Team DISCO RIOT

DISCO RIOT is here to produce and support innovative dance programming, and the folks listed below carry that mission in a myriad of ways as part of Team DISCO RIOT. There’s a ton of work (and play) to be done in this (r)evolution, and these brilliant and dedicated people are part of what makes it possible.

Zaquia Mahler Salinas

Zaquia Mahler Salinas

Director

DISCO RIOT Director and Co-Founder, Zaquia Mahler Salinas (she/her), is a dance artist working with live and filmed dance, invested in movement-art as an act of reclamation and revolution. Her art practice is grounded in cultivating responsiveness to the present moment, community, and the magic of collaboration. She has worked with many organizations in San Diego in various artistic, administrative, and teaching capacities, and believes that San Diego can be an amazing place for dancers and artists. She has been awarded various artistic residencies, including a 2019 residency in Bethlehem, Palestine where she focused on dance as a form of cultural, embodied resistance. In 2024, Zaquia is assuming the role of Senior Director of Artist Programs and Experiences with Boston Center for the Arts, and is looking forward to getting to know the East Coast arts community.

 

email: zaquia@discoriot.org

Alyssa Rose

Alyssa Rose

Program Coordinator // Teaching Artist

Alyssa Rose (they/them) is a disabled, non-binary and queer radical dreamer of liberation. They create paintings/collage, sculptures, dances, and healthy cultural ecosystems in dance communities. Alyssa feels called to guide humans home to their bodies and empower marginalized people through embodiment. They use dance and visual art to explore the mystery of being alive and interconnected. Currently, Alyssa is interested in research around Buddha Dharma, collective liberation, and community care and how these areas of focus can be expressed through art and artistic process.

 

email: operations@discoriot.org

Aisha Reddick

Aisha Reddick

Education & Outreach Coordinator // Teaching Artist

Aisha Reddick (she/her) is an African American/Filipino movement artist and instructor based in San Diego, California. She obtained her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance at California State University, Long Beach in Fall 2021. Since graduating, Aisha has made work that has been presented across the west coast for various concerts, festivals and sharings. Aisha has had the pleasure of working with various independent artists and companies between San Diego and Los Angeles, whose influence has helped shape her own craft. In her practice, Aisha finds real fulfillment in moving between juxtaposing gentle and aggressive powers to create a flow into and through the body to find ways, basically, feel good. Presently, Aisha shares this way of moving at DISCO RIOT, Culture Shock San Diego, Helix Charter High School and San Diego Dance Academy.

 

email: community@discoriot.org

Martin Anthony Dorado

Martin Anthony Dorado

Producing Artist // Teaching Artist

Marty (he/him) graduated with a BA in Dance from New Mexico State University in 2011. He performed in San Diego Dance Theater’s Annual Trolley Dances in the Fall 2011, which inspired a relocation to San Diego. Since then, Marty continues to perform in Trolley Dances each year and danced for many local San Diego dance artists and companies including Visionary Dance Theater (2012-2015), The PGK Dance Project (2014-2020) , Compulsion Dance and Theater (2014-2019), as a guest artist for San Diego Dance Theater (2019), and he’s currently a company dancer for Malashock Dance (2014-present). He has also been exploring his creative side more recently, choreographing work for productions with Diversionary Theater and DISCO RIOT. Marty is thrilled with his decision to move to Southern California and be part of such a wonderful community of devoted artists.

 

email: choreoand@discoriot.org

Odessa Mae Uno

Odessa Mae Uno

Teaching Artist

Odessa Mae Uno (she/her) is a Filipino American movement based artist currently working in Southern California. With a mission to make dance an accessible art form, her current practice involves developing and nurturing spaces that encourage movement as therapy, investigation, and celebration. The foundation of all of her work endlessly references her belief in the importance of community, love, and integrity. She currently choreographs her own works and performs with various projects and companies throughout San Diego including Fresh Congress Dance, Maraya Performing Arts, Malashock Dance, and San Diego Dance Theater. Uno received her BFA in Dance from California Institute of the Arts where she studied performance, choreography, and pedagogy.

Lauren Christie

Lauren Christie

Teaching Artist

Lauren Christie (she/her) is a performer, teacher, and choreographer based in San Diego. She grew up in Memphis, TN, where she trained at the Ballet Memphis School. She earned her BA with Honors in Public Communication and French Language with a minor in Dance from American University in Washington, DC. While living in the DC area, Lauren danced with Christopher K. Morgan & Artists (2012-2018), as well as Bowen McCauley Dance, Alight Dance Theater, and Jane Franklin Dance. Since moving to San Diego, Lauren has danced with Malashock Dance (2019-present) and San Diego Dance Theater (2018-present), and is a founding member of DISCO RIOT. She has also worked with Blythe Barton, Monica Bill Barnes, Erica Buechner, Jean Isaacs, Zaquia Mahler Salinas, Khamla Somphanh, Gina Bolles Sorenson and Kyle Sorenson, among many other artists. Lauren enjoys teaching dance and yoga, and creating her own work. Most recently, her work has been commissioned by Malashock Dance, DISCO RIOT, and Canyon Crest Academy. She feels honored to be included in this community of thoughtful artists!

