Faculty & Staff

Robert Porch

Robert Porch

Director, Ballroom Dance Conservatory

Teaches: Latin Ballroom, Standard Ballroom

robert.porch@ocsarts.net

Robert Porch earned a master’s degree in theatre performance from the University of California, Los Angeles. He has been part of several ballroom touring shows, a Las Vegas residency show, and the U.K. filming of the stage show Simply Ballroom. He also served as the ballroom specialist for Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises. While in New York City, Mr. Porch was a full-time instructor with Fred Astaire Dance Studios. He currently teaches at You Can Dance Studios for Anna Trebunskaya, studio owner and professional on Dancing with the Stars.

Since Mr. Porch became the coordinator of the Ballroom Dance Program, the program has doubled in size and attracted some of the finest ballroom dancers and teachers in the area. He choreographed many of the Ballroom Dance students' competition routines and directed the ballroom showcases. He also coaches and choreographs the outreach performance group, Ballroom Stars and teaches in the Elective Program. 

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Eddie Alba

Eddie Alba

Instructor

Teaches: American Smooth Ballroom

eddie.alba@ocsarts.net

As a professional competitor in the American Smooth division from 1995 to 2006, Mr. Alba was a Rising Star Champion and a Finalist in the World Championships. He is a certified judge in five styles of ballroom dancing, including American Smooth, American Rhythm, International Latin, International Standard, and Theatre Arts. He is the reigning Male International Standard World Champion in the A Division, having received the title in 2014.  Previously, he was the 2008 North American Male Latin Champion. Mr. Alba is also on the board of directors for the North American Same-Sex Partner Dance Association (NASSPDA).

Mr. Alba collaborated with world renowned choreographers and performers, such as Cheryl Burke, Jean Marc Genereux, Wendy Johnson, Tony Meredith, and Jonathan Roberts. He is a versatile and creative choreographer in his own right; his work for television includes TLC’s reality television show Ballroom Bootcamp and choreography for ABC's Dancing with the Stars for 9 seasons. Mr. Alba is the owner of Century Dancesport, Orange County's Premiere Dance Studio since 2009.

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Stefan Badea

Stefan Badea

Instructor

stefan.badea@ocsarts.net

Stefan Badea is originally from Romania, and has been dancing with his partner Madalina Varlam, since they were 6 and 7 years old, representing ballroom for 15 years now. They quickly became the top couple in Canada, winning seven undefeated Alberta Amateur Championships in Standard and 10-Dance. They have achieved high results by becoming Youth Canadian Finalists, Canadian 10 Dance Champions, Under 21 Standard Canadian Champions as well as Canadian Amateur Adult Standard Vice-Champions. On top of being strong in the competitive field, it has not stopped them from venturing into showcase performances and special events. They hope to inspire and encourage others to set and achieve their goals and are proud to continue to be great ambassadors for the sport.

Stuart Cole

Stuart Cole

Instructor

Teaches: Standard Ballroom Technique

stuart.cole@ocsarts.net

Stuart Cole choreographs competition and showcase routines for senior dancers in the Ballroom Program. He has also featured several students in showcases at his dance studio, Fullerton Dancesport Center. Mr. Cole has more than 50 years of experience in the world of ballroom and Latin dance as a competitor, coach, and judge. 

Mr. Cole had an extensive and illustrious competitive career as both an amateur and professional. During his amateur career, he reached the British Open (Blackpool) Youth Finalist five times. He was both the Scottish International Ballroom champion and Scottish 10 Dance champion. During Mr.Cole's professional career, he placed first or second in every major competition in the United States, reaching the national final five times. He was the Vice-Champion of the United States, the national representative to the World Championships, and a U.S. National representative for the British Open (Blackpool) Team Match. Domestically, he is regarded as the best male dancer of his era. Mr. Cole is currently an active coach and judge of DanceSport, teaching and judging both at home and abroad. He was most recently selected to judge at the United States National Championships held in Orlando, Florida.

