Mrs. Derby.jpg

Ann Derby
Owner and Director

Mrs. Derby began her training in Petaluma under Mary Paula, then director of Petaluma School of Ballet. She continued her studies at San Francisco Ballet, dancing with Marin Ballet, Rhebus Modern Dance Company and Sonoma County Ballet Company.
She has two Bachelor of Arts Degrees from San Francisco State University in Dance and Technical Theater and has taught dance for many years in Sonoma County, purchasing Petaluma School of Ballet in 1982 and becoming director of North Coast Ballet California in 1985.


Zoura.jpg

Zoura O'Neill

Zoura O'Neill has been on staff at Petaluma School of Ballet since 1985. She enjoys teaching all levels of ballet and is the Co-Artistic Director of North Coast Ballet California.  Zoura taught ballet and character to the Junior Level dancers at Regional Dance America/Pacific's Festivals in 2015 and 2016. She has choreographed many classical and contemporary works for NCBC and full length story ballets as well. 

Ms. O'Neill's early training began at Petaluma School of Ballet under the direction of Mary Paula.  She also trained with Anita Kane and Harold Christensen.   Zoura was awarded a full scholarship to San Francisco Ballet's Summer Intensive in 1978 and 1979 and was then invited to train at SFB year round on scholarship under the direction of Richard Cammack.  Her teachers included Zola Dishong, Christine Bering, Anatole Vilzak, Jocelyn Vollmar and Larry Grenier.  She performed in SFB's Nutcrackers and Spring concerts.  Zoura was invited to perform in San Francisco Ballet's 50th Anniversary Gala as a Flower in Lew Christensen's Waltz of the Flowers from The Nutcracker.  Gene Kelly was the Master of Ceremonies and Zoura was thrilled to have met him!

Zoura was one of the original company dancers of Petaluma City Ballet (now North Coast Ballet California) and also performed with Redwood Empire Ballet and Marin Ballet.  As a company dancer with Marin Ballet, Zoura performed in the annual Nutcracker Ballet as well as Spring Productions.  She danced the lead role of Fortuna in Ruth Petrinovic's Carmina Burana. 

 Zoura went on to receive her Associate of Arts Degree from SRJC and her Bachelor of Arts degree from Sonoma State University.  She completed the Teacher Training Course from Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and is a certified Progressing Ballet Technique Instructor.

Zoura has been passionate about musical theatre since a child.  As a teen she performed  in Petaluma's Harmoneers & Harmonettes productions of Hello Dolly, Annie Get Your Gun, Oklahoma and The Music Man.  She also was The Experiential Theater Company Choreographer for their production of Chorus Line and Godspell.  Her love of tap dancing and Musical Theatre still continues as she passes on her knowledge and love of dance to her students.

Besides all that is dance, Zoura enjoys boating and camping with her family, scrapbooking with friends and wine tasting in our beautiful wine country.


your_photo_here-3787d738d74295a33f783015c625c5ae.png

Marilyn Jasoni

Mrs. Jasoni began her ballet training with her aunt Anabel Mueller and teacher/choreographer Mm. Olga Ziceva.  She also studied at San Francisco Ballet School with Harold and Lew Christensen.  In 1961 she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from University of Utah where her ballet instructors were Willam Christensen and Gordon Paxman.  While at U. of U. she was a student teacher and took over teaching duties at various times.  After graduating she joined Alan Howard's Pacific Ballet.  In 1963 she retired from the ballet world to marry and raise a family.  In 1978 she reentered the ballet world as a teacher for Petaluma School of Ballet under the direction of Mary Paula, and then Ann Derby.  She has taught at various schools in Sonoma County for over 35 years. 


13260097_10154317443702139_5588542273042160089_n.jpg

Katy Phimister

Ms. Katy is a Children's Division teacher at Petaluma School of Ballet.  She began her dance training here and has received additional training from San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, Sacramento Ballet, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and Milwaukee Ballet School.  Katy was also a senior member of Petaluma City Ballet (now North Coast Ballet California) performing such roles as Swanhilda in Coppelia, Princess Florine in Sleeping Beauty and The Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker.  She supports PSB in its professional level training and performance quality as well as the life long lessons (and friends!) that come from being a dancer here.  In her spare time she enjoys Giants baseball, taking Inferno Hot Pilates and snuggling with her dogs, Sophie and Stella. 


