Our Artists

Alex Bootzin – Founder/Voice & Piano: Private Instruction in Advanced Piano & Voice. Alex along with his late wife Martha, co-founded the Spindrift School of Performing Arts back in 1994. Alex’s training and experience include a B.A. degree in Piano Performance and a M.A. in Musicology from the University of California. His education includes many years of study with European master teacher, Dusi Mura. Alex is committed to sharing his experience and knowledge with young people. He is also active as a pianist and music director throughout the Bay Area and is currently the Associate Music Director at First Presbyterian Church of Burlingame. He also leads a jazz quartet called Nucleus.

“The arts are a metaphor for life, and as such, play a vital role in a young person’s balanced and well-rounded development. They can do the same for adults, regardless of their age! Music, especially, touches the emotions in a way that few other mediums can. Studying and playing music can be an avenue for all manner of growth, healing, breakthrough, and success. My goal is for my students to express themselves in a way that draws forth who they really are.” Email Me


Lennon Smith – SSPA Production Manager.  Lennon started her theatre training at Southern Utah University in Cedar City, home of the renown Utah Shakespearian Theatre.  There in SUU’s small theatre company, she was fortunate to learn all aspects of theatre:  acting, directing, set, costume and lighting techniques and how to do “theatre on shoestring”.  She finished her BA in Theatre at Cal State Long Beach where she received more intensive training in directing for the stage.  During her college years she performed roles in many plays and musicals directed students projects and collaborated on new plays.  She received a teaching credential for secondary teaching and was a middle and high school drama teacher for most of the 1980’s where she directed young people in many plays.  She went back to grad school and earned a masters in counseling psychology and moved from teaching to a career as a psychotherapist.  She continued her theatre work and directed many plays and musicals at theatres in the Bay Area like Palo Alto Players, Dragon Production, Theatre Period!, Coastal Rep and Pacifica Spindrift Players and has been seen onstage many times in Pacifica. Some of the shows she has directed are:  Beehive, The Spitfire Grill, Sylvia, Middle Aged White Guys, Dead Man’s Cell phone, Aftermath, The Exonerated, Moonlight & Magnolias, Chekhov in Yalta, Private Eyes, Becky’s New Car, Lost in Yonkers, Fuddy Meers, Five Women Wearing the Same Dress, Pippin and many others. She has also continued her training through special studies, ie: Directors’ Lab West, Broadway Teachers Workshop, and LaMaMa International Directors’ Forum.  She attends theatre whenever possible as she finds seeing plays among the best way to stay in touch with the art and to continue to learn to be a better director.  She makes regular trips to Broadway, and travels to regional theatres and the West End whenever possible.

Lennon’s role at SSPA is to help teachers and directors in all aspects of our productions and to ensure they have all the resources they need to produce quality shows.  She also researches plays that we decide on for our many classes and performances. She works on special projects assigned to her by our Executive Director, Noelle, and co-produces the Winter Show and other productions with Noelle.Working at SSPA is a wonderful culmination of a long life in theatre for her.  She brings her expertise to new performers and strives to teach students and teachers acting techniques that are practical and lead to great performances.

