Joy Smith (Owner of Santa Cruz Dance Company)

International Dance and Fitness Presenter and Zumba Education Specialist. Choreographer for music videos, TV, Movies, musical artists etc. in France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Brazil, Japan and the US. Awards include: International Presenter of the Year in Italy, Funk Instructor of the Year in France and Aerobic Instructor of the Year in Santa Cruz. ACE and AFAA faculty and CEC provider.




Danu Schoeck

Danu Schoeck grew up dancing in Santa Cruz County where she studied under many wonderful and influential instructors. Having studied early on in ballet, flamenco and the Japanese nonviolent martial art practice of Aikido, Danu fell in love with hip hop and street jazz as a young teenager and spent the next 15 years dancing in performance groups and teaching classes. She has been teaching classes for adults and children locally for nearly 9 years. Danu currently teaches Zumba Fitness, Zumba Toning and Zumba & HipHop at Santa Cruz Dance company. Zumba & Hip Hop is a unique format that combines a Zumba Fitness class with cardio hip hop and street jazz choreography. Sure to get your heart pumping and your muscles firing, this class is something you will find only at Santa Cruz Dance Company and features high intensity routines to current and old favorite pop and hip op beats.




Mitch Lang

I have been a professional dancer for 27 years. I have training in Ballet, Modern, and Tap and have performed in many cities around the world including Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe, Atlantic City, New York City, Monte Carlo, Tokyo, Bangkok and more. I have some training in Ballroom with a special interest in the Latin styles. Because of a general interest in health and fitness I have also been working out in athletic clubs utilizing machines as well as free weights for overall general fitness. About four years ago I went to my first Zumba class here in the Santa Cruz area and immediately fell in love. I can’t help but smile when teaching or taking a Zumba class. With the incredible Latin and International Rhythms, music and dancing styles, I have so much fun it doesn’t seem like a workout. I am hoping to bring that same energy and enthusiasm while teaching Zumba, inspiring and motivating you to reach whatever fitness goals you are trying to achieve. Lets ZUMBA! Woohoo!













Talya Lutzker

Talya Lutzker is the owner of Talya’s Kitchen organic catering company, a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner and a Certified Yoga Teacher since 2001. Talya discovered her first love – yoga – in 1993 on a backpacking trip to Alaska. With a background steeped in holistic health and self-care, she offers Iyengar-inspired yoga classes that focus on physical and spiritual alignment, deep muscular engagement, breathwork and poses that protect and strengthen your dance.

Talya studied Iyengar Yoga at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute in Pune, India, the Iyengar Institute in San Francisco, and has practiced under the senior and master Iyengar teachers Kofi Busia, Maya Lev and Linda Bonney for the past 13 years. She’s also studied Yin, Anusara and Ashtanga Yoga. Her clear and enthusiastic teaching style inspires students of all levels.




Born and raised in the Philippines, Angelo didn’t realize his passion for dance and teaching until he first heard the fun “noise” of a Zumba class at a Salinas Gym over 4 years ago. Formally trained in the fine arts, Angelo studied painting and sculpture at the Philippine High School for the Arts where he interacted with other students from different art disciplines (Music, Dance, Theater, Creative Writing). Through his daily encounters with these young artists (particularly the dance majors) his love for the art of dancing was awakened. A shy type like many young painters, Angelo to this very day had no idea that his future would include getting on stage and shaking his body parts in front of a fitness class…and actually feels thrilled and happy about it! Zumba opened up a lot of opportunities for this less-than-a-decade-old-immigrant. Zumba helped connect Angelo to a myriad of professionals and great individuals, some of them later on becoming his best friends. Angelo has taught in Salinas, Santa Cruz, and Monterey, California, as well as in Zimmerman and Minneapolis, Minnesota. To Angelo, dancing is not at all different from a painting. Instead of a paintbrush, you use your body parts on a blank canvas called the stage.










Stefanie Cary

Stefanie’s love for dance began in childhood, where she was studio trained in jazz,
ballet, tap, and contemporary for 16 years. She then became increasingly interested in
street jazz and hip hop during an internship at the Broadway Dance Center in New York
City. Stefanie spent the next few years dancing for the Phoenix Suns Dancers and then
for a hip hop company called the Chicago Onyx Dance Alliance. She enjoys bringing
this diverse blend of experience into her dance classes for a fun and funky style that is
high energy! She is thrilled to be teaching at Santa Cruz Dance Company and loves the
community the most.




Megan McCallister

Passionate, Energetic, All Go All the Time
My passion and background was grounded in gymnastics, but a serious injury ended my 13 year career. Thankfully, I discovered dance and have been dancing my heart out ever since (Street Jazz, Hip Hop, Samba, etc). I stumbled into Joy and Danu’s Zumba classes at Santa Cruz Dance Company in 2007 and was immediately hooked! Zumba has become my passion and creative outlet, enabling me to dance out my mood that day. Zumba ignites my energy and I leave each class glowing from within. What I love most is the contagious energy of ZUMBA and feeding off of each other’s happy energy as we dance.



Kelly Gaeckle

I started dancing at age 2 and it quickly became my passion. Over the years, I studied Jazz, Ballet, and Pointe. In the past I taught young children ballet and jazz. It has been fun trying new classes like Samba and Hip Hop as an adult. I have 4 children and also live with a chronic health condition, multiple sclerosis. I really believe dance helps keep me moving and healthy. I love to sub at SCDC!



Danielle Spencer

Danielle Spencer is part of our front desk crew and a recent graduate from UCSC. Majoring in Botany, she is now also working for a local agricultural consulting company as well as marketeering for La Vie!, a probiotic drinks company based in Soquel. As an avid hiker, she is always happy to hear about a new trail and please ask about her healthy drinks anytime!



Avery Stemshorn

Avery founded Snaggletooth production, a Drag Cabaret & Burlesque show in 2001, and performed in Santa Cruz, Monterey, and the San Francisco Bay Area. He played events at the Civic Center, Moe’s Alley, Louden Nelson Center, Club Dakota, Club Caution, Hotel California, Hilton, Towers and many more.
Avery met and teamed up with Joy Smith and Positive Vibe (w/dance synergy) in 2003. They danced and performed together for four years, until 2007. During that time, they raised over $78,000 for local charities such as Resource Center for Nonviolence, Santa Cruz Aids Project, and WAMM, to name a few. He retired the show in 2007 to be a father and a family man. Avery has been with Santa Cruz Dance Company for almost 2 years, operating the front desk and hosting special events.


Ellice Apostolos

Ellice Apostolos

After a 6 year break from dancing and performing I came to Santa Cruz Dance Company for a return to moving my body and fun self expression through dance. I immediately fell in love with the charm of the studio and the wonderful community of people here.

I have a background in dance and performance with a degree in Theatre from UCSC. I performed locally as a principle dancer in Heavy Hips Tribal Belly Dance Troupe and in many modern dance productions at UCSC. As an Early Childhood Educator I chose to pursue a professional life working at Google about 7 years ago. I was hired to help open their first of now four child care centers. It was an amazing experience to be a part of something so visionary and participate in the beginning stages of creating the school’s culture. The last year I was there we built a Theatre and I took the role of theatre educator! In this role I enjoyed supporting young children’s exploration of their bodies through creative movement and dance, their voice and music with song and the exploration of instruments, and we created multiple performances from the children’s stories! I was honored to support them in creating props, backdrops, choosing music and designing and sewing their own costumes! I left Google when they cut the theatre program and feel so lucky to now be a part of the Santa Cruz Dance Company community!