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Erik Cyr

Erik Cyr

Instructor

Teaches: Latin Ballroom

erik.cyr@ocsarts.net

Erik Cyr choreographs the Latin competition routines that the students perform throughout the year. He has also been the Master Guest Choreographer for the program’s Ballroom Showcase and high-profile events including OCSA’s Season Finale. He is the sole choreographer and coach of the award-winning Latin Formation team. Mr. Cyr also teaches ballroom in OCSA’s Elective Program.

Mr. Cyr and his wife advanced through the professional ranks, becoming the National Canadian Open Latin finalists and the U.S. Rising Star Latin Couple of the Year. Mr. Cyr has choreographed for Asia Entertainment, Days of Our Lives, and assisted on So You Think You Can Dance, and the feature film Funkytown. Mr. Cyr served as the Claremont Colleges Ballroom team advisor. The Cyrs produce and film world class instructors for their online dance studio, DanceSportPlace.com, created for competitive dancers of every level to reach their dance goals.

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Melissa Cyr

Melissa Cyr

Instructor

Teaches: Latin Ballroom Technique

melissa.cyr@ocsarts.net

Melissa Cyr had a successful early career in American Rhythm, winning several Rising Star Championships. She later switched to International Latin. Along with her husband, the two advanced through the professional ranks, becoming the National Canadian Open Latin finalists and the U.S. Rising Star Latin Couple of the Year. Mrs. Cyr appeared on GoodLife TV and in two television dance series, winning the second season with her contestant partner. She choreographed numbers for Asia Entertainment, Paris by Night, Days of Our Lives, and assisted on So You Think You Can Dance.

Jennifer Kanchukova

Jennifer Kanchukova

Instructor

jennifer.kanchukova@ocsarts.net

Jennifer Kanchukova holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, San Diego. She is a professional Latin dance instructor and competitor. She studied dance with many top coaches and past world champions, including: Donnie Burns, Allan Tornsberg, Paul Killick, and Richard Porter. She is the founder of the Dancier Ballroom Company, DBA, and she has taught at numerous dance studios, as well, including: Synergy Dance Zone, Lai Lai Ballroom, Star Dance Studio, Avant Garde Ballroom, and many more. She has also been the champion and finalist at several Dancesport competitions.

Allie Spinder

Allie Spinder

Instructor

Allie Spinder graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Dance Education. She was a member of the world renowned BYU Ballroom Dance Company. Her team won first place at the British Formation Championships in Blackpool. While attending BYU, Ms. Spinder developed a dance program for people with special needs which continues today. She is married to her dance partner, Kyle Spinder. Together they are 9-dance Finalists, 2-time World Professional Smooth Finalists, as well as current United States Open Professional Smooth Finalists. In 2015, they introduced American Smooth to the world at the championship in Blackpool, England. 

Kyle Spinder

Kyle Spinder

Instructor

Kyle Spinder's ballroom dance journey began when he enrolled in a preteen ballroom program in Utah. He was a winner from the start and kept moving forward. He attended Brigham Young University and were members of the world renowned BYU Ballroom Dance Company placing 1st at the British Formation Championship in Blackpool, England. 

He and his wife and dance partner Allie Spinder are both licentiate members of the Imperial Society of Dance. The couple currently resides in South Orange County and teaches at Sway Ballroom Dance. They have won many dance titles together and are US Amateur 10-dance finalists, US Amateur Standard semifinalists, 2 time US Amateur Smooth Champions, Professional Rising Star American Smooth Vice Champions, 9-dance Finalists, 2-time World Professional Finalists, as well as United States Professional American Smooth Finalists. 

John Swiger

John Swiger

Instructor

john.swiger@ocsarts.net

John Swiger is a proud graduate of the OCSA Ballroom program. Mr. Swiger is an Amateur Youth and Under 21 Latin Champion and Finalist. He won first place in Youth Latin at the Great Gatsby Dancesport Championships in SanDiego, he is an Under 21 Latin finalist at the USA Dance Nationals in Baltimore, and Under 21 Latin Jr. Olympic Gold medalist. While at OCSA, he received the program's highest honor -- The Director's Award and was the Captain of OCSA's award-winning Latin Formation Team.

