The Works Instructors

Alan Leon is a graduate of piedmont yoga studio's advanced studies program 2001. Alan weaves, adapts and interprets daily life into the asana practice, He teaches to celebrate the creativity of life and bring greater awareness to our precious embodied existence. His workshop themes have included Partner yoga, Exploring Balance, a Yoga of Creativity, Yoga in Watercolor and Restorative Yoga. Alan has taught around the bay area and internationally since 2000, He considers leading others on the journey of a class practice a great honor.

Alyssa Conn has over 10 years of experience helping people of all ages and abilities who are seeking fitness, rehabilitation from injury, pre- and post-natal work, to individuals just wanting to improve overall strength and awareness in a knowledgeable and supportive environment. She says, "My background includes a lifelong love of movement and fitness including a passion for dance, my Pilates Certification with Ellie Herman in 2001, to hiking in 37 of our National Parks in 2011. I graduated from Occidental College with a degree in Biochemistry and I love applying a scientific understanding and thoughtful approach to my Pilates practice and teaching style."

Christine MacDonald – Chrissy has been teaching health and fitness since she was fifteen. She's a jazz dancer who came to Pilates after a serious car accident. Chrissy has worked as an aerobics instructor, including nine years directing an aerobics program for a swim and tennis club in Redwood City, as well as being a personal trainer in weights and cardio. She danced and taught Pilates in NYC, where she worked with a number of Broadway performers—from the Lion King, Rockettes, Moving Out—as well as opera singers from the Met. In SF, she has taught at dance studios, including Rhythm and Motion, ODC, City Ballet, Jane Kellam's School of Dance, Marin Ballet Theatre, andStep One Dance Academy. In addition, she was an Oakland Raiderette and is still dancing with SRO—an R&B orchestra.

Erin Carper has spent her lifetime moving. As a dancer, she was introduced to Pilates while recovering from a serious back injury. This sparked an interest that became a path into teaching Pilates. For nearly two decades she has taught movement to a wide variety of people using many different forms including: Pilates matwork and apparatus work, the Gyrotonic® Expansion System, Gyrokinesis®, yoga/stretch for dancers, ballet, modern dance, and creative movement for children. Erin brings her deep love of movement, passion for helping people understand their bodies, and curiosity for how to meet the needs of her students to her teaching. Erin holds a BA In Performance from the Saint Mary's College of California LEAP Program and a Certificate of American Sign Language and Deaf Culture Studies from Berkeley City College.

Joanna Arhon Clinton (on maternity leave) is a certified Pilates instructor trained in both mat and apparatus through Balanced Body University and a certified fitness instructor. She began studying Pilates as a dancer seeking rehabilitation for her lower back injury. She finds joy in helping her clients learn, understand and grow in their own practice and is passionate about educating her clients about the strength and power of their own bodies. Her class information is available at

Karen Montgomery got her start in the fitness industry after giving birth to her son in 2005. As a client, Karen took stroller fitness classes and instantly fell in love with the challenging workouts and the bonds formed with other moms. Determined to bring this format to Brentwood, she began teaching "Hot Mama Fitness" an outdoor stroller fitness class for mom and baby. Club One approached Karen and asked her to teach a comprehensive pre and postnatal fitness program at their Brentwood location. "Moms in Motion" was born and from there Karen began to teach Kick-box, Spin and small group boot-camps. Karen is passionate about making fitness fun and accessible. Her classes focus on interval training and lots of muscle work as well as stretching and balance. Karen believes in "whole body fitness," focusing not only on the physical body but the mind and spirit as well.