Desiree Cuizon

Desiree Cuizon

Producing Artist

Desiree Cuizon (she/her) achieved a Bachelor of Fine Arts, in Dance, from San Diego State University in 2008. She had the privilege to perform and travel internationally in Mexico, Switzerland, Germany, Poland, and Indonesia. Since graduating she became a dance company member with Joe Alter Dance Group (2009-2010), The PGK Dance Project (2012-2016) and San Diego Dance Theater (2015 – 2018). Desiree also worked with various independent and local artists including: Somebodies Dance Theater, Anne Gehman, Blythe Barton Dance, Boroka Nagy, Khamla Somphanh, IsadoraNow, [the] movement initiative and more. In 2016, Brittany Taylor and Desiree premiered their first co-choreographed work, Avenue Lexicon, and since then they continue to collaborate via the B.A.D. Dance Collective. Most recently she is grateful for the performance and creative opportunities Zaquia Mahler Salinas has created through DISCO RIOT. In addition to dancing professionally, Desiree is a certified Massage Therapist and Pilates Instructor. She is currently back in school to achieve her Doctorate in Physical Therapy in order to work with dancers and other athletes via injury prevention, rehabilitation, and refined performance skills.

 

email: queermvmntfest@discoriot.org

Chelsea Zeffiro

Chelsea Zeffiro

Teaching Artist

Chelsea Zeffiro (she/her) is a dance artist specializing in experimental and collaborative performance between theater, dance, and film. Zeffiro’s current practice is rooted in research, writing, and process – devising character and script reflexively, with who and what is in the room. As a performer, Zeffiro works collaboratively with artists, choreographers, and directors on processes wherein she is able to utilize her improvisational and technical background from development through performance. Zeffiro received her BA in Comparative Literature from the University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA) and her MFA with a Fellowship in Dance from the University of the Arts (Philadelphia, PA).

Taylor Olson

Taylor Olson

Technical Director & Resident Lighting Designer

Taylor (she/her) is a San Diego-based Lighting Designer grateful to be a part of the DISCO RIOT team; she believes that DISCO RIOT is the future of dance in San Diego. She is attending the University of California San Diego for her Master of Fine Arts in Lighting Design and received her B.A. in Theatre Arts for Design and Production from California State University, Fullerton. Taylor has worked with Fresh Congress, La Jolla Playhouse, Malashock Dance, FACT/ SF, and California Ballet and collaborated with independent choreographers, directors, and visual artists throughout Southern California. She is grateful to be a part of the creative process, collaborating with innovative artists to bring impactful storytelling to the dance community.

 

email: tech@discoriot.org

Trystan Merrick

Trystan Merrick

Producing Artist

Trystan Merrick (they/them) studied ballet under the tutelage of Ahita Ardalan, formerly of the Paris Opera Ballet. In addition to most of the full length classical ballets, they have performed the works of such great choreographers as Twyla Tharp, Robert Cohen, James Canfield, Peter Anostos, Septime Webre, Merce Cunningham and George Balanchine to name a few. Trystan started their professional career with Nevada Ballet Theater in 2007, and has since danced for San Diego Ballet, San Diego Dance Theater, Malashock Dance, Owen Cox Dance, Concept Zero, City Ballet of San Diego, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, and The California Ballet. Through the lens of a queer nonbinary artist, Trystan has presented work for DISCO RIOT, San Diego Dance Theater, and The California Ballet. While navigating their performance career Trystan prioritized developing experience as a teacher, choreographer, and artistic leadership. They believe that being able to relate and empathize with intersectionality within our dance and queer communities will certainly bring us to a future were there is opportunity for all.

 

email: queermvmntfest@discoriot.org

Frankie Simone

Frankie Simone

Events & Communications Assistant

Frankie Simone (they/them) is a Puerto Rican, queer, gender expansive vocalist, musician, movement artist and creative based in Southern California. Simone has spent the last 7 years creating and releasing art for collective liberation, performing across the U.S. and curating spaces for trans and queer community to transmute their pain and return home to themselves through vocal release, breathwork and embodiment.

 

email: communications@discoriot.org

Erika Wexler

Erika Wexler

Board of Directors

Erika (she/her) is the Co-Founder and Board Director/CFO of DISCO RIOT. She grew up in an entrepreneurial family and after graduating with honors from the University of Texas in Austin, served as controller for her family’s lucrative hardwood flooring business. Since then she has volunteered for several organizations, and served as a board member on the NWFA. She is fiercely dedicated to her family and community, and believes that through art-making and embodiment, we can cultivate increased awareness and celebration for the diversities of our lifestyles, as well as the awe of interconnectedness that is inherent in the everyday.

