The Studio boasts a fully professional faculty.  Under the directorship of Diane Cypher (since 1998), the instructors are cohesive in their approach to classical ballet training and each has their own way of melding professionalism and discipline with fun and encouragement.  To learn more about Diane Cypher, go to the Artistic Director page.

Meet our SUMMER INTENSIVE 2020 Guest Instructors


Linda Lock took a circuitous route to her role as one of the best ballet teachers in America today.  She has taught at The Studio since 1998, coming from San Jose Dance Theatre, where she taught for two years with Diane Cypher and Robert Kelley.  Linda began studying dance as a teenage gymnast -- eventually coaching gymastics professionally.  She also studied several musical instruments, including piano, guitar, flute, alto saxophone, oboe and E flat soprano clarinet.  She played her B-flat soprano clarinet in orchestras for ballets, operas, and musical theatre.  She played in both a wood-wind quintet and jazz band for six years and played guitar and sang in a rock band for four years playing pubs, dances, and private events.

Linda studied six years of Pre-Med biochemistry and microbiology at San Jose State, as well as completed two years of aeronautics and aerodynamics.  She earned her private pilot's license on her way to what she thought might be a commercial flying career. In her mid-20s she began to study ballet.  No one told her it was too late.  She studied with Jean Dunphy at The Studio, Kristine Elliott in Palo Alto, and the Reyes husband and wife team in Santa Clara.  She took every form of dance-related class she could find at Cabrillo College, including modern dance and drama classes.  She eventually danced professionally with Santa Clara Ballet and Peninsula Ballet Theatre in The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty, Coppelia, Les Sylphides, and as the Cat in Peter and the Wolf.

Linda's early teaching career was especially influenced by Kristine Elliott and Kim Gardner.  She also studied Pilates privately with Kim for over ten years to add to her understanding of kinesiology.  She has attended teacher training courses in both the Vaganova method and Royal Academy of Dancing method.  "Miss Linda" brings a passion and perspective to the ballet classroom that only someone who took this route to get here could.  It's best said by her:

"Being part of the development of our fine dancers is thrilling to me.  Every 'Nutcracker' I cry like a baby watching the youngest students be part of their first big Corps de Ballet in Snow.  It is surreal for me, because I was over 30 years old the first time I stood in the wings waiting for my entrance in Snow; I was so thrilled to be finally able to do something I had wanted since I was six, but never had the opportunity until it was too late (by popular opinion).  I would love to convey to our students that the path to dance -- and what it adds to your life -- can take many forms. Mine was not traditional or perfect, but nonetheless, it got me where I am today.”


Introducing Jenny Bennett, Head of Children's Dance Division

Jenny Bennett has had a love for ballet her whole life! She started dancing at 2 years old and never stopped.  She grew up in Southern California and started her early training until the age of 14 with Joanna Santor with whom she found her love and joy of ballet.  From there she went on to study under full scholarship with Patrick Frantz, former premier danseur with the Paris Opera Ballet.  At the same time she was asked to study with Stanley Holden.  During the summers she studied at Virginia School of the Arts, Los Angeles Classical Ballet, and the Westside School of Ballet.  She also danced professionally for Pasadena Dance Theater under the direction of Cynthia Young.  She continues her training now under Diane Cypher and Rebecca Blair.  She is also certified in Progressing Ballet Technique. She loves being a mom to her two kids, Ruby and Kalé, surfing and working with youth in a local non-profit. And now she is excited to pass on the gift of ballet with students and see the joy that comes from dance as they are grow in their skill.

“I am so excited to join the The Studio School of Classical Ballet this fall as a teacher! I absolutely love ballet and can’t wait to pass that love to others.  I believe classical training paired with the joy of dance can be a powerful foundation for inspiring dancers.  Ballet is an art steeped in hundreds of years of tradition.  I hope to make that history accessible to the young dancer today in a fun and encouraging environment as they step up to the challenge of growing in their ballet technique.  I can’t wait to meet you!”


