ABOUT THE GET DOWN
The Get Down officially opened it's doors in April of this year. Conveniently located in the heart of Japantown, San Jose, The Get Down dance studio is a place to get up, a place to get loose, a place to get funky, and most importantly, a place to get down! At our studio, we focus on hip hop and Latin street styles, including boogaloo, hip hop, house, locking, breaking, salsa and bachata, to name a few. Our classes range from preschoolers all the way up to adults. Our aim is to provide a home for the young and the old, the seasoned and inexperienced dancer alike where dancers can build and grow their artistic expression.
ABOUT THE OWNERS
Ceech Hsu - Born in Taiwan, Ceech moved with his family to the Bay Area in 1982. Like most kids, Michael Jackson was his idol. He would try to backslide (aka Moonwalk) all over the kitchen floor. In high school, he learned a few hip hop moves such as the running man and the roger rabbit. Those moves were enough to get by at high school dances, but he had always wanted to dance better especially since the cool kids at school were the ones who could dance.
Ceech graduated from Lynnbrook High School, San Jose, California. 4 years later, he received his Electrical Engineering and Computer Science degree from University of California at Berkeley. Today, he has a Master's degree in Kinesiology.
After 3 years as a full time hardware engineer for Nortel, and 3 years as a software engineer at GO.com, his mentor told him, “To see where you are in 5 years, take a good look at the people around you that have been here for 5 years. Chances are, your lifestyle will be similar to theirs.” What great advice it was! It was enough motivation for Ceech to pursue something that he felt was much more attractive, dance.
It has been about 20 years since Ceech decided to take on dancing full-time. He is very thankful and fortunate to have had great teachers and mentors surround him - the late Gary Kendell of the original Jabbawockeez and Mindtricks and legendary Skeeter Rabbit and Pop'in Pete of the Electric Boogaloo.
Everyday, he hopes that he can be the same inspiration for others.
Brian Rapaido - Brian was born in San Diego, California, and moved to the Bay Area at the age of 6. He began dancing in garages with other neighborhood kids in the early 1990’s. His first performance on stage was at a talent show in 1990 where he and his friends danced a hip hop routine; and from that experience, Brian realized he had a strong passion for dance.
After graduating Milpitas High School in 2000, Brian joined the U.S. Army and was stationed on the east coast. There, he was introduced to other dance styles, such as “Stepping” and many Latin dance styles. In 2006, Brian moved back to San Diego and started teaching for a studio directed by world renowned salsa dancers, Angel and Tulane Rivera. With their expertise in Latin and Afro-Cuban movement, Brian saw the heavy influence of Latin and Afro-Cuban movements in the more modern hip hop dances.
As Brian learned about the history and culture of certain dance styles through his travels and experience as a dance instructor, his love for dance continued to grow. Brian and his dance partner, Jeannette, started their own studio in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where they taught hip hop and Latin dances. While in Mexico, they had the opportunity to dance on stage with famous Latin musicians and travel the Caribbean Islands dancing on cruise ships.
In 2009, Brian moved back to the Bay Area and joined DS Players, directed by Hip Hop Battlefest Hall of Famer, Ceech Hsu. The DS Players is a funk styles hip hop family that has placed first in hip hop events, such as Body Rock and All The Way Live. Brian has also performed in music videos with the Limousines and in independent films as a salsa dancer.
Brian loves to teach as well as take classes. He believes that even as a teacher, he also must always be a student. Brian loves to share his passion for dance and spread the knowledge that he has learned to his students.
Jeannette Rapaido - Born in San Francisco, CA, Jeannette grew up listening to R&B, hip hop and 90's music. She, like everyone else, watched music videos and tried to dance like Michael Jackson, Aaliyah and Janet. It wasn't until college where dance hit her hard. Her brother dragged her along to salsa classes, and in 2003, she attended her very first Salsa Congress in Los Angeles. It was then that she fell in love with the culture, the music and the dance.
At the time, she attended San Diego State University, and found salsa classes at The Arc, Hot Monkey Love and at A Time to Dance. She started dancing 7 nights a week and any chance she could get. It was from social dancing that she learned the most - connection, communication, lead and follow, the music. For formal training, she trained with Angel and Tulane Rivera and danced for the likes of Alma Latina Tijuana, directed by Sergio Jasso and Gaby Equiz and the Salsa Divas, directed by Laura (Mendoza) Loaza. With those dance teams, she performed in New York, in the Bahamas and all over San Diego.
In 2007, she moved to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico with her now husband, Brian, and opened their very first dance studio. There, they taught both hip hop and Latin dances, danced at clubs and performed around the Malecon. Upon returning to the States in 2009, Jeannette joined Ceech Hsu's DS Players, a funk styles dance group that has won 1st place at competitions such as All The Way Live and Bottlerock. As a DS Player, Jeannette has added locking, popping, house, strutting and, her favorite, waacking, to her repertoire.
Now that Jeannette, Brian and Ceech have opened The Get Down, it is only natural that they focus on the dance styles that they love the most - hip hop and Latin dancing.
ABOUT THE INSTRUCTORS
Alyssa Aguilar - Born and raised in San Jose, CA, she has been dancing Salsa for 5 years. She first experienced the dance at San Jose State University where she started as an assistant teacher for the Latin Dance classes. She was a member of SJSU's salsa team, and is a 2014 Collegiate Salsa World Champion and among many other college titles. Currently, she is performing with the Boogie Wonders and working on personal dance projects.
Although competing and teaching has been a large part of her dance career, Alyssa's passion lies in social dancing. She is drawn to the world of salsa through the personal connections she makes with those that she dances with. The Salsa community is a global one, and she is always learning from the people she meets around the world. Alyssa believes that the best teachers are the best students, so whether it is dance or life, she never stops learning and growing.
Amber Divina - Amber is a passionate dancer and choreographer whose ear for musicality and ability to capture the emotion of songs through lyrics and beats makes his dance style unique. He has over 20 years of experience, starting at a young age in the Philippines. He moved to the US in 1995 where he continued his dance training through his high school step squad and by joining a collegiate dance team. He later worked for a local record label, Kamikaze Records in San Francisco, as a back up dancer for one of their touring musical acts.
Amber has trained with companies that include Funkanometry San Francisco Dance Company and VIP directed by Greg Chapkis. He was a founding member of Mix'd Elements, a team that appeared on America's Got Talent, won KIIS FM's Summer Dance Crew Competition, and earned second place at World Of Dance San Diego. He has also performed at Choreographer's Carnival, Body Rock, VIBE, World of Dance Bay Area and San Diego, Elements in Boston, and Main Event in New Jersey, to name a few.
As a student of dance, he has been recognized by some of the industry's best choreographers and has been awarded scholarships to Millennium Dance Complex. He once received an invitation for a private audition for Janet Jackson's earlier projects after taking master classes from Janet's choreographer, Gil Duldulao.
As a choreographer and dance teacher, Amber has taught classes and workshops all over the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, and Alhambra. He has also taught at Boogiezone New Jersey, Boston University, Brown University in Rhode Island and Static Noyze Company Class in Boston, Massachusetts. He currently teaches weekly classes and performance workshops.
Amber vows to remain a student, to learn different styles, and to grow as a dancer and choreographer in hopes of sharing his knowledge with others he meets along the way on his journey of dance.
Clifford Cabute - Born in our Nation's capitol, Cliff spent his early childhood in Chicago, where he first experienced the art of bboyin'. He saw kids bboyin' on cardboard and watched bboy scenes from the movie "Flashdance" at a family friend's auto shop. This sparked his love for bboyin'. In 1987, Cliff claimed the Bay Area as home.
In 5th grade, Cliff was elected to DJay the 5th grade graduation dance where he used a boom box with 2 tape decks and a microphone. He played the music likes of New Edition, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam, Madonna, and Michael Jackson. Thus began his love for music.
In middle school and high school, he picked up bboyin' and street dance, practicing with friends after school and performing at various school functions. He eventually joined the dance crew, Ruffnex, which later joined with another crew, Jedi Clan. They were later renamed to Mindtricks.
It wasn't until he saw his fellow Mindtricks crew member, Randy, djay live for the first time, that he found his love for DJayin'. Watching and listening to scratches, beat juggles and pure turntabilism was enough for him to purchase his first turntable and mixer set, the 1's and 2's. He owes it all to his fellow Mindtricks crew members for educating him in the hip hop culture, especially bboyiin' and djayin'.
