What sets CAPA apart from other studios is the unparalleled calibur of our staff and teachers. Many of our teachers are internationally renowned, all are professionally trained by some of the best teachers and choreographers in the world, and only at CAPA will your dancers receive a level of dance education that is simply not available anywhere else locally. After 35 years of success in teaching the art of dance in Moraga, CAPA has an outstanding reputation for quality and attracts the best of the best in the teaching world. Many of our teachers stay with us for decades, and all continue to hone their own skill sets and continue their own dance education. We believe your children deserve no less than that. The proof is in the product…CAPA dancers routinely gain acceptance via auditions to college and summer programs at The Bolshoi Ballet, Boston Ballet, Joffrey, San Francisco Ballet, Alonzo King Lines, ABT (American Ballet Theater), Alvin Ailey, UCLA and many others. Many of our CAPA graduates are having wonderful success in the professional dance world, coming out of programs like Julliard and The Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. For the best, well rounded, multi-genre dance education in the area, CAPA is the only place to be.
Joan Robinson Borchers, Artistic Director
Joan Robinson Borchers began her professional career at age 13 when cast to play Ginger Rogers’ little sister in “Annie Get Your Gun.” Roles with Robert Goulet, Andy Williams, Barbara Eden, Gene Barry and many other stars followed. At Duquesne University, she was a full scholarship student and a member of the world renowned Duquesne University Tamburitzans. After living and performing in Berlin, Germany, she made her way to El Paso, Texas, where she was a television news anchor for the NBC affiliate. Joan lived in Moraga from 1973-1999 where she, with her late husband Peter, raised their two daughters, AJ and Megan. She is now married to Doyle Borchers and lives in the Napa Valley.
Doyle Borchers, Managing Director
Doyle Borchers, a native Texan, is a 1965 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, where he was Captain of the U.S. Heavyweight Championship Crew Team. In 32 years of service in the Navy, Doyle was an acclaimed fighter pilot, test pilot, and finally, the Captain and Commanding Officer of the nuclear aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson. He retired from the Navy in 1992, and after retiring twice more in the corporate world, Joan convinced him to bring his remarkable management and people skills to CAPA.
AJ Brown, General Manager
AJ (known to her childhood friends as Julie), grew up in Moraga dancing at CAPA. After graduating from Miramonte, attending UCLA and Cal, and then spending 15 years in the media world working for companies like AOL Time Warner, Maxim Magazine and SPIN Magazine, she joined the CAPA family again in 2010 after the birth of her daughter. AJ is also on the board of directors of the Lamorinda Arts Council and on the board of the Rheem School PTA. She lives in Moraga with husband (and official CAPA videographer) Aaron Brown, their daughter Finley and their son Cooper.
Lynn Brilhante, CAPA’s Jazz and Contemporary Director, is constantly in demand as one of the top teacher/choreographers in the nation, and boasts a long and impressive resume of choreographic and performance achievements, spanning the diverse media of stage, film, television and video. Her dancing and choreography are often described as dynamic, fluid and gutsy, and her pieces are always among the most memorable in our shows. She brings a fresh and innovative approach to the world of jazz and contemporary, and shows a unique ability to merge and update various elements, in the process creating her own trademark style. These talents have recently earned her a nomination for the Theatre L.A. Ovation Award for Choreography. Ms. Brilhante has also received the Dance Masters of America Choreographer’s Award and the Robbi Award for Choreography. Her acclaim reaches internationally to the Jazz Workshop, Die Werkstatt, in Dusseldorf Germany, where she continues to be invited as a guest artist. Her success in transferring her love of dance through teaching is evidenced by a flock of loyal students, both in her studio classes in the San Francisco Bay Area and at numerous workshops, master classes and camps throughout the world. Her contributions will continue to enrich the dance world for decades to come. CAPA is extremely fortunate to have had Lynn as a major backbone of our esteemed faculty for many years.
