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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 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.


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. 


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. 


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.

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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.


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.


Kelsey Harrigan

Ms. Kelsey began dancing in 2000 at the Petaluma Community Center with Ms. Zoura after seeing San Francisco Ballet’s The Nutcracker and falling in love with it. Once she was older, she then moved to Petaluma School of Ballet where she has been dancing for the past fifteen years. She was part of the company, Petaluma City Ballet (now North Coast Ballet California) for seven years and danced in several of productions with NCBC, her favorite being A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She began teaching at Petaluma School of Ballet in 2015 in the Children’s Division and loves seeing how proud dancers are of themselves after mastering a new step that was once really difficult for them. Ms. Kelsey is earning her bachelor’s degree in Communication and Media Studies with a minor in Spanish from Sonoma State University where she will be graduating from in May 2019. When she is not at school or teaching ballet, Ms. Kelsey enjoys going to the beach, traveling, watercolor painting, and eating burritos!

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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.  

Phil Amer

Philip Amer

Philip Amer began his dance training in Eureka, California with the Redwood Concert Ballet.  He also studied at the San Francisco Ballet School, under the direction of Richard Cammack, Ballet Celeste International in San Francisco and performed with them in Tokyo, Osaka and Kobe, Japan.

Philip joined Cleveland Ballet, under the direction of Dennis Nahat, then spent a season dancing with BalletMet in Columbus, Ohio.  Philip was offered a position with the Sacramento Ballet and spent six years there, where he performed an extensive repertoire of Balanchine ballets, including Rubies, Allegro Brilliante, the Four Temperaments and Prodigal Son.  While with Sacramento Ballet, he also performed principal and soloist roles in Giselle, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet and The Nutcracker.  Philip danced with the James Sewell Ballet in Minneapolis, as well as with the Minnesota Dance Theatre.  Philip performed with San Francisco Opera Ballet in “Aida”, and performed a soloist role in the Russian comic opera “Betrothal in a Monastery.”  Locally, and most recently, he danced with the San Diego Ballet and performed many contemporary and classical works such as “Firebird.”

Philip has been a guest dancer and teacher at the San Diego Civic Youth Ballet, instructing classes in ballet and pas de deux.  His choreography has been performed at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California, the Sherwood Auditorium in La Jolla, California, and Casa de la Cultura in Tijuana, Mexico.  Since moving back to the Bay Area Philip has danced with Company C Contemporary Ballet in Walnut Creek and has done numerous Nutcracker guest appearances around the bay.


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!


Katie Liggett

Ms. Katie began her dance training in 2001 at the Academy of Dance Arts in her hometown of South Lake Tahoe and was apart of the academy for thirteen years. Throughout her dance career, she has been trained in ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, modern, contemporary and hip hop, and was also given the opportunity to take a Heels intensive with Galen Hooks in Los Angeles. She has been lucky enough to be apart of the Sonoma State dance department for four years where she has been performing and furthering her training as she earns her degree. Ms. Katie will be graduating with a Bachelor's in Kinesiology and a minor in dance this May 2019. This past August, she began dancing at Synergique in Santa Rosa to fine-tune her jazz technique and choreography and joined the staff at Petaluma School of Ballet at the beginning of this year. She loves that dance is not only an art, but a language as well, and loves the freedom dance gives her to express what she can't say with words. Her goal is to pass down not only her dance knowledge to her students but her love for dance as well, which is why she loves teaching so much. When she is not dancing, Ms. Katie enjoys camping and laying out in the sun!