Vision and Purpose
Just like humanity as a whole, dance is at a crossroads. Preserving the traditions that still provide value while pursuing progress expanding inclusivity is a challenge demanding our collective intellectual and spiritual energy. Wisdom and fairness must guide us in choosing what we keep and what we change.
Concert dance (ballet, modern, and contemporary) has a rich history full of beauty but steeped in elitism. Unlike its exclusive past, dance is now popular and accessible in ways never imagined, but sometimes at the expense of the art form’s creative integrity and educational value.
The urgent task of our time, as we see it, is embracing the exciting opportunities the modern era presents, preserving and honoring dance history and its trailblazers to inform our contemporary practice, and offering opportunities that maintain a level of excellence available to any person who hungers to participate – all to usher in a sustainable future.
This is our vision. This is our purpose. This is our commitment.
It’s hard for me to put into words the impact Francisco, Julie and Yusha have had on my development and the many ways they’ve molded me into the dancer I am today. They are wholeheartedly invested in educating dancers and make each of us feel uniquely important and seen. With their guidance, I continue to discover myself artistically and technically and would not be the dancer I am today without them as part of my journey.
- Georgia Greene
Fostering the Creativity of Every Young Dancer
What makes Francisco Gella Dance Works different is that we are consistently focused on developing the whole dancer. One of the most under-trained aspects of young dancers that gets in the way of achieving their professional or collegiate dreams is their ability to tap into their own creativity, hone their own distinctive artistic voice, and evolve from practicing combinations to communicating a choreographer's story and vision through movement on stage. In other words, putting the ART in performance art.
Concept and Choreography by: Francisco Gella
Directed by: Matthew McKee of Red Panel Creative
Produced by: Jeffrey Hoffman of Francisco Gella Dance Works
Music by: Olafur Arnalds
Dancers: Daniel Rowe and Garret Anderson
One of the most important tools a dancer can develop is their ability to improvise - leveraging their dance vocabulary and projecting their distinctive voice to create a piece for the stage. Whether it be for a solo, or to simply tap into their inner creative within, helping dancers find themselves within this art form is how we commit to helping students achieve transformation.
Choreography: Francisco Gella
Music: The Four Seasons, Winter 3
Composer: Antonio Vivaldi/Max Richter
Dancers: artists from The Dance Studio of Fresno; Artistic Director: Sue Sampson Dalena
The key to becoming a well rounded dancer is being able to perform full out for an audience. Performing for an audience is something that most dancers don’t experience until it’s too late, which is why we are intentional in helping students get this experience early on in non-competitive settings.
As a mom I can not thank Francisco & his team(tribe), for all their time and energy they have put into my daughter Jasmine. There are no other programs out there like the ones Francesco has created, I promise you we’ve been to many. Especially preparing for college or ballet company decisions. Especially for Jasmines senior year, as she was offered a ballet company contract but decided to audition for Juilliard and made it. The entire tribe from Francisco, Julie, Yusha even Jeffrey were along for the ride in every step her or I had to make during this exciting time in her life. Also they are NOT just about her training but about her as a person first, they dig deep into her soul(mine as well), there really are not enough words to express how much we feel for this amazing team or why a dancer should participate except JUST DO IT!!!
- Denise Klenotich
Teaching Young Dancers How to Move with Purpose
Dreams are clear, vivid, and strong. Without proper guidance and a clear sense of purpose; a balance of hope and reality, young dancers may start to feel their dreams slip away. They often don’t have a clear understanding of how to get closer or achieve their dreams, which is why we are committed to guiding dancers to move with intention. Not just understanding movement, but the why, and the how, and to better understand the dancer within themselves. The more connected they are to themselves internally, the more confident and intentional they will be as they advance toward achieving their goals.
From the moment I met Francisco and Jeffery, they have instilled a deep faith in my passion for dance and have provided a safe haven for my aspirations within dance. The programs that I have been a part of, Preprofessional Dancer Institute and New Century Dance Project, have opened my eyes to the many avenues available within dance. With the guidance of Francisco and his team, I have had the opportunity to train with various choreographers in various styles and explore a more profound relationship between movement and storytelling, as well as gain confidence in my dancing to pursue it at the collegiate level. Without Francisco and his whole team, I would not be at the place I currently am.
- Gabby Keeler
Supporting Students and Their Parents on Their Dance Journey
It is an underappreciated fact that mentorship and guidance from professionals can be the difference between a successful dancer and one who never meets their fullest potential. We understand this intimately which is why we mentor all of our students and continue to nurture them throughout their career. We don’t have a singular program for this because we intentionally embed it across our programs in a way that supports our students from the moment that we meet them.
From letters of recommendations to providing guidance, support, reassurance, and parental empowerment, this is the CORE of what we do and how we nurture the WHOLE dancer as they embark on their dance journey with us.
We have programs at every level to address their unique needs at each point of their journey.
