Francisco Gella’s distinguished twenty-five year career as a compelling dancer, award-winning choreographer, and widely-recognized dance educator, began when he took his first formal dance class during his freshman year at the age of nineteen. His innovative choreography and highly effective teaching methods are sought after by professional companies, universities, arts high schools conservatories, and studios across North America and around the globe. In addition to teaching dancers and students, Francisco is frequently invited to train other teachers in effective pedagogical method with a proven holistic approach – focusing on the intersection of technical, artistic, psychological and spiritual dimensions of dancers.
A 1996 graduate with a BA in dance from the University of Washington, Francisco is a past company member with the Philadelphia Dance Company (PHILADANCO); Repertory Dance Theater; and Ballet Pacifica. He has been a guest performer with Spectrum Dance Theater; Chamber Dance Company; Seattle Opera; Pennsylvania Ballet; California Ballet; Laguna Dance Festival; and National Choreographers Initiative. In 1998, Francisco performed as a principal soloist at the Closing Ceremonies in the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics in Japan and was featured in a PBS Dance in America Special in Daniel Ezralow’s holiday satirical work entitled the X-mas Philes.
Yusha-Marie Sorzano originally hails from the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (ask her about the silent "Y"). She received her primary instruction from New World School of the Arts, Thomas Armour Youth Ballet, and the Dance Theater of Harlem. In her senior year at New World, she received an award for outstanding choreography and was a National YoungArts Foundation award winner in dance. She went on to attend the Ailey/Fordham BFA Program and in her junior year was invited to join Ailey II.
As a dancer, Ms. Sorzano is always hungry to stretch her artistic boundaries by working with new companies and choreographers. She has been attached to a number of nationally recognized companies, including Complexions Contemporary Ballet and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. She has performed in principal roles with the Ailey company and in a wide variety of concert works, including works by noted choreographers Ulysses Dove, Maurice Béjart, Hofesh Shechter, Kyle Abraham, and Mauro Bigonzetti. Additionally, she has performed alongside recording artists, made film and television appearances, and danced in theater and opera.
Jeffrey’s career as an arts and education administrator spans nearly thirty years. He is a recognized leader and innovator in organizational development and capacity building. Jeffrey’s extensive experience gained from being a collegiate Assistant Director of Admissions, Program Director, Marketing Director, Dean of Students, performing arts administrator, and business leader gives him comprehensive knowledge of organizational structures and policies, personnel management, as well as a strong working knowledge of dance culture and practice. Jeffrey received his Bachelor’s Degree from Eastern Mennonite University in 1991, his Masters in Higher Education Administration from Colorado State University in 1996, and studied Higher Education Leadership at the University of Southern California.
Since 2015, he has served as CEO and Managing Director for Francisco Gella Dance Works and is currently the Executive Director of Zeitgeist Dance Theatre. Jeffrey currently resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico.