The Book of Ruth is presented with support from Kradjian Family Fund, John & Elise Wetter, Mr. & Mrs George Kirazian, Chris & Janet Alvis, Dr. Simon & Seta Tchekmedyian, Armene & Jon Vartan Hovsepian, Yvette & John Harpootian, Arpi Kuymjian, Nayirie Mehdikani
About the Composer
Composer George Kirazian is a retired college instructor of Humanities, Composition, and Opera Appreciation. Born and raised in New Jersey, he completed his undergraduate and graduate studies at New York University and taught English Literature and Composition at Grossmont College for nearly 40 years, and served as Chairman of the English Department. He also taught Opera and Music Appreciation at San Diego State University. He is a longtime resident of San Diego with his wife Dikranouhi. They have three daughters: Yvette (husband John Harpootian), Andrea (husband Steven Urrutia) and Lisa (husband Steve Kradjian), and six grandchildren: Mark, Eric, Zari, Dante, Ani and Mari.
Kirazian’s musical compositions include The Book of Ruth: A Ballet, various art songs, hymns, and a new version of The Divine Liturgy of the Armenian Apostolic Church, which has been performed and recorded by Pacific Camerata of San Diego, the Paros Chamber Choir of Armenia, and also performed by members of the Armenian Church of San Diego. He has also published fiction and non-fiction: Easy Writing: A Practical Guide for Practically Everybody; A Time for Fathers (short novel), and five young reader books: The Sleeping Violet, Perry the Peacock, Beyond the Koala Kingdom, Leo and the Mulberry Flute, and The Princess of December. His website is georgekirazian.com.
Mojalet Company Dancers
ROBBY JOHNSON - Assistant to the Director
ROBBY JOHNSON, Assistant to the Director, is an actor, dancer, musician and scientist. He is a graduate of UCSD in Biochemistry and Cell Biology, with minors in both Dance and Theater. Robby has trained with a host of fantastic dance educators over the years including Jean Isaacs, Faith Jensen-Ismay, grace jun-mills, Peter Kalivas, Bradley Lundberg, Gabriel Masson, Christopher Pilafian and Terry Wilson to name a few. He has also had the pleasure of performing with Allyson Green, Betzi Roe, Erica Buechner, San Diego Dance Theater, Melissa Nunn, Patricia Rincon, Patricia Sandback, and Yolande Snaith. Robby works in neuroscience research, participates in music at his church, and even tries to cram in some acting on stage, film, or in a crowd of those seeking entertainment. He is currently enjoying his local and international adventures with Mojalet Dance Collective and has done so since 2005. Robby plays nicely with others, enjoys cooking, eating, traveling, and taking bubble baths.
ALIA ISMAY was born in Poway California and has danced basically her whole life, but started official training around the age of 8 in the annual Summer Dancin' Workshop in Ramona; soon after she began taking workshops and adult company classes taught by her mom, Faith Jensen-Ismay. She has been training with Mojalet ever since and has been a vital performer for the Mojalet Senior Co. Alia has performed and toured in Switzerland and Germany with Mojalet and served the company as a teaching artist and choreographer for Eclectic Expression Dance Co. , Jamolet and Core Group. Alia received her Bachelor's degree in Journalism from San Diego State University in 2016, then moved to India for a year to do Public Relations work for an anti-human trafficking organization. In 2020, Alia spent a year in Lugano, Switzerland to earn a Masters of Science in International Management . She is excited to be back in the US and performing with Mojalet and balances her life as Director of Sales and Marketing for Sparrow Imports.
JASMYN HAMBLIN is a dancer, visual artist, choreographer, and teacher originally from Santa Rosa, California. She holds a BFA in Dance from Cal State University LongBeach, graduating with honors after transferring from San Diego Mesa College. Throughout her life, she has trained in contemporary, modern, jazz, ballet, improvisation, and musical theater, working with many incredible teachers including Faith Jensen-Ismay, Rosanna Tavarez (Countertechnique), Rebecca Lemme (Release), Rebecca Bryant (Improvisation), Keith Johnson, members of Pilobolus Nile H. Russel and Jordan Kriston, Donna Flournoy, Jan Ellis, Summer Brown (Limón), and Andrew Holmes. Jasmyn has performed internationally with Andre Delaroche for DanzARt festival in Italy and Rebecca Bryant for Joven Danza Universitaria Festival in Ecuador. In 2020, she continued to work with Bryant for the HHII Dance Festival in Santa Barbara. As a dance maker, her choreography has been performed by local dance artists, Core Group, the Mesa College Dance Department, and during her time at CSU Long Beach, where her work “Process” was selected to be adjudicated at the 2020 ACDA Baja Conference. She is the recipient of the Nicki Carano Scholarship from San Diego Mesa College and the Jamiesson-Pechstein College of the Arts Endowed Scholarship from Cal State Long Beach for her involvement in the dance community. She is currently teaching at the Vine Arts Village and performs throughout the Southern California area.
ALYSSA KINNEAR joined the Mojalet family in 2011. She has toured nationally and internationally with the company and performed in Mojalet's Educational Outreach programs. Alyssa is a native San Diegan who began her dance training with Lorna Diamond and Donna Flournoy studying ballet, tap, jazz, flamenco and regional Spanish dancing. Alyssa graduated from UC San Diego with a B.A. in Dance and went on to obtain her Doctor of Physical Therapy at University of Southern California. She recently became a Board-Certified Clinical Specialist in Pediatric Physical Therapy. Alyssa is thrilled to be sharing her love of dance with her daughter, Coralie, who is performing with her in Mojalet's 30th Anniversary Concert.
KATHRYN MCLEAN first discovered her love of dance at a young age while growing up in the small town of Fallbrook, Ca. She began training with Faith Jensen-Ismay while a student at Palomar College and continued her journey in dance with Mojalet in 2001. Kathryn has had the privilege of performing works by artists Patricia Sandback and Betzi Roe throughout the years and is forever grateful for the many performance opportunities and global adventures with Mojalet. Kathryn is part of Mojalet's Educational Outreach programs performing for thousands of children each year. She currently teaches an Eclectic Expression class at The Vine Arts Village. When she is not dancing, Kathryn is busy raising her two children Juliette and James with her husband Jakob in Oceanside. Kathryn has a passion for the arts, horticulture and the outdoors and thrives on new adventures with her family!
NICOLE WOODING has been training in classical ballet since she was 4 years old. Her training includes San Diego Civic Youth Ballet for 14 years under Xavier Hicks and Penny Huffor and she performed roles such as Sugar Plum, Snow Queen, Dew Drop (Nutcracker) Evil Stepsister (Cinderella) Hippolyta (A Midsummer Night's Dream). Nicole has performed and choreographed with the Mesa College Dance Company from 2009-2014. Outside of SD, she preformed at the Detroit Opera House Theater with the American Ballet Theater for 3 summer seasons from 2004-200, and trained under Andre De La Roche and Rosy Loconte at DanzARt.srl in Bari, Italy in the 2015 summer season. Nicole works as a coach and ballet teacher for Emerald City Academy of Rhythmic Gymnastics (since 2010). She is currently working towards becoming a physical therapist assistant. Nicole began training with Faith Jensen-Ismay at Mesa college in 2012, and has been dancing with Core Group & Mojalet Dance Collective since 2014 and is so happy and in love with the wonderful dance environment it provides.
NEFTALI VALLE His full name is Neftali Valle, but you can call him Nef or Neft for short. Nef was born and raised in southern San Diego in Barrio Logan. He attended the University of California, San Diego and graduated with a BA in Ethnic Studies and Critical Gender Studies with a minor in Law and Society. He started his formal dance training after college at at San Diego Mesa Community College. He took hip hop, modern, jazz and ballet with instructors such as Donna Flournoy, Blythe Barton and of course Faith Jensen-Ismay. Faith started Nef in Core Group, the dance company in training, then proceeded to invite him to Mojalet. Nef has participated in Mojalet’s Educational Outreach Programs in which the company visits schools to teach children how they can incorporate dance into everyday activities and learning. Other dance related experiences include dancing at Culture Shock Dance Center in the Shock Army dance group led by Anthony Rodriguez as well as San Diego Dance Theatre’s Trolley Dances. Outside of dance, Nef works as a secretary for the County of San Diego during the week, and a barista at Peet’s Coffee & Tea on the weekend. Nef brings a lot of passion and commitment to the work he does and hopes to continue dancing for the rest of his life in any capacity, whether it be professionally or as a personal hobby.
