Agape Dance Academy

Welcome To

Capture the Vision

          The Free Nutcracker Comes to Santa Cruz County 
            Presented by Agape Dance Academy Dec 13th 7PM & 14th 3PM            

Free tickets will be available starting November 20th at Agape Dance Academy in Scotts Valley and at 2nd Street Cafe in Watsonville.

Premium tickets will be for sale at our November 9th Fundraiser / Dance party at the Santa Cruz Veterans Memorial Hall.

Welcome to the Agape Dance Academy family!!  

Agape Dance Academy is bringing world class dance training at it's finest to Santa Cruz County in a warm atmosphere of community and camaraderie.


Capture the Vision!


Donate to our capital fund bringing the free gift of The Nutcracker Ballet to our community of

 Santa Cruz!


 Add to the magic with beautiful scenery drops, guest artists, and gorgeous costumes enhancing the amazing dancers and choreography.  An event to inspire the whole community!!

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Agape Dance Academy offers  classical ballet training based on the Royal Academy of Dance technique in an environment of skillful yet caring teachers who value each individual  as a whole.  We  encourage growth in both physical skills and character building. We strive to provide the best classical ballet instruction in an atmosphere that promotes self-esteem, encouragement, safety, and enjoyment.  


Best expressed in the following  words of a current student of Agape Dance Academy:


"Melanie if it was't for you encouraging and supporting me to start ballet i might not have found my love and passion for it. 
When i first started i was nervous because i was farther behind then everyone, because they had started that summer (or years before). No matter how scared or nervous i was to try something new you told me "Just try it" or "Go for it" and then you would give me corrections. You inspire me to strive to get better and to practice and to grow as a dancer, but also to use dance as a way to express myself and bring glory to God. 
The best thing about having you as my teacher is that you're a amazing example of joy, love, passion, faith, integrity, encouragement,strength,grace,talent and excitement. Plus you're hilarious and so fun to be around. Thank you for the gift of dance you give to your students and to the community."
Love ~  Shannon



What are the benefits of learning ballet?

There are many benefits to learning ballet:
  • Body awareness and control
  • Personal discipline
  • Improved posture, coordination and carriage
  • Improved muscle tone and health
  • Improved mental and physical confidence
  • Positive outlet for self-expression
  • Appreciation for music and art
  • Increased skill in dance technique
  • Good foundation for future career in dance

  • Classes are based on the renowned Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) teaching system, the most comprehensive, relevant program of classical ballet available.  The RAD program provides a standard of learning regardless of where instruction occurs; students who move from one country (or state) to another can enroll in a new RAD school and continue with the same syllabus.

 To see slide show of The Agape Dancers in Dress Rehearsal copy and paste this link into your web browser!   http://animoto.com/play/T7k59Tacx0ZFW6hEAeyA1g


Melanie Useldinger has been teaching ballet for over 30 years.  She pulls from her vast experience as a scholarship student at San Francisco Ballet, Banff School of Fine Arts, Pennsylvania Ballet, and New York City Ballet.   She also draws on her professional experience at San Francisco Ballet, Dance Theater of Kansas, and San Jose Dance Theater. As a professional dancer she was required to master choreographic style and technique in modern dance, jazz, character, partnering, and variations.

Melanie  especially loves inspiring students of all ages and abilities to learn to dance  and experience great choreography to inspiring music. 

Melanie also has the greater goal of training   up highly skilled dancers who can share their gifts with the community at large and thus dance for greater purposes than just entertainment. We accept bookings for  events, weddings, seminars, fundraisers and more. 

Melanie can be reached at (831) 359-0850 to discuss bookings or emaled at joymelanie@aol.com

Dance photography and mult-media presentations are also an exciting part of Agape Dance!!!

Adjunct Faculty:


Erin Silva Coffin grew up in Los Gatos, CA and danced with the late Paul Curtis Jr. at the Los Gatos Academy of Dance.  she performed various rolls in the annual production of the Nutcracker Suite, including Party Child, Snowflake, Ribbon Candy, and Spanish.  In her early teens she became a Company Member at San Jose Dance Theater and performed in high schools (Peter and the Wolfe), Paul Mason Winery (Spring in Camina Burana and competed in adjudications held throughout the state taking classes  from Master teachers, broadening her dancing knowledge in jazz , modern , and character dance.  Erin has taught ballet to children in many different settings: elementary summer school, home school programs, and creative movement at Courtside Club in Los Gatos.

Erin is excited to combine her love for dance and for children by teaching pre-ballet.  It has been a lifelong dream to one day work with Melanie, remembering again the wonderful years spent sharing the same stage.