Morning Star (currently on hiatus) has a variegated background that includes a BA in music, over 30 years of teaching piano, dance, swim coaching, athletic team training, music/exercise therapy, stress reduction, therapeutic stretch, cooking, and yoga. She believes in synergistic living and movement, which means one thing, affects and contributes to another action on a holistic level. Travel, living in various countries, wiggling in Brazil, trekking in Australia, learning to teach yoga in Spanish in Mexico, and writing music—all have been key ingredients to her approach, with humor, of teaching people to be comfortably and transformatively in their bodies. Certifications include AAFA, ACSM, Contra Costa Leadership, Integral Studies, and more. She gives retreats in connecting with nature, yoga, dance, and exploration of the outer/inner universe. Try her class and you will feel the magic! Check out her website at:

Other Instructors

Aggie Brenneman has been teaching dance classes at Park Day School for over 25 years, after having lived in India and Malaysia for nine years. She had studied Bharata Natyam with the renowned Tanjore Balasaraswati and her daughter, Lakshmi Knight, at the Center for World Music in Berkeley, atthe American Dance Festivals of Connecticut College and Duke University, and in their home in Chennai, India. She was awarded a grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities to research mythology and to study with Shyamala, the leading disciple of T. Balasaraswati in India today. She has performed in the United States, India, Nepal, and Malaysia. Through her involvement in Bharata Natyam, Aggie Brenneman strives to preserve the ancient dance tradition of the South Indian Tanjore Court in the style of T. Balasaraswati.

Deepa Natarajan has been assisting Aggie in teaching the dance classes for the last five years and has been studying under Aggie sine 2007. In 2011 Deepa performed her Arangetram, a graduation performance for advanced Bharatanatyam dances. Deepa has also studying Bharatanatyam in South India with Shyamala, a leading disciple of the great T. Balasaraswati. . Deepa additionally loves plants works part time at the UC Botanical Garden and is actively involved with the Sangati Center for South Asian Music. She brings enthusiasm and warmth to the children whom she teaches.

Alex Lerman offers Improv Acting Workshops for all levels. Develop improv skills that apply to real-world settings, like teamwork, public speaking, and leadership. Unleash your imagination, and amaze yourself as you create stories and scenes from scratch. Enjoy a supportive environment that promotes cooperation and positive thinking. Discover how improvisation can feel effortless. Spontaneous, laugh-out-loud fun! Preregistration is required (no drop-ins). For details, visit

My name is Brielle Plump, and I have made it my life's goal to help people discover behaviors that bring them personal knowledge and health.

When I first began my Bachelors Degree in Communication Studies, I quickly started analyzing how self-expression and consumption of information effects our pursuit and understanding of health and happiness. I leapt towards a graduate degree to research how health is achieved through dialogue, and further understood the power of Communication on our well-being. I took on roles teaching Public Speech, Managing Health Care Providers, and developing Pre-Medical School Instructors, in order to apply my theory in practical spaces. These experiences have only further taught me that facilitating health and teaching any subject matter are very closely related. In fact, in the mother language Latin "doctor" means "teacher", and in each role you are empowering people to promote their self-appreciation and maximizing their vitality. I see both responsibilities as opportunities to guide people towards their individual goals.

This approach to health and education inspired me to take my own yoga, which I have practiced recreationally for over a decade, to a new level. I became dedicated to teaching the philosophies of yoga in conjunction with my work in academia as a way of exploring new health within myself, while sharing this gift with my community. I trained at Corepower Yoga and developed a whole new repertoire of teaching techniques, blending instructional experiences from background with the "Eight Limbed Path" of the sacred Yoga Sutras. I developed my authentic teaching voice, where students of mine can define their own intention in a uplifting yet challenging environment.

I believe a good yoga practice can lead to productivity and happiness throughout ones life. Come and join our Mind-Muscle Wellness community and watch your mind and body transform in empowering ways!

Carrie Schwalbe has been studying, performing, and teaching belly dance for over 15 years. She was a staple performer at the Northern California Renaissance Faire for many years, and has performed in several restaurants throughout the Bay Area. Carrie's unique dance style blends Persian grace, Egyptian complexity, and American discipline. She is a personable, observant, and attentive instructor who loves to bring this folk dance out in anyone who wants to try.

My name is Christina "Xtina". I was raised in sunny California where my Tomboy antics inherently guided me into the world of sports. I stopped playing sports when I entered college, and, before I knew it, had gained weight until my 5'9 frame reached a record 200 lbs! I began to feel hopeless as I had never taken the time to learn how to implement a healthy lifestyle with balanced eating and exercise. And even worse, I felt ashamed that I had to hide my once athletic physique.