CHRISTINA WURZ is originally from the Bronx, NY and started training at the Bronx Dance Theater. From there she attended the famous New York City High school of Performing Arts. She completed her formal dance education with a B.F.A. in dance at the University of Hartford, Hartt School in Connecticut; there she was trained by the world famous ballerina Alla Osipenko and Martha Graham protégé Peggy Lyman. Some of her accomplishments include Mojalet Core Group, Full Force Dance Theater, BalletNeo, San Diego Dance Theater, Terry Wilson and Dancers, Burklyn Ballet Theater, Dance Connecticut’s Touring Ensemble, New West Ballet Theater and West Coast Ballet Theater. Christina currently owns New West Ballet School in San Marcos where she directs classical ballet productions and trains the next generation of ballet dancers. Christina began training with Faith Jensen-Ismay in 2013 and performing with Mojalet in 2014 in the Rhythm Talk Swiss collaboration production, "On The Move".
Core Group Dancers
JANET ALVIS - Board Member
JANET ALVIS has had a passion for dance since she was a young child, and has trained in Ballet, Jazz, Tap and Contemporary Dance. In addition to pursuing her love for the arts, Janet manages a dental practice in Alpine, is very active in her church, and enjoys time with her amazing family. Janet is passionate about working with the Mojalet Company and Core Group as a dancer, choreographer, and as a Board member to help facilitate the many Outreach opportunities to members of the community of all ages and diversity.
AMYLIN CANARIA grew up predominantly in San Diego with a love of the performing arts. In her youth she played the piano, flute, and percussion. She earned her BA in Theatre Arts with an emphasis in performance from California State University, Long Beach. It was during her third year that she took her very first dance class and fell in love with communicating and expressing through movement. Her training later extended to classes at Cypress College, Malashock and San Diego Mesa College where she eventually met Faith Jensen-Ismay. Her training includes ballet, jazz, tap, modern, some ballroom, and even less belly dance. I’m addition to Faith, she has trained with and/or performed works by Marie Hoffman, Colleen Shipkowski, Aulani Chun, Nancy Boskin-Mullen, Donna Flournoy, Traves Butterworth, Michael Mizerany, and Khamla Somphanh. Amylin enjoys the rehearsal process along with performing and looks forward to perfecting her craft.
ALYSSA COMBS started dancing when she was 6 years old, training in ballet with New West Ballet School. She gained exposure to other dance styles including jazz, hip hop, and contemporary on her Varsity high school dance team. She attended UCSD for aerospace engineering and used dance classes for electives wherever she could. She also joined the contemporary dance team. After graduating she continued to take ballet classes on and off until finding Mojalet, where she is enjoying growing more in the contemporary and modern styles. When she isn’t dancing, Alyssa enjoys playing piano and spending time with her loved ones.
AVERY GOUDSWAARD found her passion for dancing when she was 4 years old. She is currently attending San Diego Mesa Community College, and is majoring in psychology. She has danced at 3 dance studios along the east - coast. She has been in the Nutcracker, many different parades, and danced along side with kids bop. She connected with Faith through Mesa and now she's grateful to say she is part of the Mojalet dance family and is excited for her future.
RYAN LEE HARIS
RYAN LEE HARRIS didn’t find his passion for dancing until college while attending SDSU. He began as a freestyle dancer in hip hop and then joined and performed with Kruccial Element. He also has a background in ballroom dancing via Arthur Murray and Balboa Park Ballroom Dancers. Ryan Lee has been dancing with the Mojalet family since 2015. Though Faith was his first technique teacher years before that at SDSU (jazz), they would reconnect at Mesa College. Ryan Lee also enjoys choreographing and is blessed to have the mentorship of Faith Jensen-Ismay.
LAUREN LUHMANN - Board Secretary
LAUREN LUHMANN began dancing while an undergraduate at UC San Diego, taking classes in ballet and jazz. She continued taking classes following graduation, training in modern dance with Faith Jensen-Ismay at Palomar College from 1992-1998. After a nine-year hiatus, Lauren returned to dance with Faith as an original member of Mojalet's Core Group, and has also been an extended cast member in special projects with Mojalet. She has also served on Mojalet’s Board of Directors since 2014, and as Secretary since 2015. Lauren holds a BS in Bioengineering and a minor in Music from UC San Diego, an MA in Biomechanics from San Diego State University, and a Paralegal Certificate from University of San Diego. She began her professional career working in the medical device industry, but in 2005 transitioned to a career as a paralegal working in environmental law at a global law firm. Lauren is grateful to Faith for the incredible experiences she has been offered as a dancer, and for the wonderful Mojalet community that has become her second family. As a board member, she is delighted to utilize her professional skills to help support Mojalet’s mission.