Our daughter, Kaylie Wood, started her relationship with Francisco and Co. at a time when, for various reasons, she was doubting herself and her abilities. Francisco and Julie, were absolutely instrumental in improving her self-image by providing nurturing love, support, inspiration and constructive criticisms. It never mattered to them that Kaylie wasn’t planning on strictly a dance education but furthering her career in musical theatre. Forever a part of our family now, we cannot thank them enough for what they have done for our daughter.
- Tricia Wood (Parent)
Providing a Roadmap: A Proven Path to Achieving Your Dreams
Young dancers need a strong support system from the people who love them the most. Often these questions come from a good place, but if they go unanswered, it may make some parents unwilling to provide unwavering support for their children that are looking to pursue a career in dance. We’re here to not only empower the student, but also their support system so that they have a clear roadmap to success.
Julie Friedrich and Francisco Gella host individual consultations and workshops during the fall and spring that will help students and parents by providing mentorship and guidance that are looking to go to college or become a professional.
I first met Yusha and Franciso in 2018 at Seattle Dance Advance. I was a shy, doubtful young artist who was hungry to improve and succeed but had not yet acquired all the right tools to aid me in reaching my goals. I immediately stood in the back, attempting to hide myself and my uncertainty, nervous they would notice my technical flaws. However, that was not the case at all. Yusha and Franciso immediately saw my potential and passion, setting my insecurities aside. They didn’t notice me because I was in the front or doing the best pirouette, they saw me for me. Yusha and Franciso were genuinely interested in not only who I am as a dancer but as a human first. The mutual respect, acceptance, sense of belonging, and knowledge I received during those three days in Seattle were enough for me to realize that I found a nurturing community I wanted to continue to be a part of. Hence four years later, they have helped me get into a prestigious college dance program, train throughout the pandemic, build my confidence, and gain pre-professional experience. Yusha and Francisco are truly a one-of-a-kind set of mentors, investing countless hours into me and my training. They are willing to go the extra mile to help dancers succeed in any part of their journey.
- Marissa Furfaro (dancer)
Establishing a Strong Foundation of Skills, Vocabulary and Movement
All of our programs are carefully curated to enrich dancers so that they are successful wherever their dance journey takes them. Students without foundational knowledge have to make up for these deficiencies in other ways and the deficiencies in understanding will catch-up to them. Our students stand out in auditions and among their peers because they are prepared for the demands that come with being a professional dancer by having the proper foundation in place.
As the only male dancer in my town, I knew my training needed something else if I was going to go to the next level. During the global pandemic I found that something else with the TechTrio and lessons with Francisco on a weekly basis. I not only grew exponentially as a dancer and was able to meet my personal goals but working with Francisco has allowed me to go places far beyond that in such a short time. I am thankful for Francisco, Julie and Yusha’s positive attitudes and personalized feedback even in a group setting. If I was having a bad day, taking a class turned the day into a great one and put a smile on my face. I would not be the dancer I am today without these amazing people.
Celebrating our Accomplishments and Growth at Every Turn
We believe in the restorative qualities of celebration, acknowledgment, and triumph over our greatest fears and self-imposed limits. Let’s not wait for others or society to tell us that we’re great, and when they do, let’s celebrate one another and keep the good vibrations flowing.
Below, we’re taking the opportunity to celebrate some of the acknowledgements that we’ve been given, as well as celebrating what we’ve helped our students achieve as a collective. What’s exciting is that this is only the beginning of greater things to come
Schools and Professional Training Programs: School of American Ballet, Jackie O School of American Ballet Theatre, Next Generation Ballet, Arts Umbrella, Royal Ballet School, Princess Grace Academy, Hubbard Street, John Cranko School of Stuttgart Ballet, Rambert School, UNCSA, Kanyok Arts Initiative, Charlotte Ballet, Orange County School for the Arts, Booker T Washington School for the Visual and Performing Arts, Boston Ballet School, Ballet West Academy, Dreyfoos School of the Arts, New World School of the Arts, Steps on Broadway Conservatory.
Summer Intensives: NDT, Juilliard, Hubbard Street, Arts Umbrella, Jacobs Pillow, Perry Mansfield, Ballet West, Paris Opera Ballet, Alonzo King Lines, Complexions, Kibbutz Contemporary, MODAS, BalletMet, Northwest Dance Project, NYCDA, Joffrey Academy (Chicago), Joffrey Ballet School (NYC), Paul Taylor American Modern Dance.
Colleges and Universities: SUNY Purchase, USC Kaufman, Juilliard, Point Park University, London School of Contemporary Dance, Pace, University of Utah, NYU Tisch, Cal Arts, Chapman University, University of the Arts, University of Arizona, Southern Methodist University, Boston Conservatory, Harvard University, Stanford University, Marymount Manhattan, Cornish College of the Arts, BYU, UNCSA, UC Santa Barbara, Cal State Long Beach, UC Irvine, Montclair State University, University of Michigan.
Companies: Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Ballet BC, Hubbard Street, New York City Ballet, Alonzo King Lines Contemporary Ballet, Nederlands Dans Theater, Ballet West, Kid Pivot, LA Contemporary Dance, LA Dance Project, Diavalo Dance, Northwest Dance Project, Ballet Hispanico.