• Directors' & Teaching Artists- 2021

    Diversity * Positivity * Collaboration * Consideration * Empowerment * Mastery

    Working together to bring JiM's operating values to life for dancers, our non-profit studio, our communities, and each other.


  • JUSTIN COLE - Executive Director; Entertainment Director; Co-Founder

    Justin grew up in the Bay Area and developed a love for dance and theater at an early age, writing in his 3rd grade “autobiography” that he wanted to be a professional dancer when he grew up. He entered the dance world by way of the theatre, first donning tap shoes to audition for 42nd Street at 15 years old. Soon he was teaching in children’s theatre workshops and taking advantage of attending a public high school designated as a distinguished school of the performing arts by enrolling in every theatre and singing class offered.

    He is an Eagle Scout who graduated high school with honors and studied dance at Katie’s Dance Studio in El Cerrito, CA and Contra Costa College in Richmond, CA where he earned his Associates degree. He studied musical theatre at San Francisco State University, earning a B.A. in Theatre and once again graduated with honors. During his studies, he performed song and dance roles on stages across the Bay Area.

    Justin has been involved in the Lamorinda Community for over two decades. He was a room parent for 6 years, VP of Family Connections on the Parents’ Club for 3 years, and frequent volunteer at Wagner Ranch Elementary where his son attended. He was an active board member for the Lamorinda Arts Council for 5 years where he chaired the Arts Council's largest fundraiser of the year 3 of those years, the Art of Mixology. 

    Justin's professional teaching career includes 32 consecutive years with the Pinole Community Players, 19 years at Katie’s Dance Studio, 15 years at The California Academy of Performing Arts (CAPA), 8 years with the Peter Pan Foundation and now 6 years with Joy in Motion.

    In 2016, he was honored to be named Head Choreographer for the international non-profit event, Dance for Kindness, by Orly Wahba, the founder of Life Vest Inside. Everyone around the globe did his dance and he led the first ever San Francisco event at Willie Mays Plaza at AT&T Park. He choreographed the event again in 2017. 

    Justin's most recent achievement is helping see Joy in Motion through the 2020/2021 Pandemic creating a program for the community to continue dancing and feel much needed joy. Having just joined the board of directors for Moraga Community Foundation, he looks forward to strengthening his bond with the community and is honored to be Joy in Motion's Executive & Entertainment Director.

  • LINDA CRAIG - Education Director; Co-Founder

     “Ms. Linda,” as her students call her, is an educator who has found her life’s work guiding young people to live with the exuberance and poise of confident dancers. She is known as a nurturing and upbeat instructor, and she attributes much of her patience and her enthusiasm for life to her victorious battle with Stage 4 metastasized Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at the age of 20. 

    As a young dancer herself, Linda trained in tap, jazz, ballet and lyrical at a local East Bay studio and on the dance convention/competition circuit before focusing on ballet and modern—primarily at Berkeley Ballet Theater with Sally Streets and Sonya Delwaide—and in NYC with the Alvin Ailey Summer Intensive.

    Also a lover of academic learning, Linda graduated from UCLA summa cum laude in the honors program with a B.A. in English and completed coursework in an M.A. program at SFSU that included masters classes in teaching theory and practice applicable to any teaching setting.

    In addition to over a decade of teaching dance in Moraga (at California Academy of Performing Arts—CAPA—as Primary Education Director before co-founding Joy in Motion with Justin Cole in 2015), Linda also spent 2 years as a K-12 substitute teacher in the Oakland Unified School District, assistant taught in college writing courses at Diablo Valley College, taught children’s theater, served as Vice President of the nonprofit preschool co-op El Cerrito Preschool Cooperative, and served for 2 years on the board of directors of the non-profit Pinole Community Players community theater.

    Linda continues to grow and satisfy her professional curiosity. She was honored to be one of 12 dance teaching artists and academic educators selected to attend Luna Dance's Summer Institute 2018, funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. 

    One of Linda's proudest achievements is project-managing Joy in Motion's lease and build-out of the former Moraga Post Office into our studio home! She loved stretching herself to learn new things—from drawing architectural plans to navigating building codes.

    Now more than ever, Linda is excited to make space for the joy of moving and learning together in her role as Joy in Motion's Education Director.

  • BELA WATSON

    A creative dance educator for 24 years, Bela shares her passion for well-being through the lens of movement as medicine. She recently graduated with her MFA degree from Saint Mary’s College of California in Dance: Creative Practice, with a specialized focus in Somatics, the field that birthed Dance Movement Therapy and Body-Mind Centering®. She has studied under the loving guidance of the living pioneers: Bonnie Bainbridge-Cohen, Martha Eddy, Anna Halprin, and Carol Swann, and merges their breadth of wisdom with the science of yoga into her teaching of the dance arts to provide a holistic experience for one’s self in relationship to and with others.

