Benedicte Schoyen – Owner of Born To Play (Ballet and Jazz) 
Benedicte was  born and raised in Oslo, Norway, where she danced at the Norwegian Opera Ballet School and continued to study at The National College of Dance.
She worked as a dancer for several years both in Scandinavia and LA before opening the Santa Monica Dance Studio.
After twelve years she started Born To Play Productions and produced The Music Box, A Dance Along Fairytale, a DVD for kids.
Benedicte has ten years of experience teaching ballet and jazz at UCLA and choreographing the kids version of the Eurovision Song Contest for Norwegian Broadcasting; she spends most of her summers in Norway teaching summer dance workshops and choreographing shows.

Marie Bergenholtz (Ballet)
Marie was educated at the Ballet Academy in Gothenburg, Sweden, and the Dance Academy in Stockholm, Sweden.
Marie is also an accomplished singer and actress and has performed all over Europe, Japan and the U.S. Her numerous credits include Cats, Fame, Cabaret, Phantom of the Opera, Grease and Carmen, among others.
With a deeply loving and yet demanding attitude and a true dedication to teaching, Marie has been “raising” ballerinas in Los Angeles for the last ten years. 

Pla Arjharnwongs (Ballet)

Cihtli Ocampo (Flamenco)
Cihtli, described as a “young, powerful dancer” by Dancemagazine, began her career at the age of eight and first stepped onto a stage at nine. She began teaching and choreographing at twelve for Stage 7 Dance Theater in San Diego, CA. At 17, she moved to New York City where she spent over 10 years studying Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Modern (Horton & Graham), Dunham Technique and Theater Dance.
In 1999 she was awarded the William J. Fulbright Scholarship for the study of Flamenco and Spanish Dance in Spain. This scholarship marked the beginning of an eleven year residency in Seville where she immersed herself in Gypsy culture.
From 2000-2007 Cithli trained exclusively with the legendary Farruco family.
In 2004, she debuted in Farruquitos production of “Alma Vieja”.
That same year Ms. Ocampo was the featured female dancer in Tony Gatlif’s film “Exils” (Best Director, Cannes Film Festival).
In 2005 she performed with Farruca and Farruco chico in “Familia Farruco”.
Since 2006 she has worked as the co-founder and featured dancer of Arte y Pureza Flamenco Company. With Arte y Pureza, she has toured the USA on four occasions to sold out theaters and rave reviews.
In 2009 she choreographed five original pieces for Ethan Margolis’ production of “Spanish Day: The Flamenco Rock Opera”.
She is currently featured in one of LA’s newest projects, Sir Sultry. The film by Jeff Katz, “Spanish Day: The Documentary” is presently being edited and will showcase her life in Spain with husband, Ethan Margolis (acclaimed Flamenco guitarist, musician, and composer).
Cihtli teaches and performs extensively throughout Europe, South America, Mexico and the USA. Her performance credits include Los Farruco, Concha Vargas, Inés Bacan, La Macanita, Miguel Funi, Diego del Morao, Jose Valencia, Manuel Molina, Montse Cortes, Antonio Moya, El Bobote, and Tito Puente.
She is known for her strength and power while maintaining an elegance of line that comes from a lifetime of dancing.
Her teaching style can best be described as a dive into the essence of Flamenco. She is a rigorous teacher with an eye for proper alignment while encouraging individual style.
She is wholeheartedly committed to diffusing Flamenco as a complete art form focusing on students’ ability to transmit emotion and knowledge while taking their aesthetics and rhythmic capabilities to a whole new dimension.

Cristian Oviedo (Salsa)
Dancer, choreographer, model and actor – was born November 19, 1979, in Cuscatlan, El Salvador.
In his career, Oviedo showed remarkable range and depth, impressing audiences with his ability to convey complex emotions. He has won many competitions since 2003, with different partners. He has also danced with big artists such as Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, El Gran Combo, Cachao and many more.
Working in Hollywood, Oviedo is now a movie choreographer, including Dancing With The Stars in his credits.
Showing people how to enjoy salsa and making them better dancers is a goal for this former 2009/10 World Salsa Champion. For him, the important thing is not to focus on ‘the show’ but on its ‘roots’ in the inner joy of movement. He says that a great salsa dancer is made by the connection to his/her own feelings of enjoyment… word of World Champion!

Sa’eeda Al Bint (Belly Dancing)
424 235 5944

Sa’eeda has been studying Middle Eastern dance since she was a teenager, performing professionally beginning in 1990, and teaching since 1997. With her instinctive understanding of the soul of Middle Eastern music, Sa’eeda embodies the beauty and spirit of the art of belly dance. She continues to enjoy the depth and variety of expression that is available in this dance form. Sa’eeda’s love for dance encompasses many countries from North Africa and across the Middle East. She specializes in both contemporary and folkloric dances of Egypt. Her desire is to transmit an authentic expression of this rich and historic culture.

