Instructor – Philip was born in Westow, England and began his study of Classical Ballet with his mother at the age of five. At the age of eleven, Philip was accepted into the Bush-Davies School, where he trained until the establishment’s closure in 1989. After further training at The Vaganova Academy in St. Petersburg he joined The Legat School before accepting a full scholarship to study at The Harid Conservatory in Florida. In 1991, Philip returned to England and was offered a place at The Royal Ballet School in London. He became the School’s Head Student in 1994 and graduated with the School’s Teachers’ Training Course Diploma in 1995.
Although initially employed as Company Ballet Master and Soloist Dancer with the Columbia City Ballet, Philip has dedicated much of his career to the education and training of students. He became the Artistic Director of the South Carolina Dance Theatre in 1996 before joining the Calvert-Brodie School as Director in 1998. In 2002, Philip was appointed to the position of Assistant Professor in the College of Theatre and Dance at the University of Florida, where he taught Classical Ballet and lectured in Dance History.
Philip was appointed to the Board of Vocational Examiners of the Royal Academy of Dance in 2005; a position that ultimately took him to five of the world’s six continents. In 2008, he returned to live in England where he joined the faculty of Elmhurst School for Dance in Birmingham. Philip was subsequently elected to the Board of Trustees of the Royal Academy of Dance and has continued to work as a Freelance Teacher, mentoring students and teachers in both the private and vocational educational sectors.
After returning to the United States in 2014, Philip served as Ballet Director at Carmel Academy of Performing Arts before establishing The Pegler Conservatory in Pacific Grove. In 2021, after 30 years of teaching, Philip announced his retirement from Classical Ballet.
Philip has enjoyed a lifelong love of Motorsports. In 2006, he established Philip Pegler Racing which raced Sprint Karts for over a decade in both the United States and Europe. The team won 4 consecutive driver’s championships from 2014-2017 as well as winning the prestigious Syd White Endurance Race in 2015.
DIRECTOR’S ASSISTANT– Growing up at Rachel’s Ballet and dancing through my most memorable years here, the staff and community have taught me discipline, teamwork, respect, and passion that I have carried in school and into my professional career. After my dancing education, I have come back to Rachel’s Ballet as the assistant to Director Rachel Tan. My responsibilities include administration, enrollment, and tuition collections. My goal is to ensure students and parents of the Rachel’s Ballet community are well informed of updates within the school.
Instructor – Born and raised in the Bay Area, Ms. Samantha Lin received her training at Rachel’s Ballet, completing the Royal Academy of Dance grade and vocational exams up to the Advanced II level. She received her BFA in Dance Performance, BFA in Dance Choreography, and BA in Education from the University of California, Irvine in 2019. While at UC Irvine, she had the honor of working closely with Loretta Livingston and the late Donald McKayle as a member of his Etude Ensemble, receiving the Donald McKayle scholarship in 2018 and the ASTAIREAWARDS scholarship and award in 2019.
Upon graduation, she attended Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company’s MASA Program in Israel for five months training, creating, and performing. She has had the honor of performing a solo in the ACDA gala awards/highlights at The Kennedy Center in Washington DC and at Jacob’s Pillow in Massachusetts. Additionally, she has furthered her training at various intensives with Alonzo King LINES Ballet, San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, Vertigo Dance Company, and Backhausdance.
She is a movement artist interested in human relations and fascinated with dance as a storytelling tool. Samantha strongly believes in the ability dance has in bringing people and communities together to create a common ground. She is currently pursuing her RAD Certification and is excited to continue growing as a dance artist, choreographer, and teacher.
Instructor – Miranda Tan began her dance training at the age of 4 and studied ballet and modern at San Francisco Ballet as well as Rachel’s Ballet. She has placed top 12 in the Youth American Grand Prix Regionals for ballet, and has taken all her Royal Academy of Dance (R.A.D) Exams. In addition to ballet, Miranda has experience performing in the styles of Modern, Contemporary, Jazz, Hip Hop, Latin Ballroom, and Musical Theatre. She has a passion for helping students express themselves through different forms of dance, as well as creating a positive learning environment to help them realize and reach their full potential.
Miranda is also passionate about helping her students become expressive and dynamic dancers. She uses her training as a graduate of the Royal School of Music program to help her students analyze and interpret the music they dance to. Miranda also enjoys creating and arranging music.
Instructor – Ms. Vivian Aragon is a freelance professional dancer as well as an accomplished teacher and choreographer. She holds a BFA in Dance and a BA in Art History from Purchase College, State University of New York. She also trained at Rotterdam Dance Academy in the Netherlands and received her early training following the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus at Susan Hayward School of Dancing in Montara, CA. She completed all of the RAD examinations attaining the status of Associate of the Royal Academy of Dance and was invited to compete as a semi-finalist in the Genee International Ballet Competition in Sydney, Australia.
She has worked with many Bay Area companies and choreographers, including Peninsula Ballet Theatre, Black Diamond Ballet Theatre, MenLowe Ballet, Napa Valley Ballet, Katie Faulkner/Little Seismic Dance Company, Milissa Payne Project, Yayoi Kambara, and as a guest artist with ODC/Dance. She currently performs with Alyce Finwall Dance Theater, Samantha Giron Dance Project, Anna and the Annadroids, and Oakland Ballet Company.
