Faculty Mentors

FRANCISCO GELLA  Founding Director & Core Faculty Mentor

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. Universities, schools, and companies seek after his award-winning innovative choreography, and highly effective inspirational teaching methods, across North America as well and around the globe. Francisco is the founding artistic director COLABO Youth Dance Collective and currently has artistic residencies in Utah, South Carolina and Dallas, Texas. He also serves as ballet director for the nationally acclaimed 24 Seven Dance Convention and ARIA Ballet Intensive. Born in Bacolod City, Philippines, Mr. Gella immigrated to the United States at age eleven and now resides in Los Angeles, CA.  franciscogelladance.com


JULIE ROSE FRIEDRICH  Associate Director & Core Faculty Mentor

Julie Rose Friedrich grew up in Los Angeles, California. She received her training from Meredith Baylis and the Los Angeles County High School for the Performing Arts. She began her professional career under the direction of Septime Webre at American Repertory Ballet. Julie was then invited by Lawrence Rhodes to join Les Grands Ballets Canadians. During her time there, she danced works by Nacho Duato, Ohad Naharin and various European choreographers, as well as the classics by Balanchine and Tudor.

She spent the next four years working in Europe. The first two years were in Switzerland, where she developed her contemporary style with the Orma Dance Company under the direction of Enrico Musmeci. The following two years, she worked in Sicily with Compagnia Zappala Danza, and the dance theatre company MotoMimetico. In 2005, Julie was fortunate enough to be invited to Bari to dance with the Compagnia Niccolo Piccini.

Upon returning to the United States, Julie was invited to be a founding member of the BODYTRAFFIC dance company, where she expanded her love of contemporary dance.

Currently, Julie teaches full time at the Windward School in Culver City, California, under the direction of Alesia Young. She has served as the senior seminar teacher for the dance department at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts for the past seven years. Through her guidance, Julie has had numerous Young Arts winners, and her students have gone on to study at Juilliard, USC/Kaufman, SUNY Purchase, and Dominican Lines just to name a few.

Previously, she has served on faculty at the Orange County High School for the Arts and as a master class teacher all throughout southern Italy. She has guest taught for the Alvin Ailey company, Lucinda Childs company, ATE9, and Bodytraffic.

In 2013, President Obama and the White House named Julie one of the most influential arts teachers in the United States through her mentorship of young dancers.

Adjunct Faculty and Presenters

Gisela Genschow,  Director, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet School

Allegra Lillard, Artistic Director, National Dance Institute, Santa Fe

Elise Gent, West African and Haitian Dance Instructor

Jonathan Ragsdale, Theatre and Broadway Dance Instructor