The moment that I decided things needed to change was when I recognized that by continuing on this path that it would only lead to more destructive behavior and an even deeper pit of despair. So, I stopped feeling helpless, stopped eating uncontrollably, and started to take responsibility for my health.

I began to research diet, nutrition, exercise, and health. I taught myself how to eat properly, workout correctly and, most importantly, learned how to pull myself out of the dark hole that had made me feel so embarrassed, unattractive, and hopeless. Before I knew it, I was dropping weight, toning up, and inspiring those around me to do the same. I earned my Personal Training Certificate shortly after so that I could help others who had similar experiences to mine.

I was able to aid in the transformation of so many women that I decided that this was the path that I needed to follow—inspiring others through health, fitness, and nutrition.

Today, I am a Certified Sports Nutritionist and MS Candidate in Nutritional Science with the hope that I can to continue to inspire and help others on their personal journeys towards mental, emotional, and physical health.

Cheryl Fralick started training PGB White Crane Silat in 1986 under Dr. Bryce Carter. Cheryl is the head trainer for the San Francisco PGB branch, which merged with Bay Area WCS in 2013. She has been teaching children's groups at the Soja Martial Arts studio in Oakland since 2006. Teaching kids and adults is an important part of her training and a way to give back to the community.

Danny Jiang has over 10 years of experience teaching martial arts to children and adults. Danny started martial arts training at the age of 7 at the largest martial arts academy in China — Tagou Martial Arts School (if you saw the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the thousands of incredible kung fu performers were from this school). Tagou is located at the famous Shaolin Temple. Danny specializes in traditional Shaolin Kung Fu. He competed and won nationally and internationally throughout his training years. He later became one of the head coaches of Tagou and trained their professional teams for national competitions throughout China before migrating to the US in 2007 as an outstanding martial arts athlete.


Dr. Jaida Kim Samudra is a medical anthropologist whose doctoral research was conducted in the Persatuan Gerak Badan (PGB) school of White Crane Silat (WCS) in 2000. She began studying the WCS self-defense art with trainers Peter and Gary Gartenberg in Berkeley in January 1984. Later that year, she traveled to Indonesia to study with PGB founder Suhu Subur Rahardja (now deceased). She became assistant trainer to the Berkeley branch in 1991 and later opened WCS groups in Minnesota, Hawai'i, and Wisconsin with the approval of current grandmaster Suhu Gunawan Rahardja. She rejoined the thriving White Crane Silat community in California in 2011 and helped form the Bay Area WCS collective in 2013. She also teaches Tao Kung, PGB's internal energy and health system, in El Cerrito and Oakland. Email

Kaye Anderson is a certified Hoop-Dance teacher and the founder of Hoop Power. A life long student of music and yoga, and lover of dance, Kaye discovered hooping in 2007. She has been teaching Hoop-Dance classes and workshops for both adults and children in a variety of settings since 2008. Combining Hoop-Dance with her work as child and family therapist (LCSW), Kaye also uses the hoop as a therapeutic tool with her clients, and has lead workshops both locally and at Hoop Camp about the emotional benefits of Hoop-Dance. She experiences and teaches hoop-dance as a powerful form of mind/body connection through authentic movement, as well as an invigorating path to physical fitness.

Las Puras Dance Company The name is a double-entendre of the company's vision. The company performs technically pure dances with the unique "pura" flavor — an attitude Cubans associate with women who celebrate the ageless gift of style, grace and passion.

Michael Truman Cavanaugh is a Director, Actor, Movement Coach, Teacher, and all around Fool. Born in Idaho, Michael has studied, trained, and performed in various styles of theatre all over the country and world. After receiving his BFA from the University of Utah, Michael spent three months in Japan living and training with Bunraku puppetry masters. Upon returning to the states he joined Actor's Equity Association and worked freelance for a few years. He later received his Master in Puppetry Arts from the University of Connecticut. After UConn Michael spent time at Dell'Arte International School of Physical Theatre. Around the Bay Michael is a Director and Teaching Artist having worked with the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, Civic Arts Stage Company, Community School for Music and Arts, Berkeley Playhouse, as well as various public schools. Michael is foremost a Resident Artist with the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, and will assistant direct this summer's production of The Taming of the Shrew. Michael is also a founding member of The AlulA Ensemble, an Oakland based company that creates new works combining physical theatre, puppetry, and circus. Michael is a member of Actor's Equity, UNIMA-USA, Puppeteers of America, and the San Francisco Bay Area Puppetry Guild.

