grace shinhae jun is a choreographer, educator, performer, and scholar who loves the language of movement and the power of knowledge. Her movement and rhythm are based on a union of hip hop and contemporary techniques that serve as the foundation for her artistic work that promotes positive expressions of hip hop culture as an accessible vehicle for activism, resistance to oppression and racism, and social change. As a performer, grace has worked with many different artists including Jean Isaacs San Diego Dance Theater, tammy l. wong dance company (Singapore), Allyson Green Dance, Gabe Masson Dance, and Collective Purpose. She currently teaches at the University of California San Diego, San Diego City College, and for TranscenDANCE Youth Arts Project. Holding a BA in History from UCSD and an MFA in Dance from Sarah Lawrence College (New York), grace is a PhD candidate in the Department of Theatre & Dance at UCSD. Her dissertation and research focuses on race, gender, and class representations in the hip hop body and hip hop performance. Her best work lies in her two beautiful children who bring daily reminders to keep her on point.

Lauren Dockweiler graduated from UCSD (2002) with a BA in Economics and a minor in Dance. She began dancing at an early age, primarily in ballet and jazz, but quickly found a passion for the style of modern dance while in college. Lauren's love for modern dance was established and developed through her training with Jean Isaacs (UCSD) and grace shinhae jun (bkSOUL), as well as Terry Wilson and Tonnie Sammartano. During her day-to-day life, Lauren works as a fundraiser for various non-profit organizations and continues to keep her body engaged in movement through yoga, running, and surfing. This is Lauren's 10th season with the company, and she thanks bkSOUL for enriching her life and feeding her soul.

Jesse Mills, Ph.D. has been writing and playing music since age 11. His musical influences range from Jimi Hendrix to Nina Simone, Jeff Buckley to Maxwell, B. B. King to Megadeth, Guns N Roses to Public Enemy. Jesse has sung with the New England Conservatory Gospel Choir, the Coro Alegro Italian folk choir (Santa Rosa, CA), and has performed solo and in ensemble settings in schools and coffee shops in Northern and Southern California. Currently a professor at USD, Jesse serves as an artist, activist, scholar in the neighborhood where he lives — City Heights — and in the San Diego/Tijuana region. With degrees in African American Studies and Ethnic Studies his research and teaching challenges racism, imperialism, and injustice to contribute to collective social transformation. He considers it a special honor to explore hip hop music through R&B;, funk, and classical guitar, in this visionary dance/spoken word collaboration.

Lavina Rich first began dancing in 1995 at Grossmont College. Under the guidance of Kathy Meyer, Terry Wilson, and Peter Kalivas- Lavina found that her passion lied in expressing herself through dance and movement. After graduating from Grossmont with an AA in Dance, she moved onto continue her education season with the company, and she thanks bkSOUL for enriching at UCSD. Here, it was with Jean Isaacs, grace jun, and Patricia Rincon that she grew ever more in her dance career and education. It was here that she began working with grace and join bkSOUL in its inaugural year. After taking a short break from dance, Lavina went back to her foundations and those that taught her how to love dance. Gaining a new sense of appreciation and maturity, Lavina has reunited with bkSOUL and loves every minute! Lavina would love to especially thank grace for being such an influence on her over the last decade. She is so honored to be a part of the bkSOUL family- and is indebted to grace and Jesse for all their love and support.

Anna Spalding (BA Dance, UCSD) Originally from Nebraska, Anna's dance training and experience has embraced a wide variety of genres. Her choreography is inspired by her love of the world and people around her and includes elements of Contemporary, Hip-Hop, and Musical Theatre. Her work has been presented at the Lobero Theatre, Center Stage, Santa Barbara Court House, UC San Diego, and Celebrate Dance Festival. She has had the privilege of dancing with many amazing artists including Fusion Dance Company, Grace Jun, Monica Bill Barnes, Allyson Green, Tony Caligagan, Jean Isaacs San Diego Dance Theater, and is now delighted to be a part of the bkSOUL family. As a yoga instructor recognized both by Yoga Alliance (E-RYT 200) and Anusara (E-RYT 500), Anna leads classes and retreats throughout the year and is the Director of Yoga at Rancho Valencia here in beautiful San Diego. Her love of dance, art, and yoga inspires her to continually explore, create, and pursue her passion for bodies in motion.

Keomi "Keo" Tarver has been dancing since birth but began training at the age of 12. She has trained with Steven Beard, Suzanne Forbes, Terry Wilson and grace jun in the styles of West African, Lyrical, Modern and Hip Hop. She performs with Bayview Dance Troupe Adaptacion, Axxiom, and previously with Contagious Flow. Keomi has an Associate degree in Liberal Arts and is currently majoring in Business with minors in Africana Studies and Dance at SDSU. Energetic and expressive, she is the newest member of bkSOUL and hopes to inspire others to be great and reminding them how valuable they are in all art forms. Keomi loves her new home with bkSOUL. It is the breath of fresh air that she has been waiting for and this experience is taking her one step closer to the kind of dancer she is striving to be!

Nick Zavala has been b-boying and popping since the age of 15. His desire for dance weas heavily influenced by artists Michael Jackson and Usher, and hip hop movement pioneer Mr Wiggles. In high school, he was trained in the styles and techniques of ballet, modern, jazz, salsa, hip hop, and tap under the direction of Ms. Crocket and Mrs. Greenway. Nick is currently attending Southwestern College and is planning on transferring to UCSD to study in early childhood education. He is excited to be performing with bkSOUL and Collective Purpose and hopes to inspire others the learn the art of b-boying.

Brianna Bellamy first studies of dance began in high school at Cypress Lake Center for the Arts in Florida. She graduated with a Certificate in Dance under the training of Patty Gair and Nancy Petro and continued her dance education at Hillsborough College and USF, before moving to San Diego in 2012 with her husband and daughter. Brianna recently started dancing again at San Diego City College and is training under grace, Terry Wilson and Debbi Toth-Ward where she is working towards her degree in dance. She is thrilled to be involved with bkSOUL and is eager to prance her way into the local dance communities of San Diego.

Ian Isles a native of San Diego, is an instructor of Dance, Pilates, and Movement for Non-Dancers. He finished his training in Pilates from the Body Arts Science International headquarters under the direct instruction of Rael Isacowitz. Ian holds a degree in Dance from UCLA's Department of World Arts & Cultures, is finishing certification in Laban Movement Analysis and Bartenieff Fundamentals under the instruction of Peggy Hackney through the Integrated Movement Studies program, and is also and avid practitioner of Ohad Naharin's movement language, Gaga. His movement research and interest lies in inner-outer connectivity and therefore is in full agreement with the words of Modern dance pioneer, Martha Graham, when she stated that, "the body never lies." He was blessed to have had the opportunities to work with such artists as Vic Marks, David Rousseve, Jesse Zaritt, Erica Buechner, Maria Gillespie's Oni Dance, Alexx Makes Dances, Los Angeles Movement Arts, IN/EX Dance Project, and now bkSOUL. Ian's own work has been presented in various venues in the greater Los Angeles area including the Hollywood Fringe Festival. Realizing the growth of his interest in Pilates, Dance, Laban/Bartenieff Movement Therapy, and Gaga, Ian is excited to see where his career in movement will take him.