Osvaldo de Leon, SSPA Director of Music. Intermediate/Adv. Piano and all levels of voice. Osvaldo was the recipient of the Mexican National Fund for Culture and Arts grant in 2011 to finish his graduate studies at San Francisco State University (SFSU); The Avalos Award in 2010 after his interpretation of Latin American Music; and the Concerto Competition at SFSU in 2010; the FINANCIARTE grant in 2006 to produce, direct the opera “La Voix Humaine” by Francis Poulenc; and the Mexican National Fund for Culture and Arts grant in 2003 to study a year at the University of Texas in Austin.
In Mexico he was admired due to his capacity to approach solo repertoire as well as to perform chamber music, accompany singers and instrumentalists, coach opera, and direct choirs both amateur and professional. He has performed with the Russian Chamber Orchestra in Marin California, the Orquesta Filarmonica de Sonora, The San Francisco State University Orchestra, the Orquesta Sinfonica de Nuevo Leon, the Orquesta Juvenil de Nuevo Leon. He has appeared at the Festival Ceiba in Tabasco, Mexico, Encuentro Internacional de Opera in Coahuila, the Vocal Cycle at the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City, the Festival Cultural Tamaulipas, Spring Festival of Radio Nuevo Leon, and the Festival Rio de Bravo in Coahuila. He has conducted with Verismo Opera in Vallejo, CA the productions of Madama Butterfly by G. Puccini, and Il Tabarro by G. Puccini. He conducted with Berkeley Chamber Opera the production of The Marriage of Figaro. He recently has been working at Spindrift School of Performing Arts as Musical Director for their musical theater productions such as A Chorus Line and Seussical the Musical.
Osvaldo finished his Bachelor´s degree in Piano Performance at Escuela Superior de Música y Danza de Monterrey, México and his Master’s degree in Piano Performance and Chamber Music at San Francisco State University. His teachers have been Gerardo Antonio González, Naoya Seino, Gregory Allen and Dr. Roger Woodward. He also has studies in composition under the guidance of Jorge Torres and Georgina Derbez.Email Me

Erica Lopez – Director of Dance. All levels of Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Tap & beg. Hip Hop.Erica graduated from San Francisco State University in May 2016, where she received a B.A. in Dance with a Minor in Political Science. During her time at SFSU, Erica was a member of University Dance Theatre, SFSU’s resident repertory company, from 2013-2015. While in University Dance Theatre, Erica performed works by SFSU dance faculty members Ray Tadio, Cathleen McCarthy, and Wendy Diamond, as well as several works by guest choreographers Raissa Simpson, Kamala Devam, and ODC/Dance’s Brenda Way. She served as Student Director of UDT during the company’s 2014-15 season.  As a member of UDT, Erica also had the pleasure of performing at American College Dance Festival, a regional collegiate dance conference, in both 2014 and 2015. In addition to her involvement as a performer at SFSU, Erica also had the opportunity to showcase her own choreography in the New Moves Student Showcase in 2014. Upon graduation from SFSU, Erica was awarded The Dance Service Award for her contributions to the School of Theatre and Dance.

I feel so privileged to be able to teach at SSPA. Not only does the school offer a welcoming and supportive environment for both its students and teaching artists, but it also feels like a second home. After having taken over a decade of classes at Spindrift, I feel as though my life as a dancer has come full circle. After having received a well-rounded dance education at SSPA and beyond, I am inspired to pass that teaching along to younger artists. As Director of Dance I hope to nurture a love of dance and movement in my students. I seek to offer a comprehensive dance education to all our students in order train well-rounded performers—ones that are thoughtful, creative, and confident. I believe that a physical dance education combined with an intellectual one can help prepare dancers for life outside of the studio.Email Me

gary-schoenfeld-99e2b723Gary Craig Schoenfeld Jr. – Director of Theatre. All levels of Acting, Improv and Musical Theatre. Gary joins the Spindrift Team with a long list of performance & directorial credits Gary has been a teacher with SSPA since early 2016 and teaches all levels of Musical Theatre, directs Play Production classes and teaches in-school drama at Cabrillo. He is also part of an outreach team dedicating to bringing quality theatre opportunities to schools all around the Bay Area. He has always hoped he would have a job like this. He is ready and eager to help inspire the next generation of great artists. Email Me


Matthew Keuter: Acting (all levels), Directing, Playwriting, Solo Performance, the Monologue, Improvisation, Dramaturgy for the Actor.

Matthew Keuter is a playwright, director and teacher. He worked extensively with The Active Theater Company in NYC, directing their inaugural production in 2009 and premiering his play Bridgeboy in 2011. He is currently working with Virginia Repertory Theater on his new play River Ditty, which will premiere in April of 2018. In 2013 he was an Artist in Residence at Arizona State University, where he taught master classes on acting and solo performance, and created the multi-media, noir musical, The Tenement, which was invited to the Kennedy Center American Theater College Festival. His plays have been produced in AZ, CA, CO, and NYC. His poetry has appeared in journals across the U.S. The Short Imposition of Living, a book of poetry, is available from Rain Mountain Press, NYC. 