Modern Dance Instructor Stephanie Emmanuela Da Silva received her MFA in choreography from Saint Mary’s College of California in 2017 and graduated with honors, and holds an AA in Dance from Cabrillo College. 

Stephanie lived in Salvador Brazil for over 5 years immersing herself in Afro-Brazilian, Modern, and Brazilian Contemporary dance. She completed the professional dance training program at FUNCEB and trained closely with the world acclaimed dance company Balé Folclorico da Bahia. While living in Salvador, Stephanie performed professionally with the Norma Santana Dance Company, Attomos Dance Company, Diaspora Dance Company, Rosangela Silvestre, Vera Passos, Paco Gomes, Nildinha Fonseca, Augusto Omolu and many other notable choreographers. 

In 2012-2013 Stephanie choreographed and performed for the band Ozomatli, she was a selected dance artist for the Emerging Choreographer’s showcase in San Francisco in 2016, her dance film “The Wave Within” was selected to premier at the 2017 Big River Dance Festival, and has been a guest choreographer for the Yemanja Arts Festival in Berkeley in 2016, 17 & 18. She produced her first full length evening dance showcase in Santa Cruz entitled Tracing Diasporas in 2017 & 2018, and was a featured dance artist for the Ebb and Flow Arts Festival in 2017 & 2018. She presented original choreography at the annual SC World Arts Festival in in 2016 & 18, and has been a sponsored dance artist by the Santa Cruz Arts Council since 2016. Stephanie has presented original choreography for Santa Cruz Dance week annually since 2016, and was a selected choreographer to show work at the Winter Dance Concert at the Colligan Theater in February of 2019.  She has been substitute Modern dance instructor at The Studio, School of Classical Ballet for several years.  She is currently the Director of Dance at Harbor High School, teaches Modern and Afro-Brazilian Dance at UCSC, Modern Brazilian Roots at Motion Pacific, and is the Artistic Director of Agua Doce Dance Company.


Riley Butler is a student at UC Santa Cruz.  She joins our faculty for 2020, teaching Primary and Level I and also will direct some Junior and Petite Company rehearsals for the spring season.  Riley took tap classes before joining The Studio as a student at the age of 6.  She studied diligently, progressing through the pre-professional program, achieving a high level of ballet technique.  As a member of the SCBT Senior company, she was featured in many roles, including in “The Nutcracker” as Clara and a Spanish dancer, and stood out in contemporary works. 

Through the years, Riley mentored and guided dancers younger than her, whether it was supervising backstage at the Student Demonstration, or helping a young dancer put their hair in a ballet bun.  It is this type of selfless mentoring that we encourage, and some dancers take to it more than others.  Riley has always been incredibly generous with her time and patience.  She was accepted into the prestigious Kapor Center/SMASH program at Stanford University, and participated in the program every summer during her high school years.  She is an excellent example of how classical ballet training pathways often diverge into other related disciplines in the arts and in academia.  We are proud to not only train dancers, but to help create the next generation of community leaders, arts enthusiasts and contributing members of society.  We welcome Riley and her vitality to our faculty this spring.


Substitute Instructors
The Studio features a roster of substitute instructors who are Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre Senior Company members, and who have completed many hours of Teacher Training within the academy.  These young instructors are qualified to teach most levels in the school and are usually hired to teach Pre-Ballet and basic levels.  They are enthusiastic and have experience either teaching on their own or assisting in the studio.


Christopher Pratorius and Carlos Fagundo


Registrar Sandy Nelson
(831) 479-1600


Linda Lock with advanced level students



Head of Children's Dance Division, Jenny Bennett



Stephanie DaSilva, Modern instructor



Flora Chatwin



Linda Lock with advanced level students



Diane Cypher with intermediate dancer



Linda Lock showing the technique of attitude derriere



Chris Pratorius Gomez at the piano


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