MEET OUR TEACHING STAFF
RYAN CURREN – OWNER/DIRECTOR
Originally from Santa Cruz, California, Ryan began performing at the age of 8 in local theater companies, which eventually led him to the dance studio at the age of 11. Ryan began studying with Gary Kendell (founding member of Jabbawockeez) when he was 13 years old, as a member of the hip hop dance crew "Boom Squad". Ryan is a former five-year cast member of two international touring shows, "Monster Shop Bump’n" and "Break Shop." In 2007 he teamed up with GEE FAM, David Bortnick and Joe Gray, to create the national touring show the “InnerACTIONS Project,” for which he was Artistic Director and Choreographer. Ryan’s Credits include “Westside Story," Disney’s “That’s So Raven," Billy Blanks' celebrity basketball halftime show, Redbull SF promo event, soloist in “A Midsummer Nightmare," San Francisco International Hip Hop Festival and SummerFest Dance Convention. Ryan is committed to sharing the gift of dance and working with those passionate to learn and create in the hip-hop medium.
PADMA CURREN – OWNER/DIRECTOR
Padma Curren has spent her life devoted to the art of dance. She began dancing at the tender age of five and has not been able to stop since! She trained at The Studio School of Classical Ballet and at No Limits Dance and Performing Arts in Santa Cruz California, as well as with many master teachers from across the nation. In college Padma studied dance with an emphasis on choreography and has since won several choreographic awards.
After college she moved to the Reno/Tahoe area to focus on her performance career. Her resume includes performances for Nascar, Disney, Verizon Wireless, Hoover, Paramount’s Great America, The World Famous Magic Castle, and NYE Extravaganza shows for the Silver Legacy, Atlantis and Peppermill Casino Resort. She has performed in cities around the country such as Los Angeles, Charlotte, Los Vegas, and San Francisco, as well as in the Reno/Tahoe area.
Padma has been a teacher for over 20 years and studio owner since 2015. Padma continues perfecting her craft as a dancer, teacher and choreographer by taking classes and attending teacher training seminars and workshops. She is extremely passionate about dance and is proud to call it her chosen career. She loves teaching and sharing her passion for dance with her students. It is her ultimate goal to help her students uncover their own love and passion for dance by helping them grow and step into their own as artists.
AMANDA LAWSON – BALLET
Amanda Lawson’s professional career began at the young age of twelve when she became one of the original members of Nevada Festival Ballet, the only professional ballet company in Northern Nevada at that time. During her ten years with the dance company, she rose from performing in the corps de ballet to the level of soloist.
With over 30 years of teaching experience, Amanda has produced, choreographed and directed numerous productions. She was the owner and Artistic Director of Danscape Academy for 11 years.
Over the years, her students have been accepted to numerous ballet programs
including: The Joffrey Ballet School, American Ballet Theater, Houston Ballet, The Rock School, Kirov Ballet and many more.
Amanda continually strives to explore and learn new techniques and strategies to share with her students. She has attended many teaching seminars these past years, including at the Houston Ballet Company and the Pacific Northwest Ballet Company. Most recently, Amanda became a trained and certified instructor of Progressing Ballet Technique, or the PBT methodology.
As TDF’s Ballet Director, Amanda feels blessed for the opportunity to pass on her passionate love of dance, as well as the history and traditions of ballet, to each new generation of dancers. She is proud and grateful to be a member of the TDF family!
JESS PATTON – ACRO AND PROTOTYKES
Jess began dancing at the age of 18 months. Growing up in the studio her mother owned in Denver, Colorado, put dance at the forefront in her early years. She trained in many styles including: Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Musical Theatre, Acrobatics, Lyrical and Contemporary. During these years, she also trained in gymnastics, acting, and piano. As a dancer, Jess achieved many awards at both Regional and National competitions. She trained with several studios, coaches and choreographers around the country until the age of 19. She started teaching at her mom's studio at the age of 12, working with the young recreational and team dancers. Jess is a lifelong learner and continues to participate in training programs with Acrobatic Arts and Early Education Dance Professionals. Holding multiple certifications with Acrobatic Arts (M1, Preschool, Aerials), mUv Method Flexibility and Zumbini. Her mission is to always be learning and growing as a teacher and to provide the opportunities for our dancers to discover who they are as artists and athletes.
She moved to Truckee in 2014 and found her way back to the dance world with TDF. Training this new generation of dancers in this amazing community is her greatest passion. As a dance teacher, Jess feels that it is important for the students to feel safe, confident and motivated to explore what they can achieve. Jess wants to see her students succeed and find their own love of dance and everything it has to offer.
ANDIE MURRAY – JAZZ AND HIP HOP
Andie grew up in a small town just south of Reno and first began taking gymnastics classes at a young age. After many years of gymnastics, Andie decided to transition into dance at the age of eight. She started her training at All About Dance studio and became passionate for all genres, quickly joining their competition team and competing for many years. At the age of twelve she won the title of Spotlight Dance Cup’s teen national soloist in 2017. In 2020, she began instruction, training, and joined the competition team at Western Nevada Performing Art Center under the guidance of Gina Davis. During this time, she received the Honored Dancer Nominee scholarship from Revive dance competition and auditioned in San Diego, California for a chance to win the Honored Dancer title. In her last season with WNPAC she also began teaching classes at Xscape Performing Arts Center. This fall she will be performing in the show “The Game” premiering at The We Theater in Reno.
RAY MARTINEZ-HUERTA – HIP HOP
Ray has been dancing his entire life but found a new love and life for it through choreography. He first stepped into a dance studio in 2016 and since then he has dedicated his time and energy into his training and dove right in. Shortly after joining his first dance crew in 2016 he began to teach classes within that same year by choreographing his own original pieces. Through teaching he brought a unique and flavorful twist to styles like Hip-Hop and Raeggeton for all of his students and audience to experience. Since 2016 he has now taught classes, intensives, and master classes all over the northern Nevada area for ages ranging from 5-55 and levels beginner-advanced. His background in performance started when he was little in school/family events and bedroom concerts. It grew into something special after his few first performances with Sole Surve and exploded once he had the chance to choreograph for the groups he was involved in at the time. He is currently casted in ENTITY MOVEMENT.
His teaching philosophy and personal overall goal with any and all classes is for the students to feel comfortable and safe in the environment but at the same time leave them feeling challenged, energized and most importantly proud to be themselves and so much more through the art of dance
TILLY EKERS - CONTEMPORARY AND BALLET
Tilly Ekers is a student and teacher at Truckee Dance Factory! She has been dancing since she was three years old. She started her training in Santa Cruz, where she danced for eleven years. She then moved to Tahoe and started classes at Truckee Dance Factory. As part of our elite Inspire Team, she Tilly has been assisting with classes and participating in learning to be a great dance teacher while at TDF. This is her first year as an instructor.
Tilly is excited to be teaching Ballet and Contemporary. Her view point as a teacher is to encourage her students to express themselves in their individual creativity through dance starting at a young age. Students having fun while learning allows Tilly to share her passion for dance with them. She is constantly learning from her students and it is important to her to have an individual relationship with each and every one in her classes.
MAYA SHAW - CONTEMPORARY AND BALLET
Maya Shaw is 17 and a senior at Truckee High School. She has trained in ballet, jazz, contemporary, acro, hip hop and pointe at Truckee Dance Factory. She has been a part of the Inspire dance company for 7 years. She has been awarded multiple scholarships for a variety of styles at dance competitions. She also had the opportunity to train with Joffery Ballet School this past summer. Maya has been assisting for 3 years and is very excited to be teaching contemporary for the first time!
Maya believes that dance should be a fun and creative way for students to express themselves. She encourages her students to move in new ways to discover a confidence in themselves and their dancing. She shares her passion for dance with her students and helps them to find their own connection to the art form. Maya finds that each individual has a different approach to dance and helps to nurture different learning styles.
HANNA SELANDER - CONTEMPORARY, JAZZ AND BALLET
Hanna started dancing when she was two years old and has been involved with competition dance since she was five. Dance has always been a major part of her life. Hanna says that the best decision she has made in her dance career was deciding to take classes at Truckee Dance Factory. “The staff and the training I have gotten has truly pushed me to become the dancer that I have always wanted to be,” she tells us. She has assisted with ballet and hip hop classes in the 2022-2023 season and cirque and hip hop camps during summer. Teaching dance classes has been Hanna’s goal since the first time she assisted teaching a dance class.
Her love for dance that has developed over the years is something she is inspired to share with the younger dancers. She knows that it is important to find things that you like to do starting at a young age. Hannah also believes that dance can be therapeutic as a great outlet to express one’s emotions and that TDF is always a safe place for dancers. She feels grateful to be part of the Truckee Dance Factory staff!