 

email: info@discoriot.org

Zach Leffers

Zach Leffers

Board of Directors

Zach Leffers (he/him) is neither a dancer nor an artist. Rather, he is an adman. Zach has done brand & creative strategy for a variety of national and international companies, including Coca-Cola, Wendy’s, the NBA, Meta, The North Face, Charles Schwab, and Dick’s Sporting Goods. He is currently a strategy director at renowned advertising agency VML. Zach is the Brand Overlord for DISCO RIOT.

Joyce Lien Kushner

Joyce Lien Kushner

Board of Directors

Joyce (she/her) is a SoCal native, trained in modern, contemporary, jazz, ballet, and tap. She is a certified Progressing Ballet Technique® (PBT) instructor. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from UCLA. As a dance teaching artist, Joyce has trained dancers of all ages and has performed and collaborated with artists all over California – Modern City Repertoire, Strong Pulse Dance, Epiphany Dance Theater, Surhabi Suraf, Sarah Bush Dance, Amy Lewis, Five Feet Dance, and Chris Black Dance. In 2015 in San Francisco, Joyce founded TILTshift Dance. Now in San Diego, she continues to teach, make work, and holds open space for other dance artists to create and work. She was recently awarded an 18-month artist residency by NTC Foundation in the Liberty Station Arts District to help further these endeavors. Proud to be a part of the DISCO RIOT family, Joyce hopes to help in DISCO RIOT’s mission to foster and engage our San Diego dance community.

Jennifer Samore George

Jennifer Samore George

Board of Directors

Jennifer Samore George (she/her) currently works in the pharmaceutical industry supporting the development of novel drugs for neurological and endocrine disorders. She holds a Bachelor’s in Biochemistry from UCSD and a Masters in Kinesiology from PLNU. She is also a certified yoga teacher and Mindfulness meditation teacher. She studied the Clinical Applications of the Polyvagal Theory in Barcelona with Deb Dana and completed the Beginning and Intermediate Somatic Experiencing Training. She believes deep listening and movement are the medicine of the moment and she is committed to crafting a vital life.

Lavina Rich

Lavina Rich

Board of Directors

Lavina Rich (she/her) is a native San Diego dance maker, lover, and supporter. Her love of the performing arts began at Grossmont College, to UCSD, to working with some of San Diego’s finest artists. She has since moved to behind the scenes, creating works with her own company, Push Process Movement. As an earnest supporter of San Diego dance, Lavina is excited to be on the board of DISCO RIOT. She hopes to be able to further grow this organization’s mission and foster more opportunities for dancers and dancer lovers in this community.

Jane Blount

Jane Blount

Board of Directors

Jane Blount, (she/her) is dedicated to the cultivation of community, creativity, and healing through conscious movement and touch. She holds an HHP (Holistic Health Practitioner Certification) in Integrative Somatics from the International School of Professional Bodywork (IPSB) and has studied numerous bodywork modalities throughout her 35+ years providing holistic bodywork.  She was a founding member of the San Diego based Lower Left Dance and Performance Collective from 1994 – 2007 and served as Lower Left’s managing director.  Jane is grateful to have worked with many amazing choreographers, dance companies, and improvisational collaborators throughout San Diego, Chicago, Cincinnati, Winona, MN, and NYC.  Locally, she received two San Diego Dance Alliance “Tommy Awards” for outstanding performance.  She currently finds joy and meaningful engagement in her work as a holistically oriented bodyworker, and through the practices of Authentic Movement and Qigong.  Jane is thrilled to join DISCO RIOT’s board of directors.

Elva Salinas

Elva Salinas

Grant Committee

Elva Salinas (she/her) currently serves as Trustee on the Grossmont Union High School District Board and delegate of the California State Board Association where she continues her work in equitable and affordable education and humane immigration rights advocacy. She is Professor Emeritus of English and Chicano studies with 39 years of teaching and professional leadership training experience at San Diego City College. She is the recipient of the Golden Apple -Faculty of the Year Award, KPBS and Union Bank Hispanic Heritage Local Hero Award in education and the Board of Governors Exemplary Program Award for A Pedagogy of Love: A Professional Development Model for Educational Practitioners. She believes that education must be transformational, that culturally and personally relevant experiences are essential to learning and that each one of us can become social change agents.

Anna Rogers

Anna Rogers

Grant Committee

Anna Rogers (she/her) is a Professor of English at San Diego City College. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Art History and Criticism from the University of California, San Diego and a master’s degree in American Literature from San Diego State University. Prior to her academic career, she spent many years working in the fields of visual arts and education for a variety of non-profit organizations in Southern California. During this time, she served as Assistant Curator at the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego and as Assistant Director of Education at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido.

We work with many other artists in San Diego and beyond – you can find info about these artists linked to the projects they’ve contributed to.