Cheri Valenzuela
Artistic Director and founder of TranZenDance Dance Productions Inc. received her early training in New York through the age of 14. She studied ballet, tap, and jazz. She went on to study at The University Center for the Performing Arts. She studied flamenco with Damaris Ferrer and modern dance under the direction of Barbara Sloan. There she found her passion and continued to study under Tony Lardge and Kristen O'Neil at Broward Community College. She then went on to pursue her B.A. in dance at FIU, under the direction of Gary Lund, Leslie Neal, and Liz Bergmann. She has had the privilege to work professionally with Damaris Ferrer of Bailes ferrer as a flamenco dancer and with Angela Rhea of Angela Rhea's Spanish Dance Company. She had toured Florida as a Classical Spanish dancer with the Florida Chamber Orchestra and The Hallandale Symphonic Pops. Her love of anthropology grew as a student at FIU and she explored many areas of cultural dance forms, most notably with Mr. Louines, an Afro-Haitian dance professor at FIU. In 2002, Cherilyn decided to utilize all her training and experience by creating her own company in which she can explore, grow as an artist, and give back to her community. Since the incorporation of her company, TranZenDance has performed in many theaters and festivals throughout Broward and Dade County. Under her direction, TranZenDance has received financial support from the Broward County Board of County Commissioners as recommended by the Broward Cultural Council. In addition to working as a solo artist and artistic director of TZD, Cheri currently teaches at The University Center for the Performing Arts in Davie, Broward Dance Academy in Ft. Lauderdale, Nova University - Lower School's Cultural Arts Program, as well as other performing arts schools throughout Broward County. Her ultimate goal is to share her love of dance & creativity with all who cross her path.





Sahara Smith
Sahara Smith began her dance studies at the age of five at the Pro-Am Dance Studio in Ft. Lauderdale. This is where she received her basic training of ballet, tap, jazz, and acrobatics. Sahara attedned Dillard High School of the Performing Arts where she was introduced to the world of modern dance. Later, Sahara was accepted to New World School of the Arts. In 1998 Sahara, who also has a beautiful voice, toured Europe with a pop/R&B girl group called Sista Sista as the lead singer and assistant choreographer. She was accepted to and completed and intense summer dance program at Jacob's Pillow in the summer of 2004.Sahara is currently working at JAFCO, has recently graduated from Atlantic Technical Center for cosmetology, and dances with TranZenDance and Jubilee Dance Theatre.




Ayanna Lowe-Thomas
Born in Manhattan, New York, Ayanna started dancing at the age of five, studying ballet and jazz. At age eight she moved to Jamaica and joined a calypso dance group at her prep school. After two year Ayanna returned to the United States, and living in New Jersey, she continued her studies in hip hop, jazz, and acrobatics. In 1996 she moved to Florida where she graduated J.P. Taravella High School. Ayanna is currently a student at Nova Southeastern University as well as an employee of JAFCO, where she is a mentor for children. She has worked as a restaurant manager and has brought her organizational skills as well as her artistic talent to TranZenDance.





Brianna Austin
Brianna's natural talent for rhythms was apparent at an early age. She began her training with Flamenco and Middle Eastern Dance, and shortly there after added percussion to her studies. Some of the artists she has studied with are Serena Ramzy, Omayra Amaya, Maria Pages, Farruquito (dance), and renowned artists "Sultan of Swing" Hossam Ramzy, Francisco Javier Orozco "Yiyi", and the late, Manueal Soler. As a dancer/percussionist, she frequently works with the Ft. Lauderdale based Flamenco companies Bailes Ferrer and Flamencos. Brianna also performed for several years with the Middle Eastern music and dance company, Harmonic Motion. As an invited artist, she has performed in shows such as "Fusion of Indian Classical Music and Flamenco Music and Dance" with Pandit Ramesh Misra and "Shradhanjali" which took place in London. Her most recent collaborations were with the Purto Rican company DanzActiva in the production of "Encuentro de Pies, Tambores, y Faldas" winner of the ACE and HOLA awards, which took place in New York and "Re-Encuentro" which took place in Puerto Rico. She has also added a wonderful dynamic to TranZenDance, as a modern and cultural dancer, as well as a musician.





Tono Portuguez
Mr. Portuguez is a native of Peru, but has been residing in the U.S. since the mid 1960's. In Peru he studied Flamenco, Escuela Bolera, Classical Espanol and the folkloric dances of Spain. By age 18 he was a teacher of the National Dance Academy of Peru. Mr. Portuguez traveled extensively throughout Central and South America as a dancer with his own company and with Romeria, one of the largest dance companies of Spain. He has also worked as choreographer for zarzuelas and operettas, most notably with the Caballe Aguila company (Monserrat Caballe). Shortly after moving to the United States Mr. Portuguez joined Ballet Granada which allowed him to tour the US, South America and the Caribbean Islands. He has also lived and worked in Las Vegas and California where he worked in many shows with Jacques d'Amboise, Eddy Fisher, Harry Belafonte and Bob Hope. Mr. Portuguez has been living in South Florida for the last 12 years and is performing and teaching, as well as working as a professional painter, sculptor and jewelry designer.





Curt Valenzuela
Curt Valenzuela began his guitar studies in the Bronx, New York at Castle Hill Music, until the age of 15. After moving to South Florida, Curt than continued his studies with local jazz guitarists Mike Curtis and Jorge Garcia. After graduating high school, Curt began studying classical guitar with Lou and Yasemin Mowad at Broward Community College and Florida International University. It was at that time that Curt had found his true musical love. While studying in college. Mr. Valenzuela had the opportunity to participate in master classes with classical guitarists: Pepe Romero, Douglas James, Ronald Pearl, Julian Grey, and Roland Dyens. Soon after, he began his performing career playing gigs for company parties, weddings, private recitals, and holiday events. Curt Valenzuela also participated in FAU's ArtServe festivals as well as the Stetson International Guitar Workshop. Over the past 10 years, along with his performing career, Curt has also been teaching guitar throughout the South Florida area.





Jodie Wodrich

Jodie Wodrich is a native of Denver, Colorado. She attended David Taylor Dance Theatre for Classical Ballet training and Cleo Parker Robinson for the Horton technique of Modern dance. At 14, she was accepted as an apprentice dancer and at age 18, danced one season in the professional company of David Taylor Dance Theatre. Jodie was accepted on full scholarship to University of Arizona in Tucson. There she studied and performed star roles in Swan lake, Raymonda, Nutcracker, Paul Taylor works, and Miton Myer's/Alvin Ailey works. She has been accepted in David Taylor Dance Thetare, Colorado Ballet, Boston Ballet, Jacob's Pillow, Cleo Parker Robinson, and Hannah Kahn's summer workshop. Jodie Wodrich has a love for teaching beginning through advanced levels of classical ballet and pointe. Jodie is happy to enter her third year as a dancer with TranZenDance Dance Productions.


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