Natalie attended VSPA all through high school and performed in six of their musicals. Her classes included tap, voice, drums, ballet, and tumbling. In her time at VSPA, she learned not only technique, but also valuable life skills such as the importance of hard work and what is expected of a professional in the industry. She grew in confidence, character, and was encouraged to step outside of her comfort zone. She is grateful to the instructors and staff at VSPA for all they have taught her. She made many friends and has countless memories that she will treasure forever. VSPA and its members were a blessing to her and she wishes the very best to all who become involved in the future.
Natalie is now a student at Vanguard University in Costa Mesa. She is a Theatre major with a Technical/Design concentration. So far she has worked as Audio Mixer and Light Board Operator and looks forward to learning all the areas of backstage theatre.
Special thanks to Ms. Megan for always believing in her.
I started taking classes at VSPA when I was 16. Going into it I was hesitant because I was so much older and less experienced than a lot of the kids in the classes with me. However, as soon as I started, I was so incredibly welcomed and encouraged. I never felt out of place and found a safe place to learn and to fail so that I could further my skills as an actress, dancer and singer. I found a family and a place where I belonged.
VSPA has so many performance opportunities for students to gain experience. Whether it be showcases, recitals or musicals, the experienced gained is truly invaluable. Encouraged to do so by my instructors, I auditioned for Big Fish in 2014. It was my first musical ever. I was terrified and I had no idea what I was doing. To my (very big) surprise, I got cast and was able to learn and grow SO much from being around my teachers, professionals and other experienced peers in the production. During that show I realized that I wanted to do Theatre for the rest of my life. 2 years later, I auditioned and was accepted into a BFA program. VSPA helped me in my preparation to audition for college. I am currently going into my senior year in the BFA program in Acting for the Stage and Screen at Azusa Pacific University! Who knows where I would be today, or what profession I would have chose, if it weren’t for VSPA.
Eternally grateful, forever blessed. Thank you, Valverde.
Having been a VSPA dance, music, and theatre student for 11 years and having been in almost all of their productions, the things I have learned from the staff, my friends, and my own experience has impacted me in all aspects of life. My time at VSPA has taught me so much about artistry, self growth, professionalism, and the overall appreciation of the arts and I cherish all of the memories that are attached to that. The VSPA community has a special place in my heart because I have made lifelong friends there and because it is so welcoming that everyone feels like they have a place there which truly makes it a great environment to learn and grow as a performer. I am now a Tisch drama student at New York University and I can confidently say I couldn't have done it without my VSPA training. I would like to thank Frank and Yesenia Valverde for creating a place in the community for performing artists to learn and thrive beyond the competitive realm and helping make the arts more relevant in people's lives.
Going to VSPA helped me develop the confidence, skills, and perseverance necessary to work in the business. I made so many amazing friends while learning more about acting, dancing, and singing. Not to mention the teachers who all made learning these skills fun and easy! VSPA is absolutely the reason that I am where I am today.
Today I am a background actor for film and television while auditioning for main roles in that medium. I also write my own skits and stand up comedy!
My very first experience with classical dance training came from the Valverde School of Performing Arts, where I was exposed to the performing arts not as a hobby or a competitive sport, but as an artistic endeavor that could lead to a fulfilling and sustainable career. The chances of ending up at a studio where the arts are studied and respected as such, especially in regards to younger students, is ridiculously (and very unfortunately) small, so I consider myself extremely lucky to have found VSPA back when dance was simply a fun pastime. They emphasized proper technique in a setting that prioritized performance – not competition – and focused on training intelligent artists who understood class etiquette just as much as injury prevention. Sustainable, respectful, and well-learned performers – they’re surprisingly hard to come by these days! I learned how to set myself apart in auditions, how to make the most of every class I was taking, how to maintain professionalism in a company setting, and how to perform in a way that fulfilled both me and my audiences. I have yet to find another studio that excels in cultivating artistic development and technical foundations as does VSPA, and I consider this unique introduction into the arts a pivotal part of my success as a professional dancer. On top of their exceptional training, they also shed light on dance history – keeping classical traditions and dance knowledge alive – and opened doors to performance opportunities outside the studio, thus broadening my horizons and building my resume early on. I am forever grateful for the head-start VSPA offered, and I cannot recommend them enough to any artist – child or adult – looking to cultivate their love of the performing arts.
Alyssa Johnson began her classical training with the Valverde School of Performing Arts and the Brockus Conservatory in Los Angeles, where she was introduced to her movement foundations of Luigi Jazz, the Lester Horton Technique, and contemporary ballet, before furthering her training at Alonzo King LINES Ballet and UC Berkeley. She danced as a soloist with Peninsula Ballet Theater under the artistic direction of David Fonnegra, and performed in works by Copious Dance Theater’s Kat Roman, BrickaBrack Theater’s Gabriel Grilli, and Scott Wells & Dancers. She danced as a guest artist with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for Judith Jamison’s retirement tour and choreographed works under the direction of Joe Goode. For her excellence in dance scholarship and performance, she received the Julia Payne Dance scholarship upon graduating from UCB. She now dances with the critically acclaimed Austin-based contemporary dance company, ARCOS Dance, touring internationally as both a performer and an instructor.
