Lanie de Castro
Lanie de Castro is one of Melbourne’s most renowned female urban choreographers. With more than 12 years of dance experience behind her, she has remained an active member of the Melbourne dance community. Throughout the years, Lanie has been very involved in the dance crew scene, dancing and co-directing for award-winning dance crews such as Beatphonik, KSTAR and The Collektive. In 2017, she choreographed and directed the winning performance at Melbourne’s Grounded: Battle of the Arts, winning 1st Place and Most Outstanding Choreography in the Street Division. Nowadays, Lanie invests her time in sharing her passion with various dance studios and community programs across Melbourne. In addition to teaching dance, she is also working towards obtaining a degree in Education. She aims to combine this knowledge with her dance experience to have a positive influence on the youth in our community. Lanie is very excited to jump on board with L2R because they share similar goals and values. She too strongly believes dance is a universal language that can offer opportunities to promote well-being, collaboration and cultural diversity within our community.
Hena first began her dance journey at age 11, and in contrast to most 11yo girls she was instantly drawn hip-hop and had no desire to put on ballet slippers. Hena’s dance repertoire spans many genres including hip hop, contemporary and jazz, and she completed her formal studies of Performing Arts Training with Patrick Studios Australia in 2011. With an unyielding desire to evolve as a dancer, Hena frequently travels internationally to further develop her skills. Hena has recently joined the cast of the Tony Award winning “In the heights” musical as a member of the dance ensemble. She has also been on tour with upcoming Australian artists Banoffee and Paces, and has performed at major Australian festivals including Laneway, Falls Festival, Beyond the Valley, and Meredith. Hena has a profound passion for dance, and it’s how she identifies herself, where she is free to be an explorer, a creator, an innovator, an acolyte, and a master. The invaluable experiences and possibilities dance has offered her throughout her practice have been instrumental in making Hena the person she finds herself today.
Emily is of Macedonian decent who has had a passion for the performing arts since a very young age. She is a versatile dancer, having done many styles of dance including contemporary, jazz, tap and hip-hop. Emily has had a great deal of experience on stage having performed since the age of three, and feels as though it is where she belongs and feels at home. She is also involved in the musical theatre scene and has performed in ‘All Shook Up’ (2016), as Martha Cox in ‘High School Musical’ (2015) and most recently the role of Tzietel in ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ (2017). Since 2016, she has worked with L2R Dance as dance teacher, emerging artist and youth committee member.
Aside from performing, Emily is studying a Bachelor of Education (p-12) at Victoria University, majoring in Visual Arts. Most recently, Emily auditioned for professional hip hop crew ‘Superhoodz’ who have frequent professional gigs and dance for Melbourne United Basketball. Out of approx. 40 dancers that auditioned, Emily was successful and joined the crew in September of 2018!
Born in Japan and raised in Australia, Daisuke Benson has been working as a dancer, choreographer and instructor since 2006. With a career spanning across three countries, he has researched and trained in many diverse dance styles such as hip hop, funk, and urban choreography. Daisuke has trained and worked in Japan, Thailand, Australia and most recently, Las Vegas. With a bilingual background, he is able to communicate and lead dance classes in both English and Japanese. Whilst he is in constant training, Daisuke aims to share his passion and knowledge of dance with others and be a ready role model for the youth of today using dance as a main platform.
Jacinda is the founder and CEO of L2R Dance, and also works as a teaching artist for the organisation she founded in 2009. With extensive professional dance experience spanning many genres, including, jazz, ballet, hip hop, contemporary, Latin and West African styles, Jacinda has had the opportunity to work as a dancer and choreographer both in Australia and internationally, including performances and workshops in remote Aboriginal communities in the Kimberley’s, Ghana, and Korea. In 2014, Jacinda graduated from Deakin University with distinction, completing an Honours degree with her research project, The Role of Hip Hop Dance in Young People’s Sense of Well-being. In January 2018, Jacinda was awarded the Brimbank Australian Day Award - Educator of the Year.
Dennis ‘Nasa’ Pennalligen
Dennis ‘Nasa’ Pennalligen is a B-Boy and Hip-hop dancer from Melbourne with Maori cultural heritage, and has been the facilitator of L2R’s Breaking @ Braybrook program since 2012. Nasa has developed a method of teaching that encourages the more advanced dancers to take on a ‘teacher/student’ role which enhances the feel of community in the space. As with all L2R programs, Nasa runs Breaking @ Braybrook with an open door policy, and the program has established itself as a safe space for young people to participate in dance. Nasa is also a Community Cultural Development practitioner, and he has worked for cohealth Arts Generator and Brimbank City Council as a Youth Arts Facilitator. Nasa also runs an annual Community Hip-hop Dance Festival in Melbourne called ‘Cypher Culture’.
Alec Steelo Pernes is an artist, dancer and teacher, with and currently training in House dance and Hip-Hop, joining the L2R Team in late 2019. As an 'up-and-coming' dancer, Alec has been steadily gaining a lot of experience teaching, performing and competing in the past 3 years where he was guided by close friends and mentors from the wider street dance community, through university dance curriculums that rekindled his love for movement. He has begun his new venture at L2R to foster his career in dance and grow further and improve as a teacher, professional and artist, with the purpose to use his craft to give to others the same opportunities that helped him realise his passion.