Conrad Useldinger  learned Ballet at the International Academy of Dance in Santa Cruz and used his experience to become a scholarship student at Belhaven Universtiy.  At Belhaven, Conrad studies under Rovanna Tucker from the Royal Ballet in London, Caleb Mitchell from Houston Ballet, Randal Flynn of Ad Deum Dance  Company, and many amazing teachers.  Conrad has developed a special interest in choreography, Graham and Limon modern dance technique, hip-hop, and East Coast Swing.  He is looking forward to bringing an element of modern dance technique to our summer intensive program as well as sharing  his partnering skills in pas-de-deux class.


Teresa Moorleghen:  We are so pleased to have Theresa on our team!!She is so talented and such a great with the students.


Teresa Moorleghen

Teresa's love for the study of movement began with gymnastics and dance as a child.  Her formal dance training began while attending college when she was fortunate to meet her first dance teacher, Joan Gunness, a former member of the Eric Hawkins Dance Company.  After graduating with a BA in Literature from Pacific University, Teresa worked with local and nationally touring dance and theater companies as performer, teacher, choreographer, and movement coach from 1997-2006.  Her experience includes performing in the San Francisco Bay Area with Moving Arts Dance Collective and Last Planet Theater.  While living in Tucson, AZ she performed with the aerial modern dance company, ORTS Theater of Dance, and Flor De Liz Dance.  

As the owner of Coastline Pilates in Santa Cruz, she is a Qualified Teacher of Fletcher Pilates (2003), Certified Pilates Instructor of the Pilates Method Alliance (2007), and a Certified Yamuna Body Rolling Practitioner (2004).  She worked as a Pilates teacher at Body Works Studio in Tucson, AZ at Fletcher Pilates International Headquarters from 2003-2005, and at Studio 4 Pilates in Half Moon Bay, CA from 2005-2010.  From 2008-2009 Teresa served as Faculty for The Ron Fletcher Program of Study.  She also worked as a Physical Therapy Aide at Wellness and Rehabilitation Physical Therapy in Watsonville, CA from 2008-2009.  


Teresa is a perpetual student of movement and anatomy.  She attends various movement workshops regularly to continue her study with master teachers.  She enjoys working with a wide range of age groups and skill levels.  She considers each student's personal goals, physical considerations, and learning needs to bring dancers to their highest potential.  


     American Ballet Theater Alumni...Lizzy Harlan...our newest team member!

               Lizzie Harlen has had the good fortune to have trained and then performed with the San Francisco Ballet.  As if this was not enough she was also thrilled to have received a dancing position with American Ballet Theatre from Michael Baryshnikov, whom she danced for from 1986-1995.  During this period, Lizzie danced such classical ballet roles as Swan Lake, Giselle, La Bayadere, Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, Les Sylphides, along with many others.  She has also had the good fortune to work with numerous dancer/choreographers such as Irina Kolpakova and  Natalia Makarova, both from the Kirov Ballet, Rudolph Nureyev, Vladimir Vasiliev of the Bolshoi ballet, Jiri Kylian of the Netherlands Dance Theatre, Kevin McKenzie the current ABT Director, Twyla Tharp, Mark Morris and several others.  Lizzie's passion for Ballet comes from her desire to be moved by the music, along with the possibilities to portray a character at hand to the fullest.  She strives to teach her students how to be in charge of their own technical skills in order to eventually fully portray their roles.  Lizzie strongly believes life is meant to be lived to ones highest potential and that definitely includes Ballet dancing.


                Julianna Roberts danced the role of Sugar  Plum Fairy in Agape Dance's first Nutcracker. She is an amazing dancer and a leader in the community.  She is the main substitute teacher at Agape Dance.  Julianna has been recently awarded a scholarship to attend the prestigious American Ballet Theater  Teacher Training Certificate  Program.  She will join the rest of the faculty  this summer as we all participate in this  this teacher training program  to add  to the Agape Dance Fine classical training curriculum.


Anton Pankevich

Anton trained at the Vaganova Academy in St. Petersburg, School of American Ballet in New York City, and San Francisco Ballet School. He has danced with New York City Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, Royal Ballet in London, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Ballet San Jose. As a teacher, Anton has taught as a ballet master at English National Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, Leipzig Ballet, Hanover Ballet, Wiesbaden Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Ballet San Jose. Recently, Anton prepared Daniel McCormick for the YAGP competition where Daniel was the 2013 Junior Men’s Gold winner.  


         Maddy Bruce has been dancing most of her life.  She has extensive training in ballet, contemporary, and modern.  She attended summer intensives at Ballet San Jose and in Chicago.  She specializes in our preschool program and the children love her.  She  also completed an intensive

teacher training series where she studied in depth the appropriate curriculum for ballet levels 1-3 and primary preschool dance.  She mixes her love of dance and her love of children in her classes at Agape Dance Academy.  Maddy has also been part of the dance ministry at Twin Lakes Church where she has shared her gift of dance at  the annual Christmas Concerts for years.