Jessica “JJ” Rabone
JJ was born and raised in Japan. After moving to LA in 2006 she immediately signed with a dance agency and received her work visa.
She has worked for artists such as Katy Perry, EVE, T-Pain, Q-tip, Chromeo and more for award shows, music videos, and tours.
She was on Emmy Award-winning show “So You Think You Can Dance” season 12 on FOX as a finalist, and also traveled thru the U.S. Canada tour.
She has appeared in numerous commercials and TV shows such as, Target, Old Navy, Knott’s Berry Farm, Disney American Idol Experience, Ellen, Jimmy Fallon and more.
Being half Japanese and half English, she uses the unique look for modeling. She has modeled for Levi’s, Danskin, Roxy, Quick Silver and more.
Her main style is Hiphop, House, Waacking; she’s also been trained in Locking, Popping, Ballet, Jazz and Ballroom. Her unique style comes from all the different styles mashed in together and that’s what makes her look special.

Diane Linder
Diane Linder is the Director of the Malibu Civic Ballet Academy and Malibu Civic Concert Ballet Company.
Diane Linder’s performance career includes many years as a Principal Ballet Dancer with The Gene Marinaccio American Concert Ballet Company, performing classical and contemporary roles, as well as leading roles in Musical Theatre productions of Carnival, 110 In The Shade, Company, Brigadoon, and Man of La Mancha.
Her film and television career includes the recently filmed “Angels on Tap”, with Ed Asner and Marion Ross, and roles in Knight Rider, Remington Steele, Hillstreet Blues, Murder She Wrote, Staying Alive, and Beaches, along with commercials for Kraft Parmesan Cheese and Jane Seymour’s Natural Advantage.
Many of her students went on to pursue pre-professional and professional training and achievements.

Cabeza de Vaca Cultura (Baile Folklorico)

Suchi Branfman (Modern)


18 Responses to "Teachers"

When will the next Pre-Ballet Class for a 4.5 year old girl be available? I would like to get her started.

Thank you.

Hi Kristen!
The Fall/Winter schedule will be up soon.
Usually we start the kids session on September and Benedicte teaches kids of your girl’s age Saturday morning.
Please come back to check the schedule soon!

I’m interested in taking adult ballet. I took ballet for many years as a kid, but haven’t done it in about 15 years.
I was going to check out the beginning ballet on sunday. On the schedule it says the teacher is Pia? I don’t see her name on the teachers list, but I was wondering what I would need to bring for the class.

Hi Amy!
Thanks for your interest.
Pla will be soon in the Teachers page. Thanks for reminding me!
She is very nice and her class is for beginners; just wear comfortable clothes for the gym (unless you have a proper ballet outfit) and ballet slippers (you can find them at The Dance Store on Robertson or at Shelly on Westwood Boulevard for $20).

Hi, do you have e-mail contacts for the instructors as well?

Hi there,
thanks for your comment.
We do have email addresses, yes. Please let me know which ones you need and I’ll try to help you.

For Aztec Dance & Baile Folklorico

Do I need to sign up for a class ahead of time? Or can I just show up? I’d like to come to the adult ballet class this Thursday morning. 🙂 please let me know! Thanks!

Hi Melody,
thanks for your interest.
Yes, you can just show up at Benedicte’s class on Thursday and go from there.
Have fun!

I took ballet and jazz when I was a little kid and wanted to get into ballet again (I’m in my 20’s). I don’t see any pricing information though. What are the prices for one class or for a package? My schedule is always changing and my days off are never the same. Thank you so much for your help!

Thank you for you request.
$15/class and $130 for a 10 class card.
Hope you can make it. We have adult ballet classes every day. Try a few and see what works best for you please.

Hi, Are there ever any modern and/or jazz classes for adults? Thanks!

Hi, Benedicte,

I am interested in your Tuesday intermediate ballet class from 11:3-1pm. I’m a 29-year-old who has a history of ballet as a child, and looking to get back into it for fitness and fun! Do you have more info regarding pricing/sign-ups? Thanks in advance, and looking forward to hearing from you soon!


Hi Brooke. $15/Class or $130/10 classes card. Thank You.

Hi! I tried some ballet as a kid for some years and wanted to try it again as an adult. I’ve now been taking adult classes in my home country Finland for 1,5 years (once a week). I’m coming to Santa Monica for a two months holiday in February and now thinking if it’s possible to maintain my dear hobby while in LA 🙂 Do you have any recommendations – which class should I take? And is it possible to take classes every once in a while without committing for a longer period of time?

Thanks in advance
Jannica, Finland

Hi Jannica, you’re welcome to come to our ballet classes as often as you wish. I teach Wednesdays at 10 am and of course that’s my recommendation :-). Still, Benedicte’s and Edouard’s are my favorite as well. Feel free to try any class on the schedule.
Thank you, Liliana

Thank you for the quick reply! So basically what is the difference between the basic and intermediate level? Perhaps I’ll just show up and try the classes (and see which level is the best for me) as soon as I just get to LA from this winter wonderland 🙂

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