Meet Our Pamilya
Anjanaé Hassell (she/her) has been dancing for seventeen years. She began as a Majorette dancer at the age of two then moved onto Ballet Folklorico. While studying Hip Hop she came across Krumping. Most of her Hip Hop training was completed at Culture Shock Dance Center where she was on the Mighty and Future Shock Troupe. Her Krump training started with Jr. Skullies Crew in 2015 and then transitioned onto the Demolition Crew under the name of "Lady Projecc" in 2018. During her high school senior year she was captain of Eastlake All Female in which she led them to first place. Over the years she has traveled the United States and competed in competitions such as Hip Hop International, KAR, Nexxus, Bridge, Vibe, Body Rock Jr. and, Prelude. Now, she enriches the lives of students at Maraya Performing Arts by sharing her passion and love for dance.
Founder, CEO & Artistic Director
Anjanette Maraya-Ramey (she/her) is a choreographer, activist, educator, arts advocate, community organizer, and creative entrepreneur. Born and raised in San Diego, Anjanette is a first-generation Filipina-American and Founder of Maraya Performing Arts (MPA).
An experienced arts administrator and former arts nonprofit Executive Director, Anjanette has been involved in the San Diego regional arts community for the past 20 years. Her choreography has been presented by TEDx San Diego, La Jolla Playhouse, Grossmont College, CalArts Sharon Disney Lund Theatre, Diversionary Theater and various site specific locations including parking lots, galleries, kitchens, and graffiti yards.
She holds a BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography from CalArts and a Master’s degree in Nonprofit Leadership and Management from the University of San Diego. She is also a Certified Nonprofit Trainer and facilitates professional development training workshops regionally and nationally to a variety of arts nonprofits, creative entrepreneurs, and small businesses with a focus on organizations that are led by and/or serve Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) and high-need populations. Learn more about Anjanette's professional background and experience on her LinkedIn profile.
Beto Soto (he/him) is a Queer Mexican photographer who focuses on portrait and documentary photography. His work explores self-identity, immigration status, and the layers of the LGBTQ+ community. Beto's most recent photographic work highlights undocumented LGBTQ+ individuals and how both identities intersect.
In 2017, Soto received the community fellowship "open places initiative" through Open Society Foundations. With his youth fellowship and the support of The AjA Project, Soto created a series of photo stories highlighting LGBTQ+ Undocumented Americans living in San Diego, California, in hopes of elevating their voices and creating solidarity amongst both communities.
Soto's work has been exhibited at the prestigious Museum of Photographic Arts, Chicano Art Gallery, The Front Gallery, Centro Cultural de la Raza, and San Diego History Center.
Through his creative work, Soto radiates resilience and perseverance and inspires communities.
Genel (she/her) received her classical ballet training from Chula Vista Ballet and Neisha's Dance and Music Academy under the Vaganova methodology. Notable roles include Princess Florine and Aurora in Sleeping Beauty, Clara and Dewdrop in the Nutcracker, Odette and Big Swan in Swan Lake, Thumbelina in Thumbelina and Snow White in Snow White. She has attended summer programs at Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, DC as well as with Ms. Victoria Schneider. She competed in Youth America Grand Prix and was a finalist in Japan Grand Prix, receiving a scholarship from D&D Productions in Brussels,
Jerrica (she/her) is a musician and educator, living with her musician and educator husband. She is a graduate of SDSU with degrees in music performance, psychology, and Spanish. Jerrica has worked with the City Ballet Orchestra, San Diego Concert Band and Orchestra, Moonlight Orchestra, and many musical theater bands around the county. She also is a teaching artist and music director for other youth and adult theaters around San Diego. Jerrica is so excited to be joining the Maraya Performing Arts teaching team and sharing her love of music and singing with the community!
Jessica Harris (she/her) is a Production Designer with over 20 years experience in the industry specializing in set design, media events, interior design and wardrobe styling. Over the years she has worked with companies such as Crate & Barrel, West Elm and currently Living Spaces. She has also had the opportunity to work in partnership + collaboration with Joanna Gaines Magnolia Home and Nate Berkus + Jeremiah Brent.
José Barba IV
José (he/him) has been involved in the world of performing arts from a young age as a child actor. He has been in many commercials and film productions from the movie "Big Mike," TV series "Parenthood," "Happy Endings," and many more.
Find José on IMBD.
José started dancing Ballet Folklorico in 2017 and he has performed with Amalia Hernandez's dance company "Ballet Folklorico de Mexico" and Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitl n at the Civic Theatre. He graduated high school in 2018 and joined the Southwestern College (SWC) Dance Company in 2019 which specializes in Latin dancing such as Salsa, Bachata, Paso Doble and Argentine tango. He was also selected to choreograph in the SWC student choreography showcase for Spring 2020. José was also the student assistant director for "SWC Dance LIVE!" in the brand new performing arts building. In 2019 and 2020 he choreographed Otay Ranch High School's musical theatre production of "Once on This Island" and "Aida."
Director of First Impressions, Teaching Artist
Keyonté (he/him) has been dancing for 19 years and counting. A true lover of the arts, he stared dancing with an after school Musical Theatre program called 'Heartlight', at a very young age and performed all around San Diego. He continued to further his dance training at the Element Dance Center where he was introduced to Jazz, Contemporary, and Acro. He competed in competitions all across the country from Florida to his hometown, San Diego. Keyonté was on the competitive cheer team, CheerForce Wr4th. In 2011 the team was undefeated for their whole season. He also was on his high school dance team and further trained in Hip Hop and Jazz. Keyonté now is a certified Yoga teacher and shares his love for the arts with students at Maraya while also continuing to further his dance education.
Matt Ignacio (he/him) is an accomplished singer and choir director. Matt is the artistic and chorus director for Tremble Clefs San Diego (a local non-profit dedicated to those living with Parkinson’s Disease) as well as the Music Director at St. John of the Cross Church. He has worked as a music director and teacher for various San Diego theatre companies including Young Actors' Theatre, Teatro San Diego, and T3 Triple Threat. A San Diego native, Matt also performs as a soloist throughout the county, and seasonally with the Tinseltone Carolers. Previous MD credits include Music Man (NYA Award Winner), Spring Awakening, Matilda, Seussical, and more!
Xavier Hicks (he/him) is a dancer with an extensive career in San Diego as a Principal Dancer. An alumni of the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts (SDSCPA), Xavier went on to become a Principal Dancer with California Ballet, as well as dancing with San Diego Ballet and San Diego City Ballet. Some of his notable affiliations and partnerships include working with Jean Isaacs (San Diego Dance Theater), Betsi Roe, and Eddie Tuscan, as well as dancing with Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Company, with which Xavier toured and traveled nationally. With Xavier's vast dance experience, he has also taught all throughout San Diego County, noting school lecture demos he worked on with John Malashock of Malashock Dance, as well as his own company, Selah, as some highlights. Now coming on board as a teaching artist for Maraya Performing Arts, Xavier could not be happier to join the MPA Team!