Main Stacks was started in Spring 2008 by May Matsuo and Vivian Peng. Main Stacks is just a group of friends that love to dance! The dancers come from different dance groups on campus and all contribute their style of training, choreography and dedication to the group to form a unique, successful competitive dance team. The team consists of UC Berkeley students, alumni and friends. This team builds upon the dancers' strengths and helps them overcome their weaknesses through hard work. Main Stacks creates long-lasting memories at every practice and performance.

Monza Lui is an Argentine Tango teacher, performer, and organizer. She has been dancing since 9 years ago and has just moved to the Bay area to pursue her tango dream. She started her dance journey studying ballroom dancing and has won many metals and trophies in competitions. Now dancing Tango exclusively, Monza is very devoted to sharing her love of Tango. She believes Tango brings connection among people, who are needing it more than ever before. Monza has studied Tango in Buenos Aires, the birth place of Tango, and many festivals. The most influential teachers of her Tango are masters such as Damian Lobato, Diane Cortes, Claudia Codega and Esteban Moreno, Lucila Cionci and Joe Corbata. Her dance is characterized by its fluidity, playfulness, and her calming embrace

Nives Wetzel de Cediel is an internationally trained visual and performing artist with 20 years of experience in performance and dance education. Nives has studied and performed Spanish, Brazilian and Cuban dance with groups such as Bailes Flamencos, Ginga Brasil, Fogo na Roupa and Kubata. She studied Capoeira for 8 years with the late Mestre Carlos Aceituno and is currently the Artistic Director of Batucada do Leste - Escola da Samba. Nives is concerned with the energy and emotion dance solicits—the 'power' of dance to communicate.

Rebecca Miller is a natural dancer and enjoys sharing her passion for movement. Her enthusiasm and love around dance, music, and teaching comes together seamlessly as a East Bay salsa dance instructor of five years (and counting!). Rebecca has taught in Oakland at Lake Merrit Dance Center and is now teaching Monday nights in Berkeley at The Works Co-op on Telegraph. She has performed and taught dance in the San Francisco bay area. Rebecca is a SalsaCrazy/DanceSF instructor. She is currently studying Belly Dance in Albany with Suhalia Salimipour with the intention of teaching and performing in 2012. Rebecca has been described by her students as a patient, caring, warm, and fun instructor. Learn more at

Royland Lobato, originally from Guantanamo, Cuba, is a founding member of the Havana-based dance company, 7 Potencias, an Afro-Cuban Folkloric dance and music ensemble. A graduate of the Escuela de Instructors de Arte de la Ciudad de La Habana, (School of Arts Instructors in Havana) with a degree in Education, specializing in dance. A professional dancer with an expertise in Afro-Cuban folkloric and Cuban popular dance, Royland has also participated as a principal dancer as well as instructor, and invited guest in performances, workshops and classes throughout the greater Bay Area, Hawaii, New York, Cuba, and Mexico.

Sean Ericson has danced Tango from Buenos Aires to Belgrade. first introduced to dancing in College at UC Santa Cruz, Sean quickly fell in love with all forms of movement. Sean has studied ballet, modern dance, break dancing and is an accomplished competitive Latin ballroom dancer. Argentine Tango holds a special place in his heart however. Sean has traveled to Argentina to train with such masters as Horacio Godoy, Fabian Peralta, Francisco Forquera and Carolina Bonaventura; and regularly travels around the United States to attend Tango festivals. Sean's dance teaching experience includes teaching tango in Santa Cruz, along with running the UCSC ballroom dance program for two years, where he would teach classes of up to 100 students.