JenniferJaffe-191x300.jpg

Jennifer Jaffe

In 1994, Jennifer became a founding member of Smuin Ballet S/F where she danced until 1998 performing principle roles in the Christmas Ballet, Dances with Songs, Bouquet, Songs of Mahler, the Tempest Suite, and others.  With the company she has had the honor of being on film in the Fantastiks, A Walk in the Clouds, and the Return of the Jedi Special Edition. In addition, Jennifer performed in the televised broadcast of Ira Gershwin at 100 live from Carnegie Hall. She has also danced with The San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Sacramento Ballet, and The Ohio Ballet.  Jennifer has taught at numerous Bay Area studios including San Francisco Dance Center, Westlake School for Performing Arts, Berkeley Ballet Theater, and Stapelton School of the Performing Arts. In addition to PSB, she also teaches at Sonoma State University. Jennifer is working on completing her Master’s degree in History and enjoys taking ballet class and spending time with her fiancee and young son.


Sam photo.jpeg

Samantha Puget

Ms. Sam joined the teaching staff in 2013 and enjoys teaching a wide range of dancers from our three year olds all the way up to our adults.  She joined Petaluma school of Ballet as a dancer at the age of three.  She was trained in classical ballet under the direction of Ann Derby with Zoura O’Neil, and Robert Nichols. She was one of the young dancers to perform in PSB's first nutcracker in 1987 and in following years was honored to perform the rolls of Clara, Snow Queen, and Sugar Plum Fairy. She was also one of the first to join the company now known as North Coast Ballet California when it was first established and had the opportunity to perform and travel throughout high school.  


Samantha received additional training while studying at summer intensive programs at Ballet West Conservatory, San Francisco Ballet, Joffrey Ballet in New York, and Boston Ballet. Growing up with all these experiences has inspired Samantha to share her love and respect for dance with her students.


Samantha has a BA in Liberal Studies with a focus on Child Development and Psychology, and an AA in Social and Behavioral Science. She specializes in working with children who have a variety of special needs. She has enjoyed working in this field for the past 20 years.


10623433_752818911428731_561394067722989237_o.jpg

Farrah McAdam

Farrah McAdam began her dance journey in Southern California from a young age, learning most of her foundations at Peninsula School of Ballet, Lauridsen Ballet Center, Fusion Studios, South High Dance Team and Boogiezone Utopia. From there, she moved up to Northern California to study with Kristen Daley, Christine Cali, Scott Wells, Jennifer Meek, Take 5 and infinite others. Farrah has since performed with CALI&CO, Kristen Daley, Take 5/Good Fortune and multiple works at American College Dance Association’s West Region’s Gala Concert from 2014-2016. In 2016, she had the honor of representing SSU at ACDA’s National Concert at the Kennedy Center with Hannah Ingwerson’s “For Example”.

Farrah also recently premiered her own work “code em” (2018) at SAFEhouse Arts, emphasizing an all POC cast and all original sound in collaboration with BASI VIBE.

Throughout her life, Farrah has found herself naturally drawn to moments of teaching and sharing. From a young age she experienced being teacher’s assistants, substitute teachers, captain of the South High Dance Team and consistently leading the after school training program “Junior Spartans”.  During her time at Sonoma State she helped cofound Blue Baronz Dance Club, helped freshman transition as a Peer Mentor and trained to help facilitate the Collaborative Autism Training and Support program in the Psychology department. Working with children and dance has always been a part of her identity; now Farrah strives to not only provide safe spaces for children (physically and the ones at heart) to express through movement, but a thorough one where history and critical thinking are investigated just as much.

