Fran Spector Atkins is the Artistic Director and Founder of SpectorDance, located in Marina, CA. SpectorDance's mission is to provide excellence in dance training and performance, accomplished by offering a wide variety of activities that connect diverse artists and audiences, bridge disciplines through collaboration, and celebrate the power of art to inform and inspire. SpectorDance’s vision is to create socially relevant art, expand community, ignite creativity, and fuel the human spirit. To carry out its mission, SpectorDance has a School, Company, SpectorDance On-Site, the Choreographers Showcase, and the Sadie Rose Residency Program. The company's repertoire focuses on contemporary dance that integrates music, spoken word and visual technology, and focuses on socially relevant topics.
Collaboration with outstanding non-arts organizations is key to every Company project. Examples include Common Ground, a collaboration with the United Farm Workers, about California agriculture; East West, a collaboration with Rancho Cielo about gang violence; Ocean our first collaboration with Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) about the state of the world ocean based on filmed interviews with renown ocean scientists, and Ocean Trilogy, a continued dance-science partnership between SpectorDance and MBARI, highlighting hopeful possibilities for ocean health from cutting-edge ocean science research.. The company was selected by The Arts Council for Monterey County as the Outstanding Arts Organization in Monterey County in January 2007 and was a national finalist for the Ovations TV award for Excellence in the Performing Arts.
Spector Atkin’s professional credits include a B. S. in Occupational Therapy from Boston University, an M.F.A. from Mills College in Dance and Choreography, and Certification in Laban Movement Analysis from the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies in NYC. Spector Atkins is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 3 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum.
Spector Atkins began her professional career in New York City, where she performed with the Incredible Journey Dance Company and the Mariko Sanjo Dance Company. Since 1977, she has been an independent teacher and choreographer and directed studios in NYC, Cleveland, and Monterey. She has been invited to teach, choreograph, and perform throughout the United States and abroad. Some of her outstanding experiences include guest teaching and presenting her choreography at Oberlin College, Brown University, at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, and in Denmark, Egypt, England, Israel, the Island of Guam, Taiwan, and Italy. In Fall 2018, SpectorDance Company will perform at the New Victory Theater in Santa Barbara, and In Spring 2019, at Stanford University in Palo Alto and at Sunset Center in Carmel.
Diana Huang – SpectorDance Board President/Treasurer Diana Huang is a Certified Food Scientist. She has worked in the food industry locally and internationally for over 25 years, specialized in food safety, research and development, food laws and regulations, and nutritional science. Diana has volunteered more than 10 years at SpectorDance as well as MBMG (Monterey Bay Master Gardeners).
Amy Byington – Amy Byington was trained in dance (ballet, jazz, modern, character and tap) at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas, Joffrey Ballet School ,and Broadway Dance Center in New York. Amy came to SpectorDance in 2006 to share her love of dance by teaching ballet classes to all ages. In 2009, she accepted the role of Assistant School Director, 2015 Director of the Youth Company, and in 2017 School Director. Amy holds a B.S in Marine Science from Texas A&M University and a M.S in Marine Science from San Jose State University. She is a senior analyst and research technician at the Marine Pollution Studies Laboratory at Moss Landing Maine Laboratories.
Cecilia Contreras Luna - Cecilia Contreras Luna is from Mexico City, she obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology in the National University of Mexico (UNAM), and a Master’s in Education with the Technologic of Monterrey (ITESM). She has been working as educational counselor, teacher, principal and couch in different schools in Mexico and Monterey California. Cecilia is a formal board member and founder of the Dual Language Academy of the Monterey Peninsula Charter School, and has been serving as a Spector Dance board member since 2014. She is currently working as a teacher at Dual language Academy (DLAMP), and continues working in Mexico as educational consulter. Cecilia and Malcolm Mejia have three daughters who have studied at SpectorDance since 2010.
Emily Zefferman - Her love of dance began in Melbourne, Florida, where she took ballet, jazz, lyrical, modern, and tap at her local studio, Dance Arts Center. Her dance training continued at Florida State University and the Southern Academy of Ballet Arts in Tallahassee, FL, Applegate Dance Studio in Davis, CA, and Momentum Dance Lab in Knoxville, TN. Emily is passionate about environmental issues and has a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from Florida State University and a PhD in Ecology from UC Davis. She joined SpectorDance Company in 2017 and the Board of Directors in 2018. She works as the Ecologist for the Resource Conservation District of Monterey County in Salinas.
Melissa Karasek - SpectorDance Board Member, Melissa Karasek is a Monterey County native, and is presently pursuing a degree in business administration. She currently teaches weekly ballet and jazz classes at SpectorDance and works as a choreographer and performer through the Carmel Delights dance company, Monterey Peninsula Unified School District, Monterey High School theater department and various independent projects. Melissa has spent years working, volunteering and serving on boards for several non-profit causes, intertwining dance and public service, including three years with E.P.I.C. Project, formally Walk and Roll Foundation and E.D.I.F.Y. Movement/YPAD (Youth Protection Advocates in Dance). Melissa joined the SpectorDance Board of Directors in 2017 and assists with SpectorDance’s growing outreach program. “SpectorDance On-Site” provides dance and creative movement opportunities to under-served populations within our community. Melissa is currently teaching Spector On-Site classes at Rancho Cielo Youth Campus and Chartwell School, as well as our upcoming workshop with Porter Youth Center (Summer 2018).
Paige Ettin – SpectorDance Board Member, Originally from Petaluma, CA, Paige Ettin moved to the area to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in Social & Behavioral Sciences from CSU Monterey Bay. She performed in SpectorDance Company's original work, Ocean, in 2010 & 2011, joined the Board of Directors in 2016 and manages the bi-annual Choreographer's Showcase. She lives in Monterey with her husband and is a Catering Manager at the Portola Hotel & Spa.
Advisory Board Dr. Judith Connor – Director of Information and Technology Dissemination, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute Kyra Schlining– SpectorDance Board Emerita Ziona Goren – SpectorDance Board President Emerita Karen A. Cook, L. Ac, QME– SpectorDance Board Emerita Roger L. Thompson– SpectorDance Board Emeritus Jim Atkins – SpectorDance Founder
Administrative Staff Cecelia Contreras Mejia, Trish Anderson, Renee Dove, Angela Updyke Brunet, Toni Gibbs- Bookkeeping and Grant Writing Support, Amy Byington / Website & Social Media, Rachel Crawford / Company Administrator
Major Volunteers Bridget and Joseph Eyraud, Toni (SpectorDance Board Emerita) and Mark Gibbs, Rene Bow-Dove, Brian Schlining, Garnett Quarles, Cher Appel, Catherine Fanoe, Angela Updike-Brunet, Trish and Jon Anderson, Missy Hunter, Sara Lyon(SpectorDance Board Emerita), Genevieve Long, Karen Holmes, Kelsey Hand, Ezra and Stephanie Allen, Sang Morris, Mikki Von Berg
We are currently looking for additional Board members from our community. Download the recruitment letter here for more information.