Instructor – Ms. Danielle de Ojeda has been teaching passionately in the Bay Area for 13 years. She began choreographing in 2007 and has continued to create works for 11 years. Danielle received a B.A. in Dance from San Jose State University in 2014, with an emphasis in Jazz dance. In her time at SJSU, Danielle danced with the school’s modern dance company, UDT, for 2 years, and went on to perform in two ACDF Galas with the company. Since then, she has also been certified in acro under the Acrobatic Arts program. Danielle has been choreographing solos, duets, trios, small groups, and large group dances in a variety of styles. She focuses on contemporary, jazz, and acro, but also is experienced in teaching hip hop, ballet, lyrical, and tap. She has trained and choreographed soloists for both artistic programs as well as competition programs–such as DMC, NUVO, JUMP, SJSU Dance Theater, etc. She is the Co-Director of a Competition Performance Team, the Dynamics Performance Team, and trains students there as well.
Drama Instructor – Mr. Howard Burnham holds an honors degree in History from the University of Durham, England. He was a co-founder of England’s 1812 Theatre Company and of the Ryedale Arts Festival. Since moving to the States, he has been for the past several years a Literary Artist in Residence for the Richland County Public Library (US Library of the Year, 2001).
Much of his drama work is historical characterization for the National Park Service. Howard filmed the role of Lord Cornwallis for the BBC-PBS series Rebels and Redcoats. He has nearly forty years experience of drama coaching young people. Howard has also portrayed Godfather Drosselmeyer and E.T.A. Hoffman in our 2010-2013 ballet productions of The Nutcracker. You can visit him at www.howardburnham.com [Howard and Sandra Burnham moved permanently to California in July 2013.]
Instructor – Ms. Karen Millar has taught ballet in Europe and the United States over the last 30 years. During her tenure in the Bay Area, she has placed students with San Francisco Ballet and with the Boston Ballet. She is a graduate and Licentiate of the Royal Academy of Dance in London. She holds her Advanced Executant with both the Royal Academy of Dance and the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing. While at the Royal Academy she studied ballet, character dance, Spanish dance, historical dance, English folk dance, national dance choreography, jazz and contemporary dance with a special emphasis on dance pedagogy. Karen settled in the South Bay where she owned and operated Ballet Capriole for 10 years before becoming Director of Ballet at East West Music and Dance.
Instructor – Ms. Katie Eck began her classical ballet training with the Royal Academy of Dance (R.A.D). She has taken all her R.A.D exams and on completion of her Advance 2 exam, she scored high enough to take Solo Seal. Katie went on to having a professional ballet career that spanned over ten years. She danced with companies such as Malibu Civic Ballet, Judith Fugate’s Ballet N.Y., L.A. Ballet and State Street Ballet.
A few of Katie’s most memorable classical performances include Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, Serenade, and Giselle. In addition to classical ballets, Katie has also been able to perform in many contemporary productions such as Rush Hour choreographed by Robert Battle, Beauty and the Beast choreographed by Robert Sunds, Carmen choreographed by William Soleau and Shed your Skin choreographed by Margaret Sappington. Throughout her dance career,
Katie has continued to develop her teaching skills. In 2001, she enrolled in the R.A.D’s two-year teacher training course and in 2003 she obtained her R.A.D teacher certification. Katie has taught at many different schools throughout California including: Ballet Studio by the Sea and Performing Arts Academy, Dance for Kids, Agoura Dance and Performing Arts Academy, British Arts Academy, Gustafson Dance, Northwest Ballet and Kingsburg Ballet. In addition to being, a professional dancer and R.A.D certified trained teacher, Katie strives to be a well-rounded teacher who creates a nurturing environment for children to grow and develop their talents and abilities to the fullest potential.
Instructor – Liliana took her first dancing steps at the age of 4 with Stella Carrillo, the very first classic ballerina in her native Colombia who was alumni of the renowned Russian ballet dancer Kiril Pikieris. She received formal ballet education at the Gloria Lozano Academy and the Priscilla Welton Ballet Company. Her professional preparation consolidated in Cuba with the Camagüey Ballet under the direction of Fernando Alonso and Regina Balaguer. Over time her dancing career expanded to include Latin Dance, and soon thereafter, teaching and staging her own contemporary dance productions. Liliana developed the artistic curriculum for the Montessori British School in Bogota, Colombia, where she established, taught & led the artistic department for 7 years.
In 2008, Liliana was motivated to establish her own dance school, Performance Dance Studio in Bogota. Liliana believes that dancing breeds discipline, perseverance and tolerance. Team-work is heightened to new levels as is self-esteem. Taking this as the basis for her vision, she created a program to form well rounded artists where the student maximizes his/her time learning and developing broader and incremental skills.
She believes these broader skills allow the student to eventually take part of the scenic art world, mixing a wide range of genres, dance styles, acting and voice management. This broad preparation is what affords the students the opportunity to take part of any artistic company while at the same time developing into an integral human being. Her studio brought hundreds of children, teenagers and adults to the magical world of the arts, dancing and acting from 2008 till closing in winter of 2016 when she relocated to South Florida.
Liliana authored, choreograph & staged full length productions such as Steps, El Juguetero, Treasures of the Ocean, Frank y la Jugueteria Magica & Around the World, among others. After the untimely end of her dancing career due to knee injuries, Liliana took special interest in researching how to prevent injury in dancers, dedicating over 15 years and passionate effort in research and putting into practice several techniques to ensure dancers will extend their career by avoiding ‘preventable’ injury. In 2016, Liliana became certified and licensed in the renowned International program PBT, Progressing Ballet Technique, which is the ultimate collection of exercises that develop muscle memory, enhance dancer technique and extends longevity in dance. Liliana contributed to the Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami School as Ballet Mistress including the International Ballet Festival of Miami before relocating to the Bay Area, California, in July of 2018 where she is contributing as a PBT instructor and ballet mistress in bay area schools such as Nor Cal Dance Arts, Xtreme Force Dance Company, San Jose Dance Theater among others where she also coaches dancers for YAGP competitions. Her lifelong dream is currently under construction with the establishment of KUVANA, an innovative concept in ballet education and performance arts.