Lisa Cameron began her dance studies at age 4, with her mother Deborah Pitts, a former professional dancer and member of the CAPA faculty. At age 7, Lisa was given a scholarship to attend San Francisco Ballet School, where she remained for 9 years, continuing to the highest level in the ballet school. At 8 Lisa was given a scholarship to attend the Oleg Briansky Summer Program in New York and at age 10, a scholarship to attend the American Ballet Theater School Summer Program in Los Angeles. During her years at San Francisco Ballet, Lisa performed many roles in the company’s Nutcracker, including a child in the party scene, Clowns, Dragon Flies and Butterflies, performing in more than 100 performances at the San Francisco Opera House. While at SF Ballet, Lisa was chosen to perform in La Bayadere with the famous Bolshoi Ballet. In 2013, Lisa joined CAPA’s Senior Ballet Company and that Christmas and the following year, exquisitely performed the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy in Nutcracker. In 2015, Lisa attended the University of California Santa Barbara, working on a double major in Biology and Dance. She has now returned to the Bay Area where she continues to attend college while working towards her career goal, being a dance educator. We are so delighted to have her back!
Rachel is CAPA’s Ballet Mistress, and was awarded the George Balanchine scholarship at the age of 11 to study with the School of American Ballet in New York City. She went on to receive full scholarships with both the San Francisco Ballet and Hungarian State Ballet School in Budapest. Upon graduation, she was asked to join Ballet de Santiago in Chile at the age of 18. She was promoted to soloist within the year and went on to dance for Ivan Nagy at the Cincinnati ballet as a soloist and principal. She has also danced with Pacific Northwest Ballet, San Francisco Ballet and Smuin Ballet. A few of the roles she has performed are Snow Queen (San Francisco Ballet), The Great Gatsby, Giselle, Paquita, Cinderella (Cincinnati Ballet), & Romeo and Juliet pas de duex (Smuin Ballet). She is married to former professional dancer Sedley Chew and they have three young boys. She has also taught for the Marin Ballet and Contra Costa Ballet. She joined the teaching faculty at Capa in 2009.
Lila grew up in Lafayette, CA, attending Burton Valley Elementary and Stanley Intermediate in her youth. She began her love affair with dance right here at CAPA in 1993. 2 years later, however, fate took her to the East Coast for high school. She continued her studies with the Boxford Ballet School, learning the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus. She also attended training at the Boston Ballet School. College took her to Chicago, where she earned her BFA in Theatre Studies from the illustrious Theatre School at DePaul University. While in Chicago, she continued to study dance with Hubbard Street Dance, adding hip hop and modern onto her repertoire that already included serious tap, jazz, and ballet. After college she took on the life of a professional actor and dancer, working in Chicago, New York City, London, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, in everything from musicals, to experimental theatre, to television and indie film! She actually met her husband, Christopher Goodwin (actor with Beach Blanket Babylon for 5+ years) when they were cast in a production of West Side Story together. She continued to teach while working as an actor, working for private organizations attached to the NYC public schools system for children’s enrichment programs, as well as serious competition schools in affluent communities like Menlo Park. While in Los Angeles, she even learned and taught the Arthur Murray method of ballroom dancing. The decision to start a family brought her and her husband back to the Bay 5 years ago and ended her full-time acting pursuits. She and her husband proudly have a 4 year old son named George, who naturally, loves to dance and sing.
Lila also teaches dance at the JCCSF adult programs. If all of this weren’t enough, she is in school for her Master’s degree in Non- Proliferation and Terrorism at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey (a wing of Middlebury College in Vermont). A child of diplomats, she is committed to duty and a service-oriented future. She sees teaching dance as part of that service, as dance is not just a skill in it’s own right, but a ripe method of training the brain to be disciplined, curious, adventurous, take risks, and celebrate life. She is beyond thrilled that her journey has brought her full-circle back to CAPA so that she may pass on the love of dance to kids who are just like she once was.
In 1994, Jennifer became a founding member of Smuin Ballet S/F where she danced until 1998 performing principle roles in the Christmas Ballet, Dances with Songs, Bouquet, Songs of Mahler, the Tempest Suite, and others. With the company she has had the honor of being on film in the Fantastiks, A Walk in the Clouds, and the Return of the Jedi Special Edition. In addition, Jennifer performed in the televised broadcast of Ira Gershwin at 100 live from Carnegie Hall. She has also danced with The San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Sacramento Ballet, and The Ohio Ballet. Jennifer has taught at numerous Bay Area studios including San Francisco Dance Center, Westlake School for Performing Arts, Berkeley Ballet Theater, and Stapelton School of the Performing Arts. In addition to CAPA, she also teaches at Petaluma School of Ballet and Sonoma State University. Jennifer is working on completing her Master’s degree in History and enjoys taking ballet class and spending time with her fiancee and young son.