To this day, Cliff continues to dance and djay living by the phrase, "Never stop being a student".
JayR deGuzman - JayR is both a Martial Artist and Hip-Hop/Street Style Dancer. He has 11 years of experience in Tae Kwon Do and Tricking (a form of acrobatics that incorporates different techniques taken from different arts such as Tae Kwon Do, Wushu, Capoeira, Break Dance, Gymnastics, and more). He has won over 10 Grand Champion titles and over 30 1st Place awards from Sport Karate Tournaments in the Black Belt Creative and Extreme Form divisions nationwide. JayR is a former member of Team Loopkicks, a world renowned Martial Arts/Tricking Demonstration Team that hosts annual seminars which receives attendants from all over the world. Some of JayR’s previous work and employment include working as a performer for “Aladdin 3D, the Musical Adventure”, an instructor for an after-school program with kids from ages 5-17, and is also a registered performer of Cirque Du Soleil. He believes the practice of Martial Arts is not only important for an individual physically, but also mentally and spiritually. When training Martial Arts, one must put the art into practice both inside and out of the studio in order to better oneself in all these attributes.
As a dancer, JayR deGuzman has 6 years of experience with street styles including Locking and Breaking. He was taught under Ceech Hsu and is also a member of the DS Players. JayR was present during the All The Way Live 2012 Urban Dance Festival 1st place victory. Some of his other dance performance experiences include Rock the School Bells 6, All the Way Live 2014 Urban Dance Festival, Gary Fest 2010, and Soulciety’s Empower: Master of the 3 Rings. Being involved with Soulciety as a dancers as well as a Martial Artist, he was given the opportunity to travel overseas to perform and teach to underprivileged youth throughout the Philippines. Due to JayR’s background as a martial artist, he strives to incorporate the various techniques as well as training methods into his dance practice in order deliver a unique art of movement.
Jay-R Salazar - Jay-R has been dancing for over 15 years and has danced with DS Players, Fresh Dynamix, Nu-Origin, and more. He is active in the dance community in a variety of ways, whether on stage, in battles, in the studio or coordinating various events. Besides being an exciting performer, he has also taught and choreographed in the San Francisco/Bay Area. In addition, he has taught and danced overseas with non-profit organizations.
He considers himself a lifelong student of dance, and by sharing his knowledge and teaching others, he himself grows as a dancer.
Personal Quote: Dance is a celebration of movement and the heartbeat of our very lives.
John Sydiongco - John "J-Syd" has been surrounded by dance his whole life, thanks to his parents' love for ballroom dancing and seeing his friends/relatives b-boy their way through high school. It wasn’t until 2007, when he first saw a video of the Locking duo Hilty & Bosch, that he began to take a look into this art form more seriously.
In 2008, he decided to take a hip-hop class at Mission College, where he was introduced to a world of dance that he never knew existed. Paving the path for him was the teacher, Ceech Hsu, who was a longtime member of the street dance group Mindtricks (who later became to be known as the Jabbawockeez) and director of the Funk Styles dance group, the DS Players. There, John was taught fundamentals and basic steps of several different types within the street dance umbrella, most notably, Locking and Popping. In 2009, he auditioned and would eventually join the DS Players.
Ever since then, John has immersed himself in the street dance scene and has learned from many amazing teachers coming from all parts of the world, including Japan and Europe. He has trained and performed onstage with several dance companies, including the All The Way Live family, Fresh Dynamix, and Academy of Villains, and also won the All The Way Live 2012 Choreography competition with the DS Players. He has also entered countless competitions, where he has battled and exchanged with many talented individuals representing all styles of street dance from all over the world.
“I dance MY style!” is something he likes to use when describing his way of dancing. John’s favorite style of dance is Locking, but does not like to restrict himself or label himself to any specific type of dance. He believes that after learning and mastering the foundation of a specific style, it’s when you can apply your OWN feeling and flavor to the dance that you can begin to truly express yourself and how you interpret the music with your movement! John continues to train in all facets of dance and is always eager to learn anything new and expand on his knowledge of this amazing art form, along with sharing the knowledge and teaching what he has learned to any aspiring individual! "Stay Humble."
