Core Artists

Mercy Sidbury (choreographer) moved to San Francisco in 1976 as a member of Oberlin Dance Collective. She spend the next 25 years dancing, teaching and choreographing in the Bay Area, in addition to a short stint in New York City. A ten year member of the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company, she toured nationally and internationally with the company before leaving in 1988 to pursue a variety of other dance challenges, including teaching at Sonoma State. She subsequently received awards and grants for performance and choreography and feels privileged to have been a part of the thriving Bay Area dance community. She moved to Sonoma County in 1999 and currently spends her time teaching movement education based in the Pilates Method at her home studio, and dance technique at Mendocino College. She wishes to thank Amanda and all the fabulous dancers who are dedicated to bringing more dance to our beautiful county.

Virginia Matthews (choreographer/dancer) began her dance career at Sarah Lawrence College under the mentorship of Bessie Shoenberg and trained at The Merce Cunningham Studio in New York City. She was a founding member of The Margaret Jenkins Dance Co. in San Francisco, and continued her professional career as co-artistic director of Dances for 1 and 2, establishing her own dance company in 1983. Since moving to Sonoma County, she has worked extensively with youth and adults through her classes at Downtown Dance/Art Space, Analy High School and The Sebastopol Community Center. She founded All City Dance, a teen dance company and is now involved in creating The Continuum Dance Project, a performing company encompassing ages 8 to 60. Her choreography has been performed throughout the U.S. and in other countries since 1974. She is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts award for choreography.

Nicole Basque
, formerly Nicole Imholz, grew up studying gymnastics and discovered a passion for modern dance at Sonoma State University. While studying there, she danced under the direction of Kristen Daley, Nancy Lyons, Scott Wells, Kathleen Hermesdorff, Joe Goode, Sheldon Smith and other renowned bay area artists. Nicole received her B.A. in Dance in 2008. She went on to earn her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential at Dominican University in 2009. She continued to dance for Amanda Kreglow in her annual production "Amanda Kreglow Presents". She has performed with SoCo Dance Theater since its creation and has felt very privileged to dance and choreograph with the company. She lives in Healdsburg with her husband and cat and teaches 2nd grade in Sebastopol.

Kristen Daley
(dancer/choreographer) Kristen Daley is an Associate Professor of Dance at Sonoma State University where she currently serves as Chair of the Department of Theatre Arts & Dance. She performed and taught, both nationally and internationally with the critically acclaimed Doug Elkins Dance Company (NYC) from 1994-2001. She has also worked with Mercy Sidbury, Mark Haim, Matthew Nash, Locate Performance Group and Gus Solomons Jr. Dance. Kristen was a member of the Chamber Dance Company in Seattle, Washington from 2001-2003 dancing the works of Isadora Duncan, Hanya Holm, Hannah Kahn, Murray Louis, Susan Marshall, Bebe Miller, Mark Morris and Anna Sokolow. She has been a guest artist at Ohio University, New York University/Tisch School of the Arts, Dance Works Rotterdam and SummerDance Santa Barbara. Kristen is a founding member of SoCo Dance Theater. She is currently working with Christine Cali and Jessie Olsen Bay on a Soundscape Project inspired by the SSU Nature Preserves and the work of musician and naturalist, Bernie Krause. Kristen received her B.F.A (dance) from Ohio University and her M.F.A. (dance) from the University of Washington.

Gloria E. Rubio-Verduzco 
(dancer/choreographer) graduated from Sonoma State University with a dual Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Dance in 2011.  She has choreographed, performed, and directed theater and dance throughout the Bay Area. She has acted as assistant director and assistant choreographer with the Sonoma State Dance Ensemble, and received the Student of the Year award through the Department of Theatre Arts & Dance. She is currently a choreographer and board member for Sonoma County Dance Theater.  She is a Veriditas Labyrinth Facilitator, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Psychology at Meridian University in conjunction with the Tamalpa Institute Training Program in movement-based expressive arts.

Mira-Lisa Katz (dancer/choreographer), a native of Seattle, has been dancing in the Bay Area since 1977. She has performed with Lucas Hoving, Mary Reid, Jill Randall, Dana Lawton, Randee Paufve, Gay White, Ruth Botchan, Virginia Matthews, Nancy Lyons, Mercy Sidbury and other local choreographers. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Dance/Creative Practice at St. Mary’s College of California. Dancer and critic Sarah Chenoweth’s review of Mira’s recent suite of dances, “Change of State,” (2015) can be found here:


In addition to dancing, Mira earned a Ph.D. in Education in Language, Literacy and Culture from U.C. Berkeley in 1999, and has been a Professor of English at Sonoma State University since 2002. She teaches and writes about language, literacy, linguistics, multimodality and dance. Her edited book, Moving IdeasMultimodality and Embodied Learning in Communities and Schools, can be found at and her academic profile is here:

Nancy Lyons
(choreographer/dancer) began dancing as a child in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she first studied ballet. As a teen she caught the “modern” bug as inspired by Elizabeth Waters (former lead dancer with Hanya Holm) with whom she studied and performed. After moving to the SF Bay Area she continued dancing and performing and received an MA in Dance from Mills College. Her solo and group choreography has been performed in the Bay Area, NY City and internationally, including Switzerland, France, Hong Kong and Taipei. With Rebecca Fuller, former Chair of the Dance Department at Mills College, she co-authored Openings and Inner Workings, The Moving Box and The Moving Book, resources for movement exploration and dance making. She received a Sonoma County Art Award for Dance (1990) and 6th Street Playhouse showcase of selected women performing artists in 2012. She is Professor Emeritus of Dance at Sonoma State University, having retired after more than 40 years as teacher and Director of the Dance Program. She is delighted to be a new member of SoCo Dance Theater! 

Nichele Van Portfleet
(choreographer/dancer) is a Sebastopol native, who currently resides in Oakland and works as a dance-artist throughout the Bay Area. She has had the pleasure of recently performing with Christine Cali (Cali & Co), Mo Miner (Mid to West Dance) and Nancy Lyons (SoCo Dance Theater), and appeared as a guest with Joe Goode Performance Group in 2014. A founding member of Hatch Devised Performance in SF, her choreographic work crosses genres of devised and dance theater, classical and contemporary dance styles. Nicky received her B.A. in Theater Arts & Dance from Sonoma State University, from which her dance, Parched, traveled to Arizona for the American College Dance Festival West (2013), receiving the honor of Gala selection. She has since returned to SSU as a guest choreographer and Adjunct Professor of Dance. Nicky also teaches at Shawl-Anderson Dance Center in Berkeley as well as at the Sebastopol Ballet School, and is the Administrative Coordinator for RAWdance in San Francisco. In the Spring of 2016 she looks forward to participating in a residency program at SAFEhouse for the Arts in SF. She is thrilled to be joining SoCo Dance Theater this season as the collective’s newest member. In her “spare time”, you might find her in her garden, on a mountain, or melting metal in her jewelry studio.