“Teaching is a creative practice, and must continually be invigorating by new explorations of the craft: techniques and pedagogies. Theater is a living, breathing art, in order to practice theater, one must participate in theater. After all, acting is doing! But you have to believe in what you’re doing. By training to be theatrical artists, we are training our ability to believe, to live truthfully inside the imagined circumstances of the play – and sharpen the tools necessary to share those beliefs not only with your fellow actors, but with an audience.”




Casey Robbins_2

Casey Robbins: Musical Theatre and Acting Instructor: All levels of Acting and Improvisation, Directing, Play Writing, Musical Direction.
Casey is a recent graduate from San Francisco State University where he received a Bachelor’s of Arts in Drama.  Having studied extensively the arts of acting, directing, musical composition, improv and playwriting, Casey can’t wait to share his passions with the community of the Spindrift School of Performing Arts!   His work can be seen all over the Bay Area; most- recently as performer and musical director for Idiot String’s O Best Beloved (summer tour 2014, winner of Best of SF Fringe), as musical director for 99 Stock Productions Millicent Scowlworthy, as musical director for The Pied Piper Player’s Summer Theater Conservatory’s productions of Fourty-Five Minutes to Broadway and The Rockin’ Tale of Snow White, and as Director of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Fuddy Meers at SFSU.

“I believe simply, that there is no better way to learn a craft than to teach it.  The beauty of theater and the beauty of collaboration is that no matter what age, background, or artistic level we may be on, we always have something simple and profound to learn from each other and something valuable to give.  I believe that the artists tools we develop together may last a long time indeed, but the imagination, compassion and trust we build with each other will last a life-time.”




Brianna Anthony – Dance Instructor:  all levels Ballet, Pointe, Modern, and Jazz dance. Brianna began teaching at SSPA in the Fall of 2006. She has a BA in Dance from CSULB, is a member of RequisiteDance and has studied under dance greats Joe Goode, Bliss Kohlmeyer, Douglas Neilsen, Keith Johnson, Lauren Johnson, Alaine Haubert, Allison Deane and Barbara Crockett.

“Ever since I discovered my love of dance, it has become a lifeline, as necessary as breathing. There is nothing quite so wonderful as being able to share this, to watch something that brings me such great joy become the passion of another.” Email Me


Rachel Epling: Dance instructor: All levels of ballet, jazz, modern, and beginning hip hop.

Rachel Epling completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and Bachelor of Arts in Biological Anthropology at UC Santa Barbara in 2017— discovering an enriching, complimentary interplay between the two.  While attending UCSB, she had the opportunity to perform works by Anna Halprin, Yvonne Rainer, José Limón, Andrea Miller, Jacqulyn Buglisi, Lilian Manansala, and Gianna Burright, as well as dance faculty choreographers Nancy Colahan and Valerie Huston.  Rachel was a member of the UCSB touring dance company, and has performed in England, Greece, Cyprus, Italy and NYC as a part of the UCSB Dance Company. In addition to performing both at UCSB and around the world, Rachel had the opportunity to show her own work as a part of Junior’s Concert 2016 “Dictionary of Obscured Realities” and Spring Concert 2017 “FREE|FALL”.

“I have found myself in my passion for dance. It has unlocked a new world for me, and everything seems more beautiful when I am moving. I could not imagine an existence in which this art is not a driving aspect of my life. It is such an honor to be teaching at SSPA after receiving my dance training as a student at SSPA. I am so excited to get to share my love of dance with students, and to watch them discover their own love of moving.Email Me

Sarah Escobedo: All levels of Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Tap, and beg. Hip-Hop

Sarah Escobedo is a dancer, choreographer, and teacher. She received her B.A. in Dance from San Francisco State University and is currently working towards an M.F.A. in Dance at Mills College. During her time at SFSU, she was a member of the University Dance Theatre, from 2013-2015 and worked extensively with ODC/Dance’s Brenda Way performing in her repertory works. She currently is dancing with Mills College’s Repertory Company working with faculty Molissa Fenley and Kara Davis. Sarah has had the opportunity to present her own work at New Moves Dance Showcase in 2014 and will be presenting two new works later this year. Sarah has taught for the San Francisco Unified School District for K-5 and has enjoyed working with the non-profit Sunset Neighborhood Beacon Center, bringing dance to after school programs.

