founder of westside dance project
Jessie Riley has trained with Alicia Head, Paula Morgan, Reid Olson, Stanley Holden as well as teachers across the U.S. and Europe. Jessie has performed works by Peter Chu, Sonya Tayeh, Mike Esperanza, Lauren Adams, Billy Bell, Helen Blackburn, Mia Michaels and more. Jessie was a member of Sonya Tayeh’s “Tayeh Dance”, and Mike Esperanza’s "BARE Dance Company". Jessie started her choreography and production career at 18 when she produced and directed the choreography showcase Terpsicoreal in Hollywood, CA. Jessie formed WESTSIDE Dance Project in 2009, geared towards young dancers training for a career in contemporary concert dance. WESTSIDE Dance Project, under Jessie's direction, has produced 12 successful concerts and special events. Jessie has taught for various conventions, intensives, and workshops. She has also hosted her own intensives in the U.S., England, and Italy. Her choreography has been honored at Youth American Grand Prix. Her choreography has also been showcased at The Spotlight Awards in 2009, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018. She has been accepted into the Dancing Under the Stars Festival, and at The Capezio Ace Awards.
WESTSIDE DANCE PROJECT CO-DIRECTOR
Megan Guise is a movement artist, choreographer, photographer, and videographer currently residing in Southern California. Megan’s early dance training started in Santa Ana, California, at Orange County School of the Arts where she studied Commercial Dance. In 2014, she received her B.F.A in Dance from California State University, Long Beach. Megan has had the privilege of appearing in works created by Alex Ketley, Becca Lemme, Jay Carlon, Andy Vaca, Jessie Riley, Lorin Johnson, Christian Burns, Keith Johnson, Sophia Monat, and others. Megan has participated in workshops with BodyTraffic, Szalt, Ate9 Dance Company, and San Francisco Conservatory of Dance. Her choreography has received the Youth America Grand Prix Choreography Award more than once. Megan has performed, assisted and has been a resident choreographer for Westside Dance Project since 2014. Megan has taught modern, jazz technique, contemporary and improvisation at Dmitri Kulev Classical Ballet Academy since 2015. For the past two years Megan has been the Artistic Director of Westside Dance Projects' Performance Company. Today, she is thrilled to be co-directing Westside Dance Project alongside Krystal Matsuyama-Tsai.
WESTSIDE DANCE PROJECT co-director
Krystal is a movement educator and artist born and raised in sunny Southern California. With experience in both commercial and concert dance industries, she has had the privilege of performing works by a variety of choreographers including Bryan Arias, Peter Chu, Daniel Ezralow, Mike Esperanza, Charlotte Griffin, Will Johnston, Alex Ketley, Mia Michaels, Marissa Osato, and Dwight Rhoden, amongst others. Her early dance training started at Orange County Dance Center, under the direction of Terri and Anthony Sellars and expanded at the University of California, Irvine, where she received her BFA and MFA in Dance. Here she worked under the close mentorship of Jodie Gates and Douglas Becker, and was a part of Donald McKayle's Etude Ensemble. She has received additional training from workshops and intensives at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Ate9 Dance Company, BodyTraffic, Northwest Dance Project, San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, and Springboard Danse Montréal.
As an educator, Krystal has taught and coached nationally and internationally at various dance studios and schools. In her teaching she centers holistic well-being and strives to cultivate critically thinking young artists that dare to challenge traditional structures. Currently she is a company member with project-based contemporary dance company chuthis., and is on faculty at Dmitri Kulev Classical Ballet Academy where she teaches contemporary ballet and conditioning. She has coached Jessie Riley’s work since 2014 and is honored to be joining Megan this upcoming season as co-director of Westside Dance Project.
Dmitri and Jennifer Kulev
Dmitri Kulev Classical Ballet ACADEMY
ARTISTIC Directors and Instructors
Mr. Kulev received his fine arts diploma from the prestigious Bolshoi Ballet School in Moscow, Russia, where he trained with the distinguished teacher Peter Pestov. After graduating in 1992, he was invited to join the Bolshoi Ballet Theatre under the direction of Yuri Grigorovich. During this time, he performed in over 12 countries including France, Greece, Egypt , Japan, England and the US. After touring the US, Mr. Kulev decided to stay and join Ballet Arizona. Since then he went on to perform as a principal dancer with the Fort Worth Dallas Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and Ballet Concerto.
As a teacher, Mr. Kulev possesses a charismatic teaching philosophy that leaves students eager to return each day. He focuses on core strength and technique in the Vaganova method. Inspired by his own teacher, teaching legend Pyotr Pestov, Mr. Kulev inspires students to give their best in class each day.
As a private coach, many of Mr. Kulev’s dancers have won top honors and grand prizes in prominent local, national and international ballet competitions; and received scholarships to elite professional and collegiate training programs from American Ballet Theatre, Royal Ballet School, The Bolshoi Academy, San Francisco Ballet Program, Indiana University, Boston Conservatory and others.
JENNIFER LANGENSTEIN KULEV
Ms. Kulev retired from her professional career as a principal dancer with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre (PBT). During her seven seasons with PBT, she danced the lead roles in the company’s classical ballet productions and worked with and performed the repertoire of many distinguished choreographers such as Glen Tetley, Dwight Rhoden, Kevin O’Day, Derek Deane and Lynn Taylor-Corbett.
Ms. Kulev received her early training from Harvey Hysell and Maestro Vincenzo Celli in New Orleans, then later trained at the School of American Ballet as a scholarship student where she studied under famed teachers Antonina Tumkovsky, Alexandra Danilova and Andrei Kramarevsky. After returning to her home state of Texas, she studied with Madame Krassovska in Dallas and with Ballet Concerto director Margo Dean in Fort Worth. During her eighteen-plus summer performances with Ballet Concerto, she had the unique opportunity to work with and dance works by Luis Montero, Bruce Marks, Michael Vernon and Fernando Bujones.
Ms. Kulev’s performing repertoire includes the principal roles in Giselle, Coppelia, Don Quixote, The Nutcracker, Stanton Welch’s Madame Butterfly, Ben Stevenson’s Cinderella, Dracula and Cleopatra, and Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco, Valse Fantasie, Jewels and Serenade among others. Prior to dancing with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, she danced with the New Orleans Ballet, Dallas Ballet and Fort Worth Dallas Ballet. Ms. Kulev focuses on precise technique, turnout and artistry in her classes.