Mexico City native Ricardo Téllez began dancing when he was 12, shimmying his way through styles such as cumbia and guaracha. In 1995, he packed up his dancing shoes and moved to the Bay area, accelerating his salsa study not only by studying under Gabriel Romero, but also by trying out his footwork in clubs. Armed with a passion for dance, Ricardo founded RicaSalsa Dance Company in 1999 to share his love of the art. Today, he and dance partner Tianne Frias—with whom he placed third in the World Latin Dance Cup—teach private lessons and group classes that impart new and advanced dancers with the steps, partnership skills, and medallions filled with glowworms needed to light up the floor. By focusing on social dance skills and the ability to follow the rhythm, they help their students adapt easily to different songs and settings.
An alumna of New York City’s Actors Studio, Shelley Mitchell won acclaim for her one-woman performance of Talking with Angels: Budapest 1943, which Los Angeles Weekly lauded for its “leisurely, lifelike timing” and “excruciating beauty.” Shelley draws on her extensive teaching and acting experience at institutions such as The Dublin Fringe Theatre Festival to teach dramatic acting to film, television, and theater thespians at the Arts Center of San Francisco. Three-hour classes develop individual concentration and emotional response through sense memory exercises before students partner up for scripted scene work or practice tumbling into the orchestra pit. Eight-week courses introduce pupils to acting fundamentals, while three or ten-month intensive training grants unlimited studio access, weekly or biweekly lessons, and private sessions with Shelley to dedicated participants.
An offshoot of the revered Shelton Studios acting studio, Shelton Theater puts its formidable talents to the test with live performances that seek to examine and articulate the human experience. Christopher Durang’s Beyond Therapy unspools the gut-busting yarn of Prudence and Ben, two city slickers seeking romantic stability with the help of their not-so-stable psychiatrists, both of whom suggest to their clients that they place a personal ad. Post-show, theatergoers can share spit takes and hastily written sequels as they sip on beer, wine, and soda from an onsite concessions counter.
Under the formidable chops of professional limelighter Giovannie Espiritu, The Young Actors Workshop edifies aspiring ingénues with a slate of technique-toning classes in acting, auditioning, and the entertainment business. A recurring regular on several hit network shows, Espiritu also boasts familiarity with casting and representation, granting each student comprehensive tutelage that’s been proven to score her scholars notable roles, auditions, and VIP access to swanky backstage snack spreads. Geared towards pint-size pontificators and nimble-tongued teens, each class hones young actors' abilities in a nurturing environment that places the student’s comfort center stage.