AMBER JULIAN is a well known performance artist currently based in the Bay Area. She is blessed to have discovered her true passion at a young age because she was heavily exposed to her artistic family who were all knee deep in the music and entertainment world. Once she moved to Oakland, her spark ignited even more from being introduced and heavily exposed to the art scene there. She started dancing in Mixd Ingrdnts Dance Company in 2013, a fierce all-female collective group of artists. She currently dances in a Hip Hop Dance Theatre company called Embodiment Project. Amber has performed at several notable events including SF Hip Hop Dancefest, Headlands Center for the Arts Open House Showcase, Carnaval, Dance Mission Theatre, YBCA productions, and others.
We are so fortunate to have Namita, a former CAPA dancer herself, back “home” with us as our Tap Director. Namita takes tap to a whole new level, having worked with the likes of Jerome Robbins and Gregory Hines, among many others. She is an internationally recognized interdisciplinary performer, choreographer, and visual and graphic artist. From Bollywood to Jazz, Tap, Vocal and Body Percussion, Namita’s varied dance disciplines have resulted in a variety of achievements nationally and internationally. Her credits include the 1st National Broadway Tour of Bombay Dreams, Bollywood’s “So you Think you Can Dance: Just Dance” with Bollywood film star Hrithik Roshan; Jerome Robbins ‘The King and I,” Mike Myer’s ‘The Love Guru” with Jessica Alba; the internationally acclaimed tap dance company, “Jazz Tap Ensemble,” and various other national venues from the Joyce Theater NYC, the Supper Club off Broadway, and NYC’s Lincoln Center to international performances and teaching workshops abroad in Brazil, India, Italy, Iceland, Japan and Turkey. Namita currently performs with Keith Terry’s all body band, Slammin, working closely with international artists in annual Body Music Festivals in the Bay Area and abroad. Her work also includes collaborations with Bay Area jazz choreographers Lynn Brilhante and Ann Barrett as well as performing Bollywood, Tap and Jazz dance in various venues across the Bay Area. Namita is currently on faculty at ODC and Rhythm and Motion and is responsible for helping to create and promote Tap and Bollywood Dance in both Youth and Adult programs, as well as choreographing works in their annual productions. Namita is a graduate of UCLA with a BA in World Arts and Cultures and Fine Art and has performed works choreographed or directed by Jerome Robbins, Gregory Hines, Marguerite Derricks, Baayork Lee, Farah Khan, Lynn Dally, Maria Gillepsie, Vigi Prakash, John Pennington, Sam Weber, Fernando Barba and many others. Namita currently has her own art studio and works professionally as a visual artist alongside her dance career with large art installations in and around the Bay Area. You can see more of her work at www.namitakapoor.com.
Marjorie Ortiz is a Bay Area native who has been teaching, choreographing, and directing dance programs in the Bay Area since 2005. She was one of the founding members of California State University East Bay’s dance team, Eclectic Pulse, fostered the growth of after school programs with Team Up for Youth, The Boys & Girls Clubs of San Leandro and also choreographed for the Berkeley Jr. Bears Cheer & Dance Team, helping them win two 1st place titles in California as well as 6th overall in the nation in 2013. Marjorie has taught for Next Step Dance Studio, Ah-Lan Dance Studio, and is currently a Teaching Artist at Destiny Arts Center, Shawl-Anderson Dance Center, and Jillian’s Studio of Dance. She is also the coach of the Cheer and Dance Team at Will C. Wood Middle School in Alameda, and teaches various dance styles, master classes, as well as workshops under her own organization, Beyond Movement. Marjorie has performed with local Bay Area artists, as well as with Groove Generation of In the Groove Studio in Oakland, and the Interdisciplinary Inclusive Ensemble directed by Eric Kupers. She is currently a performing artist with MEnD Dance Theater Company directed by Grace Alvarez and a member of the all female-identified dance collective Mix’d Ingrdnts Dance Company based in Oakland, CA. Marjorie shares her passion for teaching, working with youth, and helping others by facilitating workshops and mentoring aspiring dance instructors for Support Services for Out of School Time Programs and is an active member of Dance the Bay’s Advisory Board as a Dance Education Specialist.
