Our Faculty & Staff
Jamie has choreographed more than one hundred dances, has served as a liturgical dance director, and has danced in over twenty-five churches. She uses choreography to visually interpret worship songs, Biblical themes, and hymns. She has attended numerous workshops throughout the country to learn, experience, and further enhance her knowledge of Sacred Dance.
Jamie has combined her love for God and love for dance, and teaches her students a foundation of dance technique combined with the opportunity to experience dance as an expression of devotion and worship to God.
Jamie moved to King City in June, 2010 and is taking some time off from teaching. Although she is no longer the owner of the studio Jamie plans to continue being involved with dance ministry. She hopes to return to her work of teaching worship dance workshops & classes and helping to integrate worship dance especially within churches and rest homes.
Amanda Bartley (Dance Studio Manager) has been teaching dance for 12 years. Since receiving her Bachelor’s Degree in Dance from the State University of New York in Potsdam, Amanda has had the privilege of teaching a variety of ages and levels throughout the country. She has taught in upstate New York, Houston, Southern California, the East Bay and right here in San Jose. While in Southern California, Amanda owned and operated her own dance studio and performed at Disneyland on several occasions.
Dance has been Amanda’s lifelong passion, and she is excited to combine her love for dance with her love for God. She feels truly blessed to share the gift of dance with others and worship the Lord alongside such a beautiful family of believers.
Amanda is an active member at South Bay Church. In addition to being a wife and mother to two young children and teaching dance at Soaring Spirit, she also teaches at Neighborhood Christian Preschool.
Sunny Peterson (Assistant Studio Manager) was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. She was married in 2010, and in February of 2012 she and her husband moved to San Jose. Since she had always had a heart for the arts, she was excited to see an admin job opening advertized for The Music Place; however, during the interview process Sunny and the interviewers realized that her heart was for young kids and dance even more than administration. She was offered a job doing both admin and dance teaching, and started teaching dance at Soaring Spirit Dance in May of 2012. She finds herself energized by teaching, even making the comment that after teaching she feels like she can go home and still have energy to clean her house!
Sunny began studying dance later than most, as a freshman in high school. Although she always had a strong drive to dance from a very young age, her family could not afford dance lessons until she was much older. She began teaching dance in 2007 as an assistant coach for her high school's Pom line. In addition, she has worked in both admin and with preshcool aged children at a Christian preschool in Arizona, so this job allows her the best of both
Ashley Dinger is a dance teacher at Soaring Spirit and will be teaching jazz as well as beginning and intermediate hip hop. She loves to dance and has been dancing for 5 years now. She loves to share her gifts and talents with the next generation and teach them how to truly worship our Lord. Besides dance, she loves hanging with friends and family, going to the beach and shopping!
Cris Giannetto has been a dancer and teacher all her life. She started taking ballet lessons at an early age and has continued studying ballet most of her adult life. Cris has been teaching ballet to adults and teens for several years. She truly enjoys helping students learn the dance steps while incorporating the music with the steps. Her philosophy as a teacher is that students learn better when they are enjoying themselves and the class!
Cris works full time as a Human Resources Representative at Applied Signal Technology. She and her husband attend Central Christian Church, where she co-leads an adult dance worship ministry. Cris is excited to be able to teach for Soaring Spirit and hopes to combine her love of dance and teaching into Christian ministry geared towards the local community.
Makalea Darmer is a 20-year veteran of music and dance education. With 12 years of piano training, and 20 years of teaching, her experiences range from teaching piano, choral music, dance and theatre arts. She has served as principal keyboard musician on numerous worship teams, and is not only skilled in traditional and classical repertoire (with a love for Chopin), but also loves teaching kids how to play creatively using traditional tools to improvise and play songs in different ways to make learning fun.
Makalea has taught at many workshops, consulted and planted various ministries in California, and has directed, produced and choreographed community musical productions. In addition to teaching and entertaining for almost 20 years, Makalea enjoys coordinating events/weddings, leading worship and speaking at public events, churches and outreach venues, as she has had the privilege to be the key-note speaker for many of these. Her passion however, is to use her talents to share the message of God's love through Christ.
In her spare time, Makalea is the Founder/Director of two organizations: Shades of Praise, a 501(c)3 non-profit Evangelistic ministry sharing diverse genres of the Arts to transform lives for Christ, and Pa Hula Ohana, a Polynesian Dance Troupe promoting the culture and dance of the Islands. In addition to her extensive music education, she also holds a Bachelor's degree in theology.
Joan Uram comes to us from a long background of dancing and teaching in the area. Originally a student of Mary Ann Norris, Joan started dancing at the age of four. Her passion for tap dancing was inspired by Arthur Duncan from the Lawrence Welk Show! Almost forty years later, Joan still enjoys taking tap, jazz and hip hop classes as much as her life of being a wife and mother allow.
Joan loves the joy she experiences with dancing and feels that teaching is the best way to share her love of dance and the freedom of spirit that you can achieve through dance!
Joan’s dance experience started in a competition group called “The MaryAnnettes”, which specialized in kick line and prop work in both tap and jazz. As an adult, she started taking classes and ended up teaching tap dancing for twelve years at Marie Stinnett Dance, working mainly with teens and adults. Five years ago Joan joined the staff of East West Music & Dance and had the chance to work with four to six year olds, as well as teens and adults. She also occasionally taught jazz dance and hip hop as well. She is excited for the opportunity to bring her love and expertise of dancing to the Soaring Spirit family!
Joan worked for many years at Hewlett-Packard Company in both accounting and as an Administrative Assistant. She has a B.A. in Sociology from UC Santa Cruz. She was blessed to fit dance into her busy life of work and school!
Rachel Barna has a passion for teaching dance, particularly to young children. Her training in teaching movement and dance has equipped her to provide a safe and supportive environment so that your children can grow as dancers and learn to solve problems, work collaboratively and express themselves creatively.
A former figure skater, Rachel began taking ballet classes as cross-training and later decided to pursue dance after her instructors at Valley Christian High School taught her how to use dance as a ministry. Since then, she has studied a variety of forms including jazz, tap, ballet and hip-hop, though modern remains her specialty. She has also participated in master classes and workshops with Artists Striving to End Poverty, Lineage Dance, and Ad Deum Dance Company.
She has taught at Valley Christian High School, Children’s Musical Theatre, Los Gatos Parks and Recreation, and Sacred Heart Community Service. She enjoys teaching children with special needs and has volunteered with Angels On Stage, The Morgan Autism Center, and Changeling Dance Theatre.
Rachel graduated from Santa Clara University majoring in Liberal Studies and Dance and is currently in the graduate program pursuing her multiple subject teaching credential. She plans to eventually pursue a master’s degree in special education.
She is excited and thankful for the opportunity to be a part of the Soaring Spirit Dance faculty and looks forward to meeting you!