Born in Toronto, Canada, Richard Hirschl studied with Mme. Tamara Elganova of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, Stanley Holden (Royal Ballet, Sadler Wells Ballet), and Yuri & Erglis Smaltzoff (Father & son, Erglis with George Balanchine as a member of the Bolshoi Ballet) and with David Lichine. Mr. Hirschl toured and performed with the Ballet Folklorico of Mexico, Stuttgart Ballet, Orange County Ballet Company and a short-run production of Romeo & Juliet with the American Ballet Theater. He began to teach and choreograph full-time in 1972. He has taught, choreographed and lectured at local colleges and universities and has been a guest teacher at several Southern California dance studios. Many of his students have gone on to become professional dancers and dance teachers throughout Southern California.
Debra Kaye owned and taught at her own studio in Riverside for 30 years (1968 to 1998). Her training includes Paul DeRolf, The Edge in Los Angeles, Gus Giordano, Michael Rooney and Bob Fosse. Debra has been a teacher at Riverside College and University of California at Irvine. In addition to teaching at the HSDA, she is a certified Pilates teacher, and also teaches at the prestigious Freddy Finn studio in Riverside. She started her PILATES training & certification in 1998 with Karen Klipinger, with emphasis on training methodology for dancers. She attended the Long Beach Body Balance Core Intelligence and Mat programs & Seminars. She is also working with Karen Scarano at the Plexis Pilates studios in Riverside.
Extra teachers and Interns on staff:
Shay Thiede, Pearlene Brar, Yumiko Crumly, Mallory Dirks, Jessica Landin, Irene Watson, Nina Wachter, Lorien Mahon, Jessica Knowles
Sarah Mann has been teaching at the Hirschl School of Dance arts since 2010 and has been choreographing and coaching for the Sunrise Ballet since 2012. Before that, she was a corps de ballet member with Sunrise for 6 years. She trained at the Hirschl School as well as the Princeton Ballet School, Ballet Pacifica, Backhausdance, and Orange Coast College. As a company member with iNC the Company and the Watson Dance Ensemble, Sarah participated in the MixMatch Dance Festival, Dance Bistro, and at community outreach programs in LA County and Orange County. Her classical and contemporary teaching methodologies are heavily influenced by Yoga, Pilates, and Progressing Ballet Technique. She is currently the Ballet Mistress and repertoirist for the Sunrise Ballet and coach for the Hirschl Ballet Youth America Grand Prix Team.
The art of teaching is more than a simple demonstration of movements: All students should be seen, not as they are now, but as they could & should; at their fullest possible potential. Every student should be guided to help them develop & define their own unique individual goals, the time & effort must be set aside to help achieve realistic plan to achieve those goals. No mass producing, no quick-teach, no automaton training, no popular tricks. We teach to the best of our abilities in a safe and well-defined fashion to produce a well-rounded, intelligent & versatile dancer.
Great teachers have two things: An insatiable inner drive to correctly educate and a genuine passion to teach for the right reasons. There is a large gap between a good educator and a "glorified demonstrator". HSDA teachers are also trained to include professional direction, mentorship, practical education, artistic application and the philosophy of the art. We think of dance arts education as an investment to our community as well as to the individual.