Briana Suakjian

Briana Suakjian

Instructor

With her natural rhythmic aptitude and musicality, Briana Suakjian started formal dance classes at the age of two and continued her training in classical ballet, jazz, tap, modern/contemporary, hip-hop, musical theatre, pas de deux, and pointe. Having received the title of Miss Teen Dance in 1999 and Miss Dance of Southern California in 2002, she continued on to complete her degree in dance. As a principle ballerina for Ballet Repertory Theater, she performed in the Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Coppelia, and many others. She then continued her training in international ballroom and Latin, as well as American smooth and rhythm. In 2010, she won the United States Pro/Am Closed Silver Championship title, United States Pro/am Open Smooth Championship title, United States Pro/am Grand Championship title, World Pro/Am Rising Star title, and World Pro/Am Open Smooth Championship title. Since turning professional in 2011, she has continued to teach and choreograph, assisting in shows such as So You Think You Can Dance, and the stage production of Where's My Money.

Kris Suakjian

Kris Suakjian

Instructor

As a child and teen, Kris Suakjian trained in football, soccer, baseball, and track, giving him the athleticism and coordination necessary to continue into the artistic arena of dance. He captured the attention of a Fred Astaire representative during a school dance, who convinced him to audition for a teacher training program. Passing with flying colors, he continued on to teach and compete with his students in American smooth and rhythm.  At the same time, he attended college and earned his degree in psychology, making the decision to become a full-time independent ballroom professional after graduation. He started competing with his professional rhythm partner in 2004 and became a United States Rising Star Finalist in 2007.

Taking advantage of his strength and agility, he also taught theatre arts and achieved the U.S. and World Pro/Am Theatre Arts titles in 2005, 2006, and 2007. He continued his training in international ballroom and Latin and by 2010, he and his professional partner had earned the U.S. Professional Rising Star American Smooth title and became a World Open Professional American Smooth Finalist. He has choreographed and assisted on the show So You Think You Can Dance with Toni Redpath and Toni Meredith, and has also worked on Dancing With The Stars helping Donnie Osmond and Kim with Heather Smith.

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Madalina Varlam

Madalina Varlam

Instructor

madalina.varlam@ocsarts.net

Madalina Varlam is originally from Romania, and has been dancing with her partner Stefan Badea since they were 6 and 7 years old representing Canada for 15 years now. They quickly became the top couple, winning in Alberta and Canada, also being asked to perform in many showcases such as The Singing Christmas Tree. They have won seven undefeated Alberta Amateur Championships in Standard and 10-Dance. They have achieved high results by becoming Youth Canadian Finalists, Canadian 10 Dance Champions, Under 21 Standard Canadian Champions as well as Canadian Amateur Adult Standard Vice-Champions. They have developed their dancing skills throughout their career and they have worked hard to fulfill their dancing dreams and goals, as well as inspire and encourage others to set and achieve their goals too.

Mikal Watkins

Mikal Watkins

Instructor

mikal.watkins@ocsarts.net

Mikal Watkins' favorite quote is Snoopy’s: “To dance is to live, to live is to dance!” In his lengthy career teaching and dancing, Mr. Watkins has competed successfully both with his professional partners and his students, garnering many awards throughout the years.
A conservatory teacher since 2016, Mr. Watkins thoroughly enjoys training the next generation of dancers here at OCSA, where he has found a new home to share his love of the art and sport of Ballroom dancing.

Always a man wearing many hats-judge, dance director, coach, choreographer, he has been involved in many aspects of the business of dancing, chief among them being an organizer and co-founder of the Vegas Open Dance Challenge. Held in Las Vegas Nevada since 2003, the competition has drawn couples from throughout the US and Canada, and as far away as Russia, Australia, New Zealand, and Hong Kong.

