PAULA HENSON: OWNER AND DIRECTOR
Celebrating 40 years of excellence in dance education, Paula Henson has brought dance into the lives of young dancers from all over Contra Costa County. Her training includes Pat Jackson's American Dance Center and Academy of Dance, directed by Lori Lee Silvagio, her inspiration! She also trained with Anne Marie Garvin in San Francisco and Kate Leland to whom she owes much gratitude. She continued her training each year with legendary Los Angeles teachers Joe Tremaine, Doug Caldwell, and Jackie Sleight, to name a few. As a dancer, she performed the role of Sheila in “A Chorus Line” as well as dancing in the hit broadway show"Damn Yankees". She was a member of the Olympic Dance Company in the opening ceremonies production of the 1984 Summer Olympics where she had the honor of dancing for the President, and Gene Kelley. She also appeared in the nightclub show "Trickery" and "Our Affair With Astaire" at OnStage Theater. She founded Dance Connection Performing Arts Centre in 1980 and it has since grown to become one of the largest dance training centers in Northern California and has received the distinguished honors of being selected one of “Top 50 Studios in the U.S.” by Dance Teacher and Dance Spirit Magazines and Top 25 in the U.S. by the FDC as well as Bay Area Best from Parent Magazine. Through the years, she has produced over forty theatrical shows at various theaters in the community, and her students have traveled nationally and internationally as performers. In 2013 her students traveled to Marseille France to dance at Ballet D'Europe. In 2016 her students had the distinct honor of performing for Super Bowl 50 Halftime with Beyonce, Bruno Mars, and Cold Play. They also danced down Main Street USA in Disneyland for "Dance The Magic" and were chosen as the front-line performers leading the parade 5 consecutive years from Dec 2015 thru 2019 for Disneyland. They have received numerous awards and scholarships at regional and national events and major universities across the United States. They were honored with the title National Champions of Thunderstruck Dance Competition in Las Vegas 2015 - receiving the Studio Excellence for highest scoring all-around dance school. They were also the Grand Champions at Revolution Talent nationals in 2019. Her large performing arts centre also attracts some of the most sought-after professional choreographers in the industry as master teachers and guest choreographers including Derrick Mitchell of Hamilton, Sonya Tayeh of So You Think You Can Dance, Marguerite Derricks (Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Mr.&Mrs. Smith, Austin Powers, Gap Commercials) Liz Imperio (Cher, JLo, Madonna) Dorrell Martin (director of Joffrey Summer Intensive) and Brianna Barcus (head of talent with Clear Talent Agency L.A.). Several of her students are currently dancing professionally, including Tracy Shibata (World Tours with Rihanna, Pink, Katy Perry), Paul Benshoof (Shania Twain, Paula Abdul, Katy Perry) Samantha Abrantes (Glee, Dancing With The Stars, Empire of the Sun) Penelope Vazquez (Brittany Spears, Paulina Rubio, Miley Cyrus) Meredith Patterson (42nd Street lead on Broadway, White Christmas on Broadway) and in the entertainment industry on Broadway, Radio City Rockettes (Elizabeth Peterson 2013-2019), cruise ships, major motion pictures, prime-time television and video.