Sonoma Conservatory of Dance’s staff proudly works together to achieve our mission and help our students grow.
Artistic Director, Lead Instructor
Since the age of 7, I’ve had a love affair with ballet and dance of all kinds. Through dance, I’ve been blessed in countless ways, including having met Danny O’Reilly.
Danny and I met in a ballet class in San Francisco. We would go on to marry and have 2 daughters, Erin & Siobhan. Sadly, on April 19, 2004, Danny was killed by a drunk driver.
With faith, the support of loved ones and the community, and the grit I learned in ballet, I came through that life-changing tragedy with a newfound appreciation for the transformative power of dance and its ability to rally people together and work to heal and inspire.
Over and over again, life after Danny’s death has steered my family and me down paths that lead back to dance. I have been humbled to be a part of so many amazing stories, whether it was my daughter Erin’s focus on dance as a therapeutic outlet for her grief and now professional career in Europe, or the wonderful memories created with the many students and families I have been able to share the gift of dance with during my time as Artistic Director of Sonoma Conservatory of Dance.
I continue to follow this passion because I want to nurture young people and their dreams and to give the community of Sonoma what I strove to provide for my daughters: easy access to quality technical training provided in a loving environment full of patience- something I wish I had for myself as a student.
My involvement with Restorative Justice since Danny’s death has reaffirmed for me the importance of teaching young people the essential elements of ballet: beauty, joy, patience, and perseverance. I believe the curiosity awakened in our students not only enegergizes them to explore how to be better dancers but also to transfer that curiosity into every part of their life — from the way they carry themselves, to the way they treat others.
Ms. O’Reilly received her teaching certificate from the Royal Academy of Dance andcompleted the Elementary I, Intermediate and Advanced Executant Examinations after extensive training with Katie Heil, graduate of the Royal Ballet School’s Teacher Training Program in London, England. Ms. O’Reilly performed professionally with Oakland Ballet, Sanbta Clara Ballet and Khadra International Dance Theatre before devoting her career to teaching her passion: ballet.
Instructor, Guest Director, Guest Lead Choreographer
Ms. Sjahsam has performed with Bay Area dance companies including SF Renaissance Dancers, 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, Black Diamond Ballet Theatre, and Menlowe Ballet, and has toured internationally with Leyya Tawil’s Dance Elixir.
Her choreography has been presented in venues including Counterpulse, Temescal Arts Center, Mission Creek Music and Arts Festival, Cal Arts Electronic Music Festival, and West Wave Dance Festival. From 2005 to 2011 Sjahsam collaborated with actor and director Malinda Trimble to create new works for their dance-theater troupe ArtFace Performance Group. In 2008, she received a new work commission by Middlebury College Dance Company. The work she created there, Standing Mother, premiered in Vermont and was also performed in Tabor, Czech Republic. In recent years she has collaborated with Saint Helena based Ehlers Art Society, and LA based artist Daniel Leland Crook.
Isabelle would not be where she is today without her ballet mentors Michael Lowe, Sarah-Jane Measor and Augusta Moore.
Instructor & Guest Performer
A Bay Area native, Evan studied ballet with Charles Anderson, Katarina Wester, and Jodie Gates. He trained in contemporary dance under Donald McKayle and Loretta Livingston while earning degrees in dance and biological sciences from UC Irvine, where he also studied dance medicine & science under Jeff Russell. Currently a member of Menlowe Ballet and Sarah Berges Dance, Evan also performs as a guest artist all over the Bay Area, including with Sonoma Conservatory of Dance! Evan teaches ballet technique, contemporary dance, and pas de deux.
Hip Hop instructor, Joey Dominguez, began teaching in 2011 at an after school program called Diversity Movement at Jesse Bethel High School in Vallejo for two years. Joey then directed Natural Order in Napa Valley College for two years. Joey also now currently teaches where he began to learn Hip Hop dance in American Canyon at All City Dance. He trained under the direction of Hip Hop instructor David King in American Canyon’s “All City Dance” program in 2006 until 2009. He then branched out and took numerous “master classes” and company classes at different studios such as Chapkis Dance Studio in Suisun, Westlake School of Performing Arts in Daly City, City Dance in San Francisco, In The Groove Studios in Oakland, NorCal Dance Arts and Monday Night Workshop in San Jose, Movement Lifestyle Studios and Debbie Reynolds Studios in Los Angeles. All this was done in order to further his knowledge, vocabulary, and appreciation for Hip Hop/Urban Dance. Joey’s approach to teaching is to make sure students have a fun, challenging, and insightful experience to not only pursue dance as a hobby, but also a lifestyle to dance with a purpose.