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Advisory Board

Linda Wakefield

Linda Wakefield

Co-Director

BYU Ballroom Dance Touring Company

Former US Theater Arts Champion

Linda Wakefield, along with her husband Lee, began dancing professionally in 1974. They competed professionally for fourteen years in the Ballroom, Latin, and Theatrical Arts (Exhibition) styles. They won two United States National Professional Championships and placed third at the 1980 World Professional Exhibition Championships in the Theatrical Arts division. They also represented the United States of America at the British Professional invitational Exhibition Championship in Blackpool, England. The Wakefields have also judged 21 World Championships, as well as an additional seven other national or major championships overseas.

In 1995, Mrs. Wakefield hosted the live broadcast of the Northwest Dance Championships and subsequently became the host of both GoodLife Television’s DanceSport series and TLC’s Ballroom Boot Camp. In the past several years, the Wakefields have received a number of awards recognizing their contributions to Ballroom Dance nationally, including: National Dance Council of America U.S. DanceSport Hall of Fame, Millennium Lifetime Achievement Award, U.S. Dance Championships Hall of Fame, National Dance Association Heritage Award, the Hanlon-Ford Award, and World Masters Hall of Fame.

"The first time I saw this program perform at a competition, I was instantly impressed with the quality of dancing. It was evident that they had a team of qualified instructors mentoring the students in a positive and artistic way. I am certain the teachers will nurture the full potential of these young dancers, and I could see this growing into a nationally recognized ballroom program. Well done."

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Stuart Cole

Stuart Cole

World Champion Ballroom Dancer

Adjudicator

Owner & Dance Director, Fullerton Dancesport Center

Stuart Cole choreographs competition and showcase routines for senior dancers in the Ballroom Program. He has also featured several students in showcases at his dance studio, Fullerton Dancesport Center. Mr. Cole has more than 50 years of experience in the world of ballroom and Latin dance as a competitor, coach, and judge. 

Mr. Cole had an extensive and illustrious competitive career as both an amateur and professional. During his amateur career, he reached the British Open (Blackpool) Youth Finalist five times. He was both the Scottish International Ballroom champion and Scottish 10 Dance champion. During Mr.Cole's professional career, he placed first or second in every major competition in the United States, reaching the national final five times. He was the Vice-Champion of the United States, the national representative to the World Championships, and a U.S. National representative for the British Open (Blackpool) Team Match. Domestically, he is regarded as the best male dancer of his era. Mr. Cole is currently an active coach and judge of DanceSport, teaching and judging both at home and abroad. He was most recently selected to judge at the United States National Championships held in Orlando, Florida.

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Irina Suvorov

Irina Suvorov

World Champion Ballroom Dancer

Adjudicator

Co-Organizer, Desert Classic Dancesport

Irina Suvorov, along with her husband Igor, is a former Modern, Latin, and 10-Dance Russian Champion, British Open (Blackpool) Rising Star Champion, Asian-Pacific Champion, and U.S. Representative to the World Championships. Currently, she is a coach, judge, and organizer of the Desert Classic DanceSport Championships. Originally from Russia, she came to the United States in 1990 and live in Huntington Beach, California.

"The OCSA Ballroom Dance Program has the potential to be a great ballroom training program. I look forward to seeing high level competitors coming from this school."

Irina Trebunskaya

Irina Trebunskaya

Russian Professional Champion Finalist

U.S. Pro/Am Champion

Co-Owner, You Can Dance Studio

Irina Trebunskaya is the co-owner of You Can Dance Studio with her daughter, professional dancer on Dancing with the Stars, Anna Trebunskaya. Irina Trebunskaya has a rich dance background as a competitor, instructor, and manager of dance institutions. She was a Russian professional champion finalist and a U.S. Pro/Am champion.

After a successful tenure as head instructor in Chelyabinsk (a well-known Russian home for world champions), Mrs. Trebunskaya opened and ran a dance studio in New York City. Her heart and passion is reflected in her teaching, instructor selection, and teacher/student mentoring. She has gone on to become a certified master of dance in all four styles: International Standard, Latin, American Rhythm, and Smooth.