Lauren Nguyen, from Fontana, CA grew up in a strict Gymnastics background becoming state vault champion in all of California. After ten years of training she joined a local studio, The Valverde School of Performing Arts. From age thirteen to present day, Lauren has trained in styles including ballet, modern, jazz and contemporary and hip hop. She graduated with a Bachelors in Fine Arts from The American Music and Dramatic Academy in Spring 2017 and hopes to find work in the Cirque industry.
I had a wonderful time as the Queen of Hearts in VSPA’s Alice in Wonderland Jr. as well as taking singing lessons from Mr. Frank. I have continued to pursue a career in the arts as a published author, award nominated actress and a multiple award winning-screenwriter and filmmaker. You can catch me on Youtube as the host of Sharp Productions and Sharp News or check out my channel Queenadreams. Now that I have graduated from UC Berkeley, I am taking time to finish the sequel to my book The Broken Trinity: Secrets of the Orb. I am grateful for being part of the VSPA family and I want to thank Frank and Yesenia for supporting my career and allowing me to cast their talented performers in my film productions.
"VSPA has been my second home for creativity since I first came there in 2008. My teachers were inspiring and caring, always helping me to become a better dancer, singer, and actor! As a student, I felt welcomed and that I was in an environment where I could practice to be the artist I wanted to be. I'll always love VSPA as my home and I'll never forget my wonderful experiences there!"
Valverde School of Performing Arts is not only a school where students learn dance, vocals, theatre, and etiquette but also both Yesenia and Frank Valverde also teach humility, passion, empathy, the true definition of hard work and discipline. VSPA helps students find their own unique voice in the performing arts, to empower and inspire each other as a team, as a family, and to remind students (like myself) that we are entitled to nothing! But if we truly want our dreams then we have to go and get it! I have learned so much from them, and because of them I will always consider myself a student in the arts.
Some of my fondest memories are performing with Expressions and in VSPA’s Alice in Wonderland Jr. I will never forget the amazing friends I made, the wonderful teachers and the supportive environment. Their training laid the foundation for my time in the Lythgoe Family’s production of Cinderella, Nickelodeon’s iCarly and Investigation Discovery’s Unusual Suspects. I am currently attending UC Berkeley and served as the President of the Actors Fund’s “Looking Ahead” program for professional young performers. I would like to continue pursuing a career in the entertainment industry and was recently nominated for Best Actress at the Young Entertainer Awards at Universal Studios Hollywood and the Opificer Media Film Festival.
As a member of VSPA for nine years, I'm grateful to say that I've learned and grown a lot from my training at this studio. I studied tap, jazz, lyrical, ballet, hip-hop, and I've been able to use what I've received at the studio to benefit me in my later years of dancing. The teachers and owners dedicate their time and energy into each child because of their love for the arts, and they made an influential presence as I've grown. I can now say that because of these teachers, I'm prepared to pursue dance at the college level. I recommend VSPA for anyone who's interested, you won't be disappointed!
Katarina joined VSPA in 2006 as a drama student. Over the years as VSPA expanded, she joined the improv troupe which performed all around the community and in the yearly showcases. She took private singing lessons with Mr. Frank and jazz dance with Mrs. Yesenia. As soon as Rock School was introduced to the music program, Katarina auditioned as a back-up singer and later fulfilled the bassist role of the band. She was apart of Just Like Us, Alice in Wonderland Jr.,The Wiz, School of Rock Jr, Pocahontas: A Dance Drama, and CATS. In 2012 she created a digital background for Peter Pan: A Dance Drama and in 2015 designed the platform stage for Disney's The Little Mermaid Musical. In June 2016, she will receive her B.A. in Architecture from Cal Poly Pomona and is eager to pursue production design for film and theater. She is very thankful for the impact that VSPA has had in her creative life, and is grateful for the enriching friendships she has developed with students and the VSPA family.
"VSPA is much more than a performing arts studio. Through its doors, you will be welcomed into a family. You'll find genuine, loving, and extremely talented people who share the same passion and will inspire you to pursue your full potential. VSPA made a significant impact on my life and I truly would not be the person that I have grown into without them. Thank you infinite times VSPA and the family whom I'll always have in my heart. I'm still dancing and I'm currently a member of a collegiate hip hop dance team called Collective Faction.
"My experience at VSPA for the last 7 years is an unforgettable one. This school offered me a plethora of opportunities to perform what I loved to do and introduced me to new challenges as an individual. Not only was it a place to sing, dance and play music, but it was also a place that I undoubtedly called my second home. I developed my passion for musical theatre at VSPA and have gained amazing, life-long friends. I am forever grateful for all of the memories and the amazing teachers that made me who I am today."
"I don’t know what my life would have been like without VSPA! I feel like I was really able to hone my talents in a safe and supportive space. Even though I’m not a musical theatre major, I gained so many life skills. Confidence, dedication, and passion are only a few things I picked up over 7 years at VSPA (besides how to shuffle-ball-change). And there are just some things that you can only get from belting your heart out on stage with other kindred spirits- memories I wouldn’t trade for anything."
"Being part of VSPA in my early 20s has helped give me the confidence that I have today. Being really timid and shy, Frank helped me break out of my comfort zone and I was able to present and be myself in front of people. I also learned here that it's ok to make mistakes. That saying, "fall down 7 times, get up 8" really helped me overcome my fear of failure. I have been chasing my dreams for years now and I never gave up until one day, my dreams became reality. Confidence is key, and VSPA teaches their students to always believe in themselves!"