Faculty and Staff in the Theatre and Dance Department

Full-time Faculty

  • Matthew O’Donnell
    Director of Entertainment Design and Technology
    (510) 659-6433
    modonnell@ohlone.edu
    Room SC-216, Smith Center, second floor, Fremont campus

    Award winning lighting designer Matt O'Donnell has joined the faculty at Ohlone College's Department of Theatre and Dance. Formerly based in L.A., Matt has worked extensively in all aspects of live production - from theatre to international concert touring to corporate and celebrity events. He looks forward to enhancing Ohlone's Entertainment Design Technology program as a training ground for professional technicians and designers.

  • Michael Navarra Smith
    Acting

    Michael works as a professional actor, director, and producer in theatre and film. He earned an MFA in Acting from the University of Washington and is a member of SAG-AFTRA and Actor’s Equity Association. For more information, please visit: www.michaelnavarra.com.

  • Janel Tomblin-Brown
    Director of Dance
    www.ohlone.edu/people/jtomblinbrown/

Adjunct Faculty

  • Dorothy Atkinson

  • Cassie Begley
    Dance

    Cassie is the Founder and Artistic Director of Bliss Dance Company and teaches contemporary and jazz dance at Purdance in San Jose. She holds a B.A. degree in Dance from San Francisco State University where she studied ballet, Dunham, jazz, and composition. She has been trained and influenced by Dr. Susan Sandri, Wendy Diamond, Derik Mitchell, Richard Pierlon, Reginald Savage, and Marcia Cantillana. Cassie’s professional performance credits include works from Wam!net.com, Speaking of Dance, Club La Bomba with Sofia Vergara, Petroushka with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, A Love Symphony,Lumminessence, and Imagine it! Her choreography credits include A Love Symphony, Footnotes, Suite Dreams, Starving Artists, Woman In Love, Music Man,Romeo and Juliet, Ohlone College Spring Dance Productions and Winter Dance Showcases, and many pieces for Bliss Dance Company.

  • Tamara Cooper
    Costume Technology

    Tamara Cooper has been designing and constructing costumes since she was in high school. Her designs have been seen in theatres in Los Angeles, New York, Houston, Pittsburgh, and Northern California. She has an MA from NYU and an MFA from the University of Houston.

  • Jeff Kramer
    Improvisation

    Jeff Kramer is the Founder and Artistic Director of ComedySportz, the Silicon Valley’s longest-running show. He has personally appeared in over 4000 shows, including an overseas tour doing improv for the troops in Italy, Spain, Greece and Turkey. As an actor, he has worked at theatres across the country, including the New Jersey, Idaho, and Oregon Shakespeare Festivals. Jeff is also a voiceover actor and has created hundreds of voices for video games over the years, including the voice of Superman and the cult classic Seaman.

  • Romeo Marquez
    Acting

  • Mark Mendelson
    3D Design Technology

  • Mark Nelson
    Theatre Faculty
    mnelson@ohlone.edu

    Mark continues a long association with the college. He was hired in the fall of 1976, and took a leave of absence from 1983 to 1985 to earn his MFA at UCLA. Mark teaches the Survey of the Arts course, and takes the students on a yearly class to New York City. See more info under "faculty emeritus".

  • Keith Pinto
    Dance

    Keith Pinto is an actor/singer/choreographer/musician/educator and native to the Bay Area. He is a graduate of the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts (PCPA). In addition to Ohlone College he is on the faculty at San Jose State University where he is the Hip Hop Dance instructor. Professionally Keith has worked in numerous productions and toured Europe and North America with Fame the Musical. Other credits: Snoopy 42nd Street Moon, 1776 American Conservatory Theater, Singin’ In The Rain Diablo Theater Company. Pinto is a co-founder of the award winning SF based hip hop crew Felonious. Felonious creates original music and theater including Beatbox: A Raparetta, Angry Black White Boy and Stateless: A Hip Hop Vaudeville. Felonious has recorded numerous albums and has performed in the Bay Area, LA, Chicago, and Germany. As well as shows with Black Eyed Peas, De La Soul, LL Cool J, The Roots, and Erykah Badu. www.feloniouslive.com.

  • Ineke Rush
    Dance

    Ineke Rush received her ballet training at the school of the Dance Theatre of Harlem in New York City. She danced professionally with Dance Theatre of Harlem, Ballethnic Dance Company, Cleveland San Jose Ballet, and Cleveland Contemporary Dance Theatre. She has taught at Ballethnic Academy of Dance, the school of Cleveland Contemporary Dance Theatre, the school of Cleveland San Jose Ballet, the school of Ballet San Jose, and various studios throughout the Bay Area.

  • Robert Selinske

    Sergio Suarez
    Dance

    Sergio Suarez is one of the most recognizable, and respected Urban Street Dancers in the Bay Area. His artistry and passion for Street Dance has taken him around the world, to compete and perform at some of the industries biggest venues, and events. In 2008, Mr. Suarez created "All The Way Live Foundation," a non-profit organization that helps, inspire, and educate youth living in disadvantaged communities; both locally, and globally through Urban Street Dance. His efforts and impact has not only transformed local/global Urban Street Dance communities, but has helped in educating and furthering the growth and traditions of all the dance styles that encompass Urban Street Dance; otherwise known as Hip Hop Dance.

  • Stephen C. Wathen
    Scenic Painting / Stagecraft Technology

  • Ryan Weible
    Directing

    After working on two Broadway productions (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Assassins), Assistant Directing four off-Broadway productions (including the Public Theatre revival of Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart and III: the winner of the 2008 NY International Fringe Festival), completing graduate school at NYU, ten years educational experience, and a Shellie Award (Best Director for Thoroughly Modern Millie), Ryan is excited to bring his professional and educational experiences to the Ohlone Department of Theatre and Dance, and to help support the Ohlone team make our training program one of the most competitive in the Bay Area. Areas of specialty: Directing, Theatre for Social Change (Augusto Boal), and Brechtian Theory.

Administration and Staff

  • Walt Birkedahl
    Dean, Arts and Social Sciences Division

  • Sheila Holland
    Executive Assistant
    Arts and Social Sciences Division

  • Jasper Gong
    Technical Coordinator

  • Fred Alim
    Staff Technician / Designer
    (510) 659-6169
    falim@ohlone.edu
    Room SC-102, Smith Center, first floor, Fremont campus

    Fred Alim, local native and Ohlone theatre major, has worked with the department for over 20 years as the stage technician. He has designed, built or produced over 100 productions.