"I like that the students of the OCSA Ballroom Dance Program get a well-rounded education, along with experience in performing and competing as DanceSport athletes. They can use this knowledge and these skills in many different areas— becoming a professional dancer, teacher, business owner, or anything they do in life."

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Anna Trebunskaya

Anna Trebunskaya

Dancing with the Stars Professional & Choreographer

Co-Owner, You Can Dance Studio

Anna Trebunskaya began dancing at the age of six in her parents’ dance studio in Russia. At seven, she entered her first dance competition, which she won, and she has been dancing ever since. At 17, she moved to the United States to further pursue her dance career in New York City. She won the USA Amateur Youth Standard Championships in 1998. In 2000, she moved to California to dance competitively. Ms. Trebunskaya now lives in Los Angeles, where she co-owns her ballroom dance studio You Can Dance in Hermosa Beach. She travels around the country teaching and doing shows, when she’s not dancing on Dancing with the Stars!

"I really like seeing students learning in-depth ballroom, Latin and other styles of dance. The students of the OCSA Ballroom Dance Program are becoming specialists with a wide range of expertise and experience. These skills are necessary to be a performer on TV shows like Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance."

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Erik Cyr

Erik Cyr

Owner, Dance Director & Coach

DanceSport Place

Erik Cyr choreographs the Latin competition routines that the students perform throughout the year. He has also been the Master Guest Choreographer for the program’s Ballroom Showcase and high-profile events including OCSA’s Season Finale. He is the sole choreographer and coach of the award-winning Latin Formation team. Mr. Cyr also teaches ballroom in OCSA’s Elective Program.

Mr. Cyr and his wife advanced through the professional ranks, becoming the National Canadian Open Latin finalists and the U.S. Rising Star Latin Couple of the Year. Mr. Cyr has choreographed for Asia Entertainment, Days of Our Lives, and assisted on So You Think You Can Dance, and the feature film Funkytown. Mr. Cyr served as the Claremont Colleges Ballroom team advisor. The Cyrs produce and film world class instructors for their online dance studio, DanceSportPlace.com, created for competitive dancers of every level to reach their dance goals.

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Melissa Cyr

Melissa Cyr

Owner & Coach

DanceSport Place

Melissa Cyr had a successful early career in American Rhythm, winning several Rising Star Championships. She later switched to International Latin. Along with her husband, the two advanced through the professional ranks, becoming the National Canadian Open Latin finalists and the U.S. Rising Star Latin Couple of the Year. Mrs. Cyr appeared on GoodLife TV and in two television dance series, winning the second season with her contestant partner. She choreographed numbers for Asia Entertainment, Paris by Night, Days of Our Lives, and assisted on So You Think You Can Dance.   

Eddie Alba

Eddie Alba

World Champion Ballroom Dancer

Co-Owner & Choreographer, Century DanceSport

As a professional competitor in the American Smooth division from 1995 to 2006, Mr. Alba was a Rising Star Champion and a Finalist in the World Championships. He is a certified judge in five styles of ballroom dancing, including American Smooth, American Rhythm, International Latin, International Standard, and Theatre Arts. He is the reigning Male International Standard World Champion in the A Division, having received the title in 2014.  Previously, he was the 2008 North American Male Latin Champion. Mr. Alba is also on the board of directors for the North American Same-Sex Partner Dance Association (NASSPDA). 

Mr. Alba collaborated with world renowned choreographers and performers, such as Cheryl Burke, Jean Marc Genereux, Wendy Johnson, Tony Meredith, and Jonathan Roberts. He is a versatile and creative choreographer in his own right; his work for television includes TLC’s reality television show Ballroom Bootcamp and choreography for ABC's Dancing with the Stars for 9 seasons. Mr. Alba is the owner of Century Dancesport, Orange County's Premiere Dance Studio since 2009.

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