    Bela found a passion for teaching even before receiving her BFA degree in Dance and the Visual Arts from Florida State University in 2000; the #1 ranked Dance Program amongst public colleges at that time. Before transplanting to the West Coast, she was the founder and Co-Artistic Director of Soul Play, a modern dance fusion company in Orlando, FL, where she was the lead choreographer and a performer, as well as the trainer of the apprentice company, readying a talented group of young dancers for professional life in the moving arts. The company closed when she was diagnosed with a rare cancer. Her battle back to health reshaped the meaning of dance and gave her a new mission to become an agent of change in transforming the field to become more inclusive, diversified, and centered on well-beingness.

    She values greatly the positive impact that a healthy dance community can provide for a student’s both interpersonal and intrapersonal development and feels incredibly grateful to have discovered the mutually shared sentiments of the Joy in Motion Dance Organization in 2018. A versatile somatic-based teaching artist, Bela shares her knowledge of Ballet, Contemporary, Jazz, Tap, and Creative Movement to children at JiM, and is excited to grow the adult dance and fitness program in the 2021-2022 season.  

  • JUSTIN MADFES

    Justin got his performing start in 4th grade in an after-school program titled, Broadway Song & Dance.  He was reluctant, but went anyway.  As an outcome of that experience, he fell in love with performing.

    Justin joined Pinole Young Actors in their summer youth theater program and danced at Adrienne’s Dance Studio, now know as Anjee’s Dance Etc (Pinole).  Both at the theater and dance studio he grew as a performer and then an instructor of the arts. Working within the Pinole theatrical community he had the good fortune of meeting and teaching with both Justin Cole and Linda Craig.

    Through his high school and college years Justin continued in his musical performances at all over the Bay Area, qualifying Actors' Equity. He appeared with Pinole Community Players, Benicia Old Town Theatre, Contra Costa Civic Theater, Contra Costa Musical Theater, and Center Repertory Theatre Group. During this time Justin also had the opportunity to work as a choreographer at various locations/programs/schools. 

    Moving to Los Angeles in 2012, Justin worked as a Zumba instructor for packed adult classes at 24 Fitness, and LA Fitness.  During his 5 years down south he continued to develop his craft including working as a tour guide at Universal Studios Hollywood. He then was offered a position at Adat Ari El Day School, which evolved into him becoming the head of their Dance and Theatre Department where Justin specialized in preschool programming.

  • TAYLOR JACOBSEN-RIOS

    Taylor has 23 years of cheer and dance experience combined. Her dance training began at the age of 5 at Katie’s Dance studio where she was a student of Justin’s hip hop classes. 

    Taylor is trained in many styles of dance such as Hip Hop, Jazz, Tap and Ballet but her favorite style of dance is Hip Hop. She has also performed at Disneyland, The Carnival Cruise and various festivals throughout the Bay Area. She has participated in dance competitions such as Dance Masters of California, Monsters of Hip Hop and various workshops. 

    Taylor is a graduate of CSU Chico, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Kinesiology. At Chico State she was a member of Envy Hip Hop, Full Force Hip Hop Competition team and CSU Chico Cheer team.  She was previously a member of Diablo Valley College dance club, a four year varsity cheerleader in high school and a Junior Raiderette for four years. 

     

  • DINA RICKSEN

    Dina has more than 20 years experience teaching Pilates and has been a student of the practice for much longer. Dina has always been a health and fitness enthusiast and has played sports throughout her life. She discovered Pilates in high school as a valuable compliment to her athletics and fell in love with the mind-body focus.  The results she achieved were unlike anything she had experienced before. After studying education at UC Berkeley, followed by a few years in the corporate world after, her heart brought her back to Pilates and she decided to get certified as an instructor through Body Arts and Sciences International. Dina went on to teach at several popular studios in San Francisco before moving to Moraga to start a family and open her private practice. She’s a mom of two, a soccer coach, a lover of dance and is beyond grateful to have found JIM and for the opportunity to introduce and teach Pilates mat to this incredible community!

  • STEPHANIE TOBON

    Stephanie Tobon was born in Los Angeles and it wasn't until she moved to the Bay Area that she found her love for dance at In Motion Dance Center located in Martinez, CA. There, she trained in ballet, jazz, lyrical, modern, and contemporary. During that time, at her beloved childhood studio, she competed throughout the Bay Area. Eventually, she realized that she wanted to explore the discipline more deeply in her college career.

    She performed and choreographed at Diablo Valley College, under the direction of Kimberly Valmore obtaining her AA in Dance and Psychology. After that, she transferred to Mills College in 2018 where Stephanie began to dig deeper, explore technology, and create dances specifically designed for the screen.

    Once she earned her BA in Dance and Psychology in 2020, Steph started the accelerated master’s program to receive her MFA in Dance and graduated in May of 2021. During her Master's Program, choreographing and creating dances for the screen, she found a deeper passion for educating younger dancers.

    Having danced and performed in festivals around the Bay Area with COterie DAnce Company and A Pulso Dance Project, Steph is excited to continue finding performing opportunities as she pursues her career in dance education. She is dedicated to spread the love of dance to people of all ages.