American Dance and Music, Inc.
Board of Directors
Our Mission Statement
American Dance & Music, founded in 2006, invigorates and strengthens the fabric of our community with performances, dance instruction, and educational programming and outreach. AD&M’s new space, The Dance Hub, founded in November, 2017, is a realization of a critical aspect of our mission to alleviate the pressing need for rehearsal, performance, and instructional space by the Santa Barbara performing arts community.
AD&M Performance Group advances and celebrates the art of dance, promoting new choreography that draws from classical and contemporary elements, and by utilizing original music and guest choreographers. Noted by local reviewers for a diverse and interesting repertoire, the company has established itself as a vital and respected professional performing ensemble in Santa Barbara.
Dance: Up Close & Cultural is AD&M’s community outreach program that provides important enrichment, exposure, and access to dance. In addition to performances at The Dance Hub, AD&M Performance Group and guest performers visit schools, senior centers, and afterschool programs, bringing dance to where the need is greatest.
Our Board of Directors
Carrie Diamond, President, Artistic/Executive Director
Carrie Diamond, President, AD&M and Executive and Artistic Director of The Dance Hub; Artistic Director, AD&M Performance Group, is a 2019 Recipient of the Apogee Award for Excellence in Education. Her lifelong interest in dance developed early on by the mentorship of three individuals: Don Hewitt (ballet), Marilyn Allen Suleiman (choreography), and Virginia Storie-Crawford (modern dance). She later trained with Cecchetti master teacher, Margaret Craske, and such luminaries as Lawrence Rhodes, David Howard, and Benjamin Harkarvy. She danced professionally in New York City for over fifteen years and holds an M.F.A from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. After graduating, she founded New American Ballet Ensemble, a New York City company that promoted new music and choreography. She was an instructor for the Alvin Ailey School, the 92nd Street YM/YWHA, Peridance, and Marymount Manhattan College. In Santa Barbara, Ms. Diamond co-founded American Dance and Music in 2006 with Eric Valinsky, where she directed the AD&M Studio, AD&M Performance Group, and Moving To Learn, a curricular dance program for elementary school children. In 2017, the AD&M board of directors opened The Dance Hub, a thriving community dance space where Ms. Diamond serves as the executive and artistic director and principal ballet teacher for adults of all levels and ages. She is dedicated to bringing as many people as possible into and back to dance at The Dance Hub, whether they are 18 months or 84 years old.
Vittorio Grieco, Vice President
Vittorio Grieco writes: "I have a multi-directional approach to the Art of Social Media & Business Management. I create an interface for groups of people to connect both physically & digitally with ease. I help maximize the talent of an individual in multiple groups, using a wide range of social media networks & traditional management systems. Over the years I have developed successful strategies that adapt quickly to the constant rapid changes in business, social media, its impact on society & its complex #subcultures. Filtering information is a key aspect in identifying & making the most of emerging trends. At work, I'm passionate about individuals coming together and supporting each other's strengths and weaknesses. This is called teamwork, but the process can go much further when we educate and empower each other's growth process. I love to learn even if it's beyond my job responsibilities. I believe that through educational collaboration you can strengthen your own position. When someone teaches a skill or concept to someone else, in essence, he or she are re-teaching it to themselves. Outside of work, my passion is spending time with good friends, good food, good wine and great laughs."
Hylla Fischer, Treasurer
Hylla Fischer is a founding member of AD&M board of directors. She was born and lived in Denver, Colorado until moving to Santa Barbara in 2001. She has always been a strong supporter of and participant in the arts. A former art educator, she knows first hand how the creative process acts as a positive force in all aspects of life. Before moving to Santa Barbara, Hylla was founder and president of Zephyr International, Inc. an office products and space planning business. She was active as an actor in community theater. After moving to Santa Barbara, she worked as a product developer at Magellan’s Travel Catalog. She also served as President, Vice President, and Treasurer of the Santa Barbara Dance Alliance. She currently spends many hours at AD&M’s The Dance Hub taking classes and helping to make The Hub a success. Hylla has performed with AD&M Performance Group; DramaDogs, a Theater Company; and ArtBark.
Eric Valinsky, Secretary
A native Manhattanite, Eric Valinsky has, for more years than he would like to admit, maintained dual careers in computer systems architecture and music. He was educated at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the University of Illinois, finally achieving his DMA in music composition from Columbia University. He studied composition with Walter Aschaffenburg, Salvatore Martirano, Jack Beeson, and Darius Milhaud; piano with Sara Crawford Drogheo and Emil Danenberg; and conducting with Harold Farberman. While living in Los Angeles, he became music director and composer-in-residence or The Storie-Crawford Dance Theatre Ensemble. Returning to New York, he served in a similar capacity for Danny Buraczeski's Jazzdance, Uris Bahr and Dancers, and The New American Ballet Ensemble as well as composer-in-residence for The Rachel Harms Dance Company, Opera Uptown, and the Dance Department at City College of New York. He currently moonlights as founder and partner of Inlineos LLC, a strategic Internet consulting company.
Caren Adorni, Director
Caren Adorni is an established acting coach from Los Angeles and currently an Adjunct Theater Professor at SBCC. She has developed and taught acting workshops for over 20 years. Her inspired teaching method is grounded in The Stanislavski System and her classes have been accredited at New York University. A native Californian, Caren holds an MA in Theater from UCLA and a BA in Philosophy with honors from UCSB. Caren studied acting with Hedy Sontag at The Lee Strasberg Theater Institute in Los Angeles. Caren participated in a variety of acting workshops throughout Europe, including The Pan Theatre of Paris Festival in Avignon, France. Caren trained in the work of Etienne Decroux (mime) in Padua, Italy, studied The Alexander Technique (body alignment) with Shel Wagner and is a RYT 200 yoga instructor.
Jessica Ballonoff, Director
Jessica Ballonoff has a BFA in choreography from the University of California Irvine. She has studied dance and musical theater from some of the most prominent dancers and instructors in the business and has been teaching dance in SB Unified for 10 years. Jessica is excited to bridge fitness and dance education in the performing arts and PE departments at San Marcos High School. In the non-profit sector, Jessica has worked with numerous local theater companies including being a founding director of the On the Verge Summer Repertory Theater Company. She lives in Goleta with her husband and daughter.
Laura Wyles, Director
Born and raised in West Los Angeles, she graduated from UCLA with a BA in Dance and was a professional ballet dancer with the Storie-Crawford Dance Theatre Ensemble and the San Francisco Ballet. She also holds an AA degree in Commercial Art Production. She realized her affinity for analytical work while attending a class in database building while she was living in Seattle. Since moving here in 1997, she has served the non-profit community in database administration and gift processing for the Music Academy of the West and the Santa Barbara Foundation and currently is the Gift Processor & Database Manager for the Santa Barbara City College Foundation.