Josh DeGuzman - Joshua was born and raised in San Jose, CA. The idea of his body being an instrument used to “play songs” is what makes Joshua’s dance style unique. His style focuses on musicality, control, emotion, and speed. His dance journey began at Silver Creek High School where he choreographed and performed for many events and shows. During his Freshman year, Josh took a Dance Survey class that introduced him to many different styles such as ballet, jazz, tap, and contemporary (just to name a few.) Josh also took 2 years of Modern Dance before graduating.
Joshua was deeply involved with the dance community at Silver Creek for the past 5 years. He started as the only Freshman on the school's dance team, SCCK (Silver Creek Cool Kids), became a member, choreographed, and eventually became director his last 2 years in high school. At the same time, Joshua choreographed for the school’s dance club (Choreo Club), was a Spirit Leader and then President. In March of 2015, Joshua put together, hosted, and performed in the very first student-run charity dance showcase. Even after graduating in 2015, Joshua continues to visit Silver Creek to teach for fun and/or performances while sharing his knowledge about dance.
Over the years, he has been a part of 2 dance teams: Movement Munchers (2011-2012) and Optic Blast (2013-2014). During his time with these teams, he’s grown and had the chance to perform at showcases and competitions such as Ken-Ya Dance, Collaboration, World of Dance Bay Area, and Breakthrough.
With his passion for dance, Joshua loves to create, share, and learn. He fell in love with dance when he noticed how much fun and happiness it brought him. To him, dance is a form of celebration and a way to express oneself. The unique thing about dance is that everyone has a different rhythm, a different movement and that’s what he loves about it. Though he loves sharing his work and knowledge, Joshua also loves to learn and continue growing. He believes that there is always room for growth and something new to learn everyday.
A personal quote from Joshua: “Actions speak louder than words, so listen to me when I dance.”
Michele King - Michele was born in Santa Clara, CA and has been dancing for over 10 years now with experience in waacking, locking, and hip hop.
It all began when she started taking hip hop dance classes at a community college. In 2006, she met bay area dance legend and director of the DS Players, Ceech Hsu. She instantly grew an interest in street dance/ funk styles and began to train, mainly in locking. In 2007, she became a part of the DS Players. Michele has also danced with an all female dance collective based out of Oakland, CA, called Mix’d Ingrdnts, founded by Jenay Anolin and Samara Atkins.
In late 2008, Michele discovered a dance style called waacking/ punking and instantly fell in love with it. Her first teacher was the prominent street dancer, Tiffany “Jimini” Bong of Culture Shock LA, The Syrenz, and creator of SOULyztik. Michele has gained much knowledge and experience in waacking/ punking throughout the years. She has learned and trained with a number of renowned waackers from all over the world.
For the past seven years, she has been teaching dance to at risk youth at many different schools all over the South Bay for an organization called FutureArtsNow!, organized and directed by Demone Carter and Bobbi Vie. Aside from teaching dance, she also currently works for a company known as JumpBunch as a sports/ fitness coach for young children.
Her passion in dance, teaching, fitness, and helping to make a positive impact on the younger generation is continuously made possible by actively working with the community, as well as sharing knowledge and experience with others. Michele hopes to spread love for dance culture, wellness/ health awareness, and encourage people to pursue their true passions in life.
Rodney "Rodchata" Aquino - A certified dance instructor, Rodchata's solid dance background includes Latin International Ballroom, kizomba, salsa (on1, on2 mambo, and Cuban son), chachacha, merengue and bachata. With 19 yrs of dance experience under his belt, Rodchata has taught bachata in 41 countries totaling 257 cities including the Dominican Republic where he studied the bachata culture, eventually getting involved in starting the first bachata festival there. He has since revolutionized bachata dancing in the US and all over the world.
Recently, Rodchata has been recognized and supported by the Angolan Embassy in Korea for teaching the very first Kizomba workshops in South Korea.
Rodchata has MA in Counseling Psychology. He is a certified Personal Fitness Trainer, Dancing and holds a 4th Degree Black Belt in the Martial Arts. His experience in the Martial Arts for 20 years and his background in Fitness Training plays a vital role on his effectiveness as a dance teacher.