Faculty and Staff in the Theatre and Dance Department
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 and Directing
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.
Director of 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 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 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.
3D Design Technology
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 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 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.
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
Administration and Staff
Dean, Arts and Social Sciences Division
Arts and Social Sciences Division
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.