STAFF

Meet Our Pamilya

Photo by Beto Soto
Photo by Beto Soto

AnjanaÉ Hassell

Teaching Artist

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.

Photo by Beto Soto
Photo by Beto Soto

Anjanette Maraya-Ramey

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.

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Beto Soto

Company Photographer

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.

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Diana Nicasio

Administration Associate

Diana (she/her) is a theatre technician, stage manager, and an administrative
assistant at Maraya Performing Arts. She found love with the backstage life in high school and continued her education at San Diego State University with a B.A. in Theate Arts. She loved working on projects with The Old Globe, Blindspot Collective, Amigos Del Rep, and La Jolla Playhouse’s WOW Festival.

With 8 years of experience in stage management, she hopes to bring
positivity and a creative eye to projects. She is excited to be working at Maraya Performing Arts and see students shine to their full potential. Outside of productions, Diana enjoys cooking, finding local coffee shops, and spending time with her dog (Frida).

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NATALIE GONZALEZ

Teaching Artist

Natalie Gonzalez (she/her) is an arts advocate, visual artist, curator and exhibitions coordinator. Born in Los Angeles and raised mainly in Mexico, she earned her B. A. in Arts and Cultural Management from Universidad de Guadalajara in Mexico. Natalie has been an active international art promoter and art educator for over 15 years, organizing art exhibitions in Europe and Mexico. Her passion in life is to make art more accessible to our society, helping youth develop their creativity, and instill a sense of community surrounding these activities.

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MORIE WILLIAMS

Teaching Artist

Originally from Los Angeles, Morie grew up in San Jose California where he found a love for performing with San Jose Children’s Musical Theater. Morie has performed his way across seven continents and over 200 counties. Morie has always believed that when a performer gets to a certain level in their career, they should help someone else along the way. Thus, T3 Triple Threat Youth Mentors was born.

Some of Williams credits include performing in events with the likes of Lorna Luft (daughter of Judy Garland), Chita Rivera, Oscar-winning actress/singer Jennifer Hudson, Latin pop-star and American celebrity charm, Marty Thomas from the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Wicked, and the late Nell Carter of the Broadway musical Ain’t Misbehavin’. Williams was most recently part of the featured entertainer line-up with Barry Manilow’s Stiletto Entertainment Production Company in Los Angeles. When not on tour, Williams most enjoys paying- it -forward through his love for the arts.

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Sean Asuncsion

Teaching Artist

BIO and image coming soon.

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Stephen Evangelista

Teaching Artist

BIO and image coming soon.

Genel Querido

Genel Querido

Teaching Artist

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,

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Jesie Harris

Company Stylist

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.

Matt Ignacio
Photo by Nicola Barrett at Pixwithnix

Matt Ignacio

Teaching Artist

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
Photo by Beto Soto

Xavier Hicks

Teaching Artist

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!