“I strive to bring the joy of dance to all my students and give them the confidence and discipline that dance has provided me. I love being able to foster creativity and curiosity in my classes and see the growth in my dancers.“

Email Me

Kelsey Gerber – All levels of ballet, jazz, and hip hop, with a focus in contemporary jazz.

Kelsey is a professional contemporary dance artist based in the bay area, and holds a BFA in Dance performance from UC Irvine.  She has performed works by Twyla Tharp, Brenda Way, Autumn Eckman, Saleemah E. Knight, and many others.  Kelsey specializes in contemporary jazz, and is currently a company member of ka·nei·see | collective and Multiplex Dance.

She educates  students in somatic and kinesiological awareness, while teaching proper technique and encouraging the students to be creative and inspired by movement. Email Me

Lizzie Chapman – Beginning Musical Theatre, Acting, and Jazz, Pre-K/Kinder Dance and Theatre, Beginning Ballet, Tap and Hip-Hop

Lizzie Chapman found her passion for dance 15 years ago when she took a dance class at a summer camp. Since then, she has danced non-stop and dabbled in just about any dance style imaginable. Lizzie’s passion inspired her to study dance in college and she received her Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Dance Studies with double-emphases in Dance Education and Choreography from Humboldt State University in 2014. She also received a minor in Theatre, Performance Emphasis. While at Humboldt State, Lizzie was very active in both the Theatre and Dance departments.  Her senior Interdisciplinary Project, titled “A Story of a Girl”, was chosen to be performed at both the Transformational Justice Festival (in Arcata, CA) and at the American College Dance Festival in Tempe, Arizona.

Before being hired at Spindrift School of Performing Arts, Lizzie also taught Ballroom, Latin, and Swing as a certified instructor at Arthur Murray Dance Center in Millbrae. Lizzie currently also teaches Jazz, Ballet, and Pre-K Dance at Small Fry Dance Club in San Mateo. Lizzie looks forward to a lifetime career as a dance educator and dreams to own her own dance studio one day.

“I highly believe that everyone, no matter what background they come from, has a story to tell. I teach dance and theater because they are extremely intimate art forms where the artist can simply bare all, with the protection of the fourth wall. To express yourself in such a way is a very powerful thing, and that vulnerability can help people understand each other on a higher level. This isn’t just something reserved for the older or advanced students either. Even in a beginning theatre class, you begin to see the foundation of great minds, hearts, and personalities, and that’s a very special thing to see.”

walter_headshotWalter Anderson – Piano Instructor, all levels.
Walter is a performer, educator, and composer. He holds a Bachelor of Music with an emphasis in music education and piano performance from San Francisco State University, where he also received his teaching credential. Walter teaches K-12 in the San Francisco Unified School District, as well as private piano and theory/musicianship skills. He accompanies singers and ensembles regularly throughout the bay area. His compositions have been featured by ensembles in the bay area and beyond.

“I believe in a well-rounded approach to piano playing – integrating theoretical and historical knowledge with a strong technical foundation that enables and empowers an individual’s musical spirit. Everyone has their own unique, musical voice, and to enable yourself or someone you love to use, develop, and master that voice is one of the greatest gifts that can ever be given.” Email Me


Ami Nashimoto all levels of Cello. is a prominent member of the Bay Area music scene, playing with numerous ensembles and bands including The Holloway String Quartet, Mission Baroque, All My Pretty Ones, as well as playing in numerous orchestras and pit orchestras. She studied chamber music under coaches including the Alexander String Quartet, Martina Trumpp, and Yuval Yaron; cello under Carol Rice, Geoffrey Rutkowski, Mario De Secondi, and Sandy Wilson; and played in master classes taught by such artists as the Juilliard String Quartet, Toby Appel, and David Requiro. She studied cello at the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts, University of California Santa Barbara, San Francisco State University for a Masters in Music, and most recently at the Musikhochschule Trossingen in Germany.