Shakti began her study and practice of Hatha Yoga in 1984, on the Big Island of Hawaii. She has completed teacher training and advanced study with Senior Iyengar Yoga teachers Aadil Palkhivala and Felicity Green. Since 1999 Shakti has been training with John Friend, the founder of Anusara Yoga. In addition to many thousands of hours of classroom training, she has completed a 200-hr teacher training with Advanced Anusara Yoga teachers Ruthie and Jim Bernaert. Her natural aloha spirit (warm and personal) radiates throughout her life on and off the mat. Shakti seeks to make your practice a joyful reflection of the beauty and fun to be had in life. Wildly passionate about her own asana practice and philosophical studies, Shakti also nourishes her soul through being a dedicated devotee of Gurumayi and the Siddha Yoga Foundation, for which she is forever grateful.

Shola – I am a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley. I am a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor. When I am not training or teaching group exercise classes, I enjoy running, Muay Thai Kickboxing and Boxing.

For the past six years, I have been working in the fitness industry. Health and fitness are passions of mine. I like to share my passion and knowledge of health and fitness in the hopes that my members/clients might change their sedentary life style and sometimes negative self-image, to a more active, healthy life style with a more positive self-image.

As a Certified Personal Trainer, I work one-on-one with people who have improper posture, muscular imbalances and injuries. I have suffered injuries and I know how debilitating they can be. I want to help my clients get back to their natural body alignment. Once my clients' muscular imbalances are brought back to a more natural range, I work with them on weight loss, building muscle, strength, endurance and power.

As a Fitness Instructor, I have experience teaching Spin, Body Conditioning, Athletic Training, Boot Camp and Core Strength classes. I design my classes specifically for building strength, power and endurance. In addition, I have designed and instructed Spin classes intended specifically for building the power and endurance of the University of California at Berkeley Women's Olympic Swim Team.

Because of my diverse background, I have patience and I feel comfortable interacting with people from different backgrounds and in different states of physical health and mobility. My clients are diverse and range from prenatal women to marathon runners.

Vicki Virk – Award Winning Bay Area Dance Instructor and Co-Founder of Dholrhythms Dance Company and the legendary Non Stop Bhangra party in SF, Vicki is excited to bring her Bhangra class to the Works Cooperative Community. Vicki was born and raised in Punjab India and grew up dancing to Bhangra. Though she became an attorney, her passion for dance inspired her to form Dholrhythms Dance Company that is dedicated to promoting the artistic and cultural heritage of India through the beautiful Bhangra and Giddha folk dances of Punjab, India. Vicki is the leading instructor and choreographer for all Dholrhythms classes, workshops, performances, and events.

Since its inception in 2003, Dholrhythms Dance Company has grown into a boundless and unique platform for people of diverse backgrounds to come together, express themselves, and dance in a non-competitive and positive environment. With Dholrhythms and Non Stop Bhangra, Vicki has taught and performed at some of the largest stages on the West Coast including San Francisco's renowned Stern Grove Festival, Michael Franti's Power to the Peaceful Festival in Golden Gate Park, Yerba Buena Center For the Arts, War Memorial Opera House, Asian Art Museum, Grand Performances in Los Angeles, Pasadena's Levitt Pavillion, New Mexico's ¡Globalquerque!, Canada's Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival and many more. Dholrhythms and Non Stop Bhangra have won numerous awards and recognitions including the Independent Artist Award for Making a Global Impact by Independent Artists Week as well as One of the most inspiring in 10 years on the Bay Area Dance Floor by San Francisco Bay Guardian. Non Stop Bhangra was also voted as one of 250 Things to do in SF before you die by 7x7 magazine.

Vicki's passion and love for this dance is at the core of her teaching style which is inviting and infectious to anyone that joins the Dholrhythms classes. She loves teaching Bhangra because its done with zest, energy, and enthusiasm and she believes that's how life should be lived.

~Move to the rhythm of your soul, and you'll never miss a beat~ Vicki Virk

For more info on Vicki, Dholrhythms or Non Stop Bhangra:;