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

DISCO RIOT Director and Co-Founder, Zaquia Mahler Salinas (she/her), was born and raised in San Diego. She believes that revolution is possible through a collective awakening of mindful, embodied art practice, and that dance is a critical tool for building a better world. Zaquia wears many hats: administrator, producer, choreographer, performer, and educator. She has been choreographing and producing work since 2011; her art and life practice is grounded in cultivating responsiveness to the present moment, community building, and the magic of collaboration. With movement as the central medium, her work is a mixture of dance, text, and video, in both live and digital platforms, connecting audiences to visceral, intimate, thoughtful, and introspective narratives. Zaquia is a big fan of lifelong learning and holds a BA in Dance with Honors from UC Santa Barbara (2011), an MFA in Dance: Creative Practice with Honors from Saint Mary’s College of California (2017), 500 hour yoga teacher certification (2012/2019), a certificate in Nonprofit Management from the University of San Diego (2021), and a California Single Subject Teaching Credential for Dance (2022).
Martin Anthony Dorado

Martin Anthony Dorado

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.
Sol dela Rosa

Sol dela Rosa

Sol dela Rosa (they/them) graduated from London Contemporary Dance School in 2018, where they had the honor of teaching through The Place CAT Scheme, as well as performing for Theo Clinkard, James Cousins, Xin Xin Song, and Hofesh Schecter. Sol trained in Cunningham, Release, Action Theatre, Gaga, Flying-Low, and Contact Improvisation, all of which inspire their own practices. In California, Sol has been a company member for San Diego Dance Theater and has also performed for Blythe Barton, Somebodies Dance Theatre, Anne Gehman, and Keith Johnson. They have shown their work at The Place’s Robin Howard Theatre, ArtPowers New Adventurers, SDSU’s Make it Concert, CECUT in Mexico, Saville Theatre, White Box, and has received awards through SDDT Young Choreographers Showcase & Lux Boreal’s 4×4 TJ Nights. Sol began dancing at 19 through San Diego City College, and is forever grateful for the guidance and support from the faculty for helping them shape the path and human they are becoming.
Lauren Christie

Lauren Christie

Lauren Christie (she/her) has been a member of DISCO RIOT since its inception. She also performs with Malashock Dance and San Diego Dance Theater. Since moving to San Diego, Lauren has been honored to work with many local artists including: Blythe Barton Dance, Erica Buechner, Thom Dancy, Jean Isaacs, John Malashock, Zaquia Mahler Salinas, Khamla Somphanh, Gina and Kyle Sorenson (somebodies dance theater), and Chelsea Zeffiro. She has also performed throughout the Mid-Atlantic region with DC-based Christopher K. Morgan & Artists (2012-2018). Carmel Morgan of CriticalDance writes that Lauren is “captivating…an agile performer with a knack for getting under your skin.” She received her early training at the Ballet Memphis School, and earned her BA with Honors in Public Communication and French with a dance minor from American University. In addition to her work as a performing artist, Lauren also teaches yoga and movement, and occasionally choreographs her own work.
Odessa Mae Uno

Odessa Mae Uno

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.
Chelsea Zeffiro

Chelsea Zeffiro

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).
Aisha Reddick

Aisha Reddick

Aisha Reddick (she/her) is an African American and Filipina movement artist and instructor based in San Diego, California. Began her serious dance training at San Diego SCPA before furthering her education and training at Grossmont Community College where her passion for choreographing grew. After graduating with an Associate Degree in Dance, she attended California State University, Long Beach, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Dance in Fall 2021. At CSULB, Aisha was able to hone her creativity and choreographic voice with the guidance of Rebecca Lemme, Keith Johnson and further support from faculty, staff, and friends. Through her dance career, Aisha has worked with many independent artists and companies between San Diego and Los Angeles including somebodies dance theater, Culture Shock San Diego, DISCO RIOT, LITVAKdance, Acts of Matter, LA Contemporary Dance Company, Regula Mahler Bashir, Debi Toth-Ward, Kathy Meyer and many others. Currently, Aisha is a season VII company member (G2) with GEOMETRY Dance Company under the direction of Mackenzie Martin. Aisha also teaches at Culture Shock Training Academy and is so excited to join DISCO RIOT as a Teaching Artist!
Alyssa Rose

Alyssa Rose

Alyssa Rose (they/them) is a movement and visual artist from San Diego, CA. As a queer, neuro-a-typical artist in an accelerated era, Alyssa strives to challenge and reimagine the structures in which we operate in order to move toward collective liberation. Alyssa loves to paint, let dance be the teacher, and practice being better ancestors with their community. Alyssa studied Mathematics and Dance at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and graduated in 2018 with highest honors. Alyssa feels called to guide people home to their bodies, and express the chaos and mystery of life through dance.
Desiree Cuizon

Desiree Cuizon

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.
Trystan Merrick

Trystan Merrick

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.
Taylor Olson

Taylor Olson

Taylor (she/her) is a San Diego-based Lighting Designer who is grateful to be a part of the DISCO RIOT team; she believes that DISCO RIOT is the future of dance in San Diego. She currently 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, San Diego Dance Theatre, Malashock Dance, and California Ballet, and collaborated with choreographers throughout Southern California. She is grateful to be a part of the creative process, in collaboration with innovative artists, to bring impactful storytelling to the dance community.
Erika Wexler

Erika Wexler

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.
Zach Leffers

Zach Leffers

Zach Leffers (he/him) is neither a dancer nor an artist. Rather, he is an adman. Zach has done brand & advertising strategy for a variety of national and international brands, including Wendy’s, Facebook Reality Labs, The North Face, and Dick’s Sporting Goods. He is currently the Strategy Director at renowned advertising agency Mekanism SF. Living in Kansas City with his 3-year-old dog and 18-year-old cat, you’ll probably find him climbing up rocks or shaking tiki cocktails. Zach is the Brand & Marketing Overlord for DISCO RIOT.
Joyce Lien Kushner

Joyce Lien Kushner

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, Joyce founded TILTshift Dance. Now in San Diego, Joyce continues to teach and make work.
Jennifer Samore George

Jennifer Samore George

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

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.
Elva Salinas

Elva Salinas

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

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.