About the Director:
MDS Director Hillary Brown started her career in Mesa, Arizona as a member of the elite dance team “Starz” at the age of 3. She continued to train in Salt Lake City, Utah where her studies included Jazz, Ballet, Tap, Pointe, Lyrical, Broadway and Hip Hop. As well as dance, she played roles in movies with Disney, DreamWorks, and Lucadia Films, and had reoccurring roles on Touched by an Angel. With her experience in the industry, she was the first high school student to attend a private independent film school created by DreamWorks were she worked directing and producing independent films with industry leaders Darrin Fletcher and Chet Thomas. Directing being her passion, her first film made it into the LA film festival.
In 2001, Hillary made her journey to Hawaii, where she has taught at over 10 studios, was director of a local talent agency and has choreographed for several local shows, competitions, pageant contestants, and has also been a judge for several pageants, including the Miss Hawaii Pageant and Miss Teen Pilipino and World Pageants.
Hillary was first introduced to Pilates for physical therapy for a knee injury. She continued with Pilates outside of physical therapy because she loved that it shared a lot of the same philosophies and principles as dance.
In 2008, Hillary suffered from a major stroke leaving her unable to speak and her right side paralyzed. After months of inpatient care and a risky brain surgery, she again returned to do Pilates as therapy. She made leaps and bounds in her recovery over two years with Pilates and it enabled her to return to her first passion, dancing. Along with a positive attitude, the support from family and loved ones, and a “Never give up” attitude, she credits a great deal of her miraculous recovery to the Pilates Method.
“My doctors told me that I would not be where I am today if I had not been in such good shape before the stroke. I credit that and my wonderful body awareness (which plays an important part of any physical recovery) to Pilates. Pilates helped me get back into dancing after near death, and to Pilates I owe my life.”
Falling in love with Pilates, Hillary completed the Harmony Teacher Certification in 2011, Streamline Bodyworks Certification in 2013 and now holds many additional certifications in Pre and Post Natal, Scoliosis therapies as well as specializing in pain management. Now she shares her passion for Pilates with her dance students and clients in hopes that the method will not only help others the way it helped her, but also help them develop a passion for health, nutrition, a positive attitude and outlook on life, as well as always aiming for the highest and never giving up.
Brooke Haskins- Born and raised in the Canadian prairies, Brooke began dancing at the age of 5. She has trained extensively in tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical, contemporary, acro dance and musical theater. Her syllabus work includes examinations with the Royal Academy of Dance (ballet), Associated Dance Arts for Professional Teachers (tap and jazz), and the Canadian Dance Teachers Association (tap). As a competitive dancer, Brooke attended several competitions throughout Western Canada where her constant strive for perfection earned her numerous awards and scholarships. She has trained under master teachers Brian Foley, Faye Foley, Carla Earle, Derick K Grant, as well as performed with the Alberta Ballet’s professional company in “The Nutcracker”.
Shortly after taking her final bow as a competitor, Brooke began teaching at the age of 20. She spent the next 7 years coaching dance teams for both private and public studios, where her attention to detail left marks of distinction on both her students and choreography. In 2008 she moved to Honolulu to pursue academic goals. Despite being a full time student, she did not hold back from tapping into Hawaii’s dance community. Now making Oahu home, she trains dancers both young and young-at-heart all over the island.
Chelsea Massey- Chelsea began her intense technical dance training at Valley Dance Theater under the direction of Kimberly Field. Her passion for all dance forms was enriched with training under the guidance of dance masters such as Frank Hatchett, Joshua Bergasse, Dustin Phillips and Tony Vitale enabling her to become proficient in various styles. Interested in expanding her knowledge in the performance aspect of dance, Chelsea attended the Governor’s School for the Performing Arts and developed proficiency in the Royal Academy of Dance’s ballet curriculum. Her studies continued at Shenandoah University where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BFA in Dance and a BFA in Dance Education earning her a Virginia State Teaching License in Dance. Chelsea has been commissioned to choreograph works for various individuals among which have been a Miss Virginia pageant contestant. She has performed and showcased her own choreography on tours in Macedonia, Greece, New York City and the Catalunya Region of Spain. Recently she received her MFA in Dance at Sarah Lawrence College under the direction of Sara Rudner. Along with her ongoing creative projects and endeavors, Chelsea has dedicated a huge portion of her time to working with a mentoring program in Rwanda called Hope Shines, Inc. She finds shaping creative artists to be an enticing challenge and loves using movement and dance as her educational outreach initiative. At MDS, she teaches Tap and Ballet.
Mikum Leah Webster– Recently relocated to Oahu so her husband could complete his Masters at UH Manoa. Her studies as a dancer began at age 2 and have continued throughout her life. She graduated with a Diploma in Contemporary Dance from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and continued her dance studies at Florida State University. During her studies she has had the opportunity to dance under the direction of ballet legends Suzanne Farrell and Melissa Hayden. She performed for two years with the Corazon Dancers and then with Waterside Theatre. Unfortunately her career was cut short due to injuries which redirected her passion to teaching. This led Mikum to London where she completed her Masters in Dance Science from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, and inspired her to complete her Pilates teacher certifications
Mikum teaches dancers of all ages in ballet, tap, jazz, and contemporary dance. She specializes in early childhood development and injury prevention. In her free time she works as a research consultant for University dance departments and you can often see her work presented at the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science Annual Conferences.
Ryna Gallardo began her dance career at the age of 5 years old. She began her training at Nix Performing Arts Center (NixPAC) in Aiea, Hawaii until she was 20 years old. When she was 8 years old, she joined NixPAC’s performing company and by the time she was 12, she was in the Senior Company of the studio. She then auditioned for the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warrior Dancers during her sophomore year at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She was on the team from 2012 until she graduated in 2014. Around the time she auditioned for the collegiate dance team, she joined 24-VII Danceforce in Kaneohe, Hawaii. Ryna has participated in many dance concerts and other performances throughout her career. She also competed in regional and national dance competitions for 10 years. Ryna is ready to take the next leap (or jeté!) in her dance career. Having choreographed numbers in high school and collaborated with team mates on the UH Dance Team, she hopes to continue to inspire and educate the youth of Hawaii. She is also excited for her students to inspire her!
Katie MacLean is originally from Washington state, but has recently moved to Honolulu in order to pursue her Master’s at UH Manoa. She earned a degree from Whitworth University in Elementary Education with a Minor in Dance. Having taught dance for 10 years, Katie hasn’t forgotten her early training in Ballet and Tap. She has always been very involved with her local Children’s Dance Theatre too. Growing up, she participated in annual performances, and after graduating she fulfilled roles as stage manager, assistant director, and choreographer for numerous shows. Katie is very excited to be part of the Manoa Dance Studio, and to be able to share her love and passion for dance!