Farrah has been teaching at PSB since 2013 and is currently Adjunct Faculty at Sonoma State University since 2015. She has taught around the West Region including Sonoma State University, Modesto Junior College, Scottsdale Community College, Arizona State University, San Jose State and ODC in San Francisco.  She is a 2015 ADF Summer Alumni, a part of the Urban Bush Women Summer Leadership Institute community and strives to learn and engage with as many as possible. Recent investment in workshops have included Rennie Harris, Auxiliary and 1Up Crew. She holds a BA in both Psychology and Theatre Arts & Dance with a Dance concentration.


DSC00995.jpg

Heather Visser

Heather Visser first shook her booty on stage at the age of two as a “I’m A Little Teapot”! Since then she has gone on to teach hundreds of students and direct numerous jazz dance companies. She has also produced, choreographed and directed dozens of full length productions. Her first one being Aladdin for Petaluma School of Ballet’s Summer Intensive dance at the age of 19.

Heather has an extensive background in ballet from Petaluma School of Ballet, and was taken under the wing of Conna Lee Weinberg of Mindful Spine where she began her Pilates training. She found her first Pilates sessions to be humbling and life changing. She quickly became a Pilates and body alignment enthusiast. To enhance her knowledge and teaching skills she pursued formal training with STOTT Pilates and continues to train under the tutelage of Monica Anderson of Tone Fitness. You will find her referencing and using Pilates as a basis for helping her students understand how to properly use their bodies in movement and dance. You will often hear Heather saying to her students, “Every BODY is unique. You must learn how your body works in order to use it to its full creative potential. Not only is this awareness vital as a dancer but also as a healthy human being.” Heather takes her technical classic jazz background and incorporates it into contemporary, lyrical, musical theatre and jazz funk providing a variety that is exciting to all.

Her current achievements include starting her own dance studio Synergique, teaching at Sonoma State University, teaching at Tone Fitness, as well as Club 6 “being the change”, a dance party promoting positive movement for youth.

Heather’s greatest joy and passions in life are her beautiful little family, friends and the students whom she has had the honor of teaching. (Perhaps because of her first dance performance as a teacup) Heather loves speciality teas and has a beautiful collection of antique tea cups, many of which belonged to her beloved Nonnie and Grandma.


megan jones.jpg

Megan Jones

Megan Jones became a member of the staff in 2007 as an office assistant and a Children’s Division teacher. She spent the majority of her time teaching students ranging from 2 years old to 6 years old until her departure in 2013. She continued having a role on the staff as a substitute teacher and has since returned to the staff part time. She began her dance training under Anita Kane with Marilyn Jasoni at 5 years old and continued her training at Petaluma School of Ballet from 11 years old to adulthood.  Megan was a senior member of Petaluma City Ballet (now North Coast Ballet California) performing such roles as Blue Bird in Sleeping Beauty, Sugar Plum Fairy in the Nutcracker, the Principal Role in Patriotic Suites and several characters in many of the Company’s signature story ballets.  

Megan stayed local getting her Associates degree in Social and Behavioral Sciences from Santa Rosa Junior College. She then transferred to Sonoma State University where she received her BA in Liberal Studies with a focus on education and went on to get her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. She is currently a 3rd grade teacher in Novato Unified School District.

Megan has always loved to dance. She grew up training mostly in ballet but also took classes in Jazz, Tap, Modern, Flamenco and Character. She has always enjoyed performing and now looks forward to seeing her students bring the art of dance to life, on stage. Outside the studio, Megan enjoys running around with her two young children, professional baseball and spending down time at home with her family.  


colette.jpg

Colette Ufholtz

Ms. Colette started her competitive dance career in 2007 at Hart Academy of Dance in La Habra, CA. She danced there until 2017. While studying at Hart Academy she studied tap, ballet, jazz, musical theatre, and lyrical. She has gone to many National competitions and has won many awards at these events. She continued her dance career at Sonoma State by auditioning for the Sonoma State Sapphires Dance Team. She still continues to learn new styles of dance in Sonoma State's dance program and is working to get a minor in Dance. Colette has had dance in her life for so long and cannot imagine her life without it. She can't wait to share her love for dance with the children at PSB!