Ami has been teaching the young and young-at-heart since 2008, working with students of all levels. Email Me

luke 2Luke Doughty – Guitar Instructor.  All levels of acoustic and electric Guitar and Bass. All levels of Ukelele. Beg/Int. Banjo and Piano Luke has played guitar for 20 years and has been teaching music for 6 years. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from UC Berkeley and a Master’s degree in Philosophy from San Francisco State University.  He has studied music theory extensively, both within the university and independently.  The primary styles of music that he focuses on are gypsy jazz, early blues, classical, rock, and Irish music. Luke has also spent years playing slide guitar and working with a variety of open tunings.  He teaches both acoustic and electric guitar.  In addition to guitar, Luke also plays and teaches Ukulele, Banjo, and Piano.
My favorite guitar player is the great jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, and my favorite classical composer is Johann Sebastian Bach.  Between these two figures, you can learn all that you need to be a great musician.  My teaching style tailors lessons to the interests of the individual student, rather than working through a generic book as a default method to learning the instrument.  I can teach most styles and enjoy working in concepts from music theory into lessons.

Luke lives in San Francisco and presently plays in several groups around the Bay Area.  He also composes music and has worked with local filmmakers to produce original scores for a variety of projects. Email Me

alexandra sesslerAlexandra Sessler, Soprano, All levels of Voice, beginning Piano. Alexandra divides her time between opera, choral, and voice and piano instruction. In addition to extensive opera performance in the Bay Area, she has soloed with the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, where she is an AGMA member, and is a member of San Francisco’s newest all-professional chamber choir, Cappella SF. Alexandra is an active recitalist and is dedicated to broadcasting the music of women composers and the Spanish speaking community. Alexandra completed her Bachelor of Music at the University of Miami, and her Masters of Music at San Francisco State University. She has the joy of studying privately with the world-renowned mezzo, Susanne Mentzer, and coaching with William Vendice. Alexandra teaches voice privately and is a lecturer at San Francisco State University. She has two opera loving, very supportive cats.

“My approach to teaching voice and piano is one that is tailored to each student. We explore their strengths and weaknesses and I design a curriculum to enhance their overall performance, confidence, and love of music. My specialty is getting shy students out of their shell, and encouraging them to share their love of music with the world. As a member of the National Guild of Teachers of Singing, My students have often won awards at District and Regional auditions” Alexandra instructs children, adolescents and teenagers, adults, and professionals. Email Me

Tatyana Loskutova – Music Educator – piano (all levels), chamber ensemble, music appreciation and analysis

Tatyana Loskutova was born into a family of professional musicians. She began her music education in the age of five with her father who was a multifaceted performer, educator and composer. Tatyana’s passion for music was nurtured by an entire family tradition of music educators. At the age of 16, she was the winner of the region festival program “New Names”. In 1994, she graduated with honors from Rachmaninov College of Music (B.M. in Pedagogy and Music Education), and went to obtain her degree from St. Petersburg Conservatory of Music (M.A. Diploma in Instrumental Performance – Piano).

In the Conservatory, Ms. Tatyana studied with world renowned professors Galina Fedorova (piano solo) and Elena Shafran (chamber ensemble) Tatyana was an active participant in “Holland Music Sessions” in 2000 with Lazar Berman (Italy) and Karl-Heinz Kammerling (Germany).

Tatyana Loskutova is an active chamber musician in music recitals in the USA, Russia and Holland. She is a member of the Music Teacher Association of California and teaches chamber ensembles in San Francisco and the Bay Area.

Ms. Loskutova also studied Arts Management at the St. Petersburg State Theatre Academy. Over a period of many years, she served as an arts administrator at the Vaganova Ballet Academy, Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg State Conservatory, and State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg where she initiated and managed several cultural projects.

She earned her Certificate in Visual Media Design in USA in 2016 and works as a freelance designer in the Bay Area.  www.styush.com