Debbie, a native of San Francisco, is a former soloist with Oakland Ballet Company, having performed a wide range of soloist and principal roles, including Mother Sweetheart in Eugene Loring’s Billy the Kidd; The Daughter in Dick Kuch’s the Brood; Snow Queen, Arabian and Rose Queen in The Nutcracker; Les Sylphides; Marc Wilde’s Bolero and varied roles in any number of Diaghilev era pieces, such as Boutique Fantastic, Scherazade, Les Noces and Les Biches. Prior to performing with Oakland Ballet, Deborah danced with Dance Theatre of Harlem and as a young dancer with Ballet Celeste in San Francisco. Ms. Pitts has worked with many well-known choreographers, including Leonide Massine, Eugene Loring, Ruthanna Boris and Anna Sokolow. Debbie has been teaching in the Bay Area for more than 38 years. Her tenure includes teaching with Pacific Ballet, Oakland Ballet, Ballet Celeste, and Lamorinda Ballet. Many of her students have gone on to dance professionally at San Francisco Ballet, Oakland Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet and many other companies. In addition to her love of dance, Debbie is the Manager of Public Affairs for Sutter Health East Bay Region and mom to daughter Lisa, who is an accomplished young dancer herself.
Lynn grew up dancing at CAPA since the age of 5, and we are so happy to have her “home!” After thirteen years at CAPA, she attended UCLA where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in World Arts and Cultures with an emphasis in Dance Studies. While at UCLA, she was a member of the UCLA Undergrad Dance Company as well as an assistant teacher at a nearby elementary school teaching movement to children ages 3 through 10. Since college she has been living in the Bay Area and continues to train under Lynn Brilhante and Ann Barrett, and also performs with City Dance Studios, Alonzo King Lines Ballet/SF Dance Center, and Dance Mission. Lynn is also currently an accounting and office manager at a law firm in San Francisco, a dancer in Dick Bright’s SRO, and is training to become a certified pilates instructor through Balanced Body University. While she continues her own studies to continue to grow as a teacher and choreographer, we are thrilled to have her back at CAPA to pass on her dance training and knowledge to the next generation of CAPA dancers.
Liz Tenuto is a choreographer and dance coach who creates dance for a variety of industries. Her work has been seen at A.C.T, The Asian Art Museum, West Edge Opera, ZSpace, ODC Theater, The Comedy in Dance Festival, Cutting Ball Theater, Aurora Theater, CounterPulse, Killing My Lobster shows and in music videos and commercials. She is the first recipient of the FACT/SF JuMP commission and was recently Artist-In-Residence at CounterPulse. She teaches contemporary dance, jazz dance, tap technique and introductory tap and ballet for little ones. She encourages her students to connect to their bodies and hearts, and to articulate and develop an extensive range of personal expression through dance. Balancing artistry and technique, Liz’s classes are fun, meaningful and embody a value that dance is important for people’s well being. More information at www.danceandahalf.com
As a classically trained, professional ballet dancer and an actress, singer, choreographer, playwright, stage director and teacher, Megan has spent her life in the theater. She began performing professionally over 20 years ago, primarily with dance companies, and expanded her career as a dancer and choreographer to include numerous musical theater and opera companies. She has worked for such professional Bay Area companies as Dance Through Time, Cinnabar Opera, Lamplighter’s Civic Light Opera, Peninsula Ballet Theater, Dancer’s Stage, Pacific Alliance Stage Company, 6th Street Playhouse, San Francisco Pocket Opera and Sonoma County Rep. She has been teaching ballet, as well as drama and musical theater, to students of all ages and skill levels for 20 years. As a teacher, whether it is teaching dance, drama or life, Megan’s aim is to recognize in her students the gifts that they bring, whatever they may be, and to develop those talents, while at the same time guiding students to understand and work within their individual limitations, thus helping students to realize their unique potential and to become confident and competent individuals inside and out of the dance studio.
While still in high school, Shirley taught ballet and tap for the Sacramento Parks and Recreation Department. While attending UC Berkeley, she continued to take classes at Berkeley Ballet, Shawl Anderson, and Contra Costa Ballet. After graduating from Cal, she taught classes at Contra Costa Ballet from 1983 through 1992. During her tenure at Contra Costa Ballet, she attended several Vaganova training seminars taught by Karen Morell, who was certified in Vaganova pedagogy. Shirley started teaching at CAPA in 1992, and is known for her wonderful pointe classes.