to Ballet dancers. She created and completed case studies that led her to acknowledge the benefits of the style on Ballerinas. Throughout her Honors project, she found her passion for teaching. Brittany May is a North County based teacher and enjoys being apart of the CPAA studio!
SHANNON MUELLER
Dance Instructor
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”.
HANNAH PRITCHETT
Dance Instructor
Hannah Pritchett fell in love with all things dance after her first ballet class at the age of 3. She trained in ballet and pointe at a local studio in Japan until relocating to San Diego, where she was exposed to modern, contemporary, jazz, and lyrical. She is a graduate of San Diego School for the Creative and Performing Arts (SDSCPA) where she danced works by Jose Limon, Donald McKayle, Anna Sokolow, Fred Benjamin, Christopher Huggins, and Tong Wang. In 2017 she danced for Philadelphia Dance Company (Philadanco!) as an apprentice, where she danced works by Daniel Ezralow, Francisco Gella, and Donald Lunsford. Hannah is also the recipient of the “Best Dancer” award at Young Choreographers Showcase 2016 and 2019 and “Audience Favorite” in 2018. She performed with San Diego Dance Theater as a company dancer for two seasons while teaching dance throughout San Diego county. Always a firm believer in using movement as a form of individual self expression, leading from the heart, and treating others with kindness, Hannah is beyond honored to be joining the team at Carlsbad Performing Arts Academy!
CLARENCE MATHEWS PETERS
Dance Instructor
Clarence Matthew Peters has been dancing for 12+ years. He has received variety of his training from Culture Shock San Diego, Studio FX, and MiraCosta College. He specializes in Hip Hop foundations and Urban choreography but also has trained within other genres of dance like Modern and Jazz. Clarence has taught at a different variety of studios all over the Oceanside, Vista and San Marcos areas. Currently, he is attending MiraCosta College, furthering his training and knowledge within the world of dance. Being a part of MiraCosta College’s Touring Dance Ensemble, Clarence travels to perform and spread his passion of dance at different high schools all over San Diego county. Being active in Oceanside and San Diego’s dance communities, he further continues his love for dance by teaching and performing.
PEGGY SEIPP-ROY
Dance Instructor
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 SOMPHANA
Dance Instructor
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. 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 Instructor
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.
KAT MADURZAK
Dance/ Acro Instructor
Kat Madurzak is a Graduating Senior at San Jose State University majoring in Rehabilitation Science. Ms Kat has been tumbling and dancing for the last 19 years and has been teaching for the past 7 years and currently teaches at Yoko’s Dance and Performing Arts Academy in Fremont, CA. She has performed at many different events and venues including Disney World, Disneyland, Tuscon’s Festival of Books, Art Walk San Diego, San Diego Children’s Museum, Friends Of Scott’s Annual Fundraiser, Young Audiences of San Diego, Oceanside Museum of Art and many others. She has choreographed for many shows including “Tumbling to Emerald City”, “The Tumbling Lion King”, El Camino High Schools annual dance concert, The El Camino Dance Companies annual dance concert, El Camino POM cats, and the San Jose State Dance team. Ms Kat is excited to share her skills and knowledge with the next generation of dancers and is excited to see what this next journey has in store.