Trisha Gooch, Executive Director
Trisha has 18 years of fundraising, marketing communications, strategic planning, nonprofit management and leadership experience. She has a bachelor’s degree in writing and editing from the City University of New York and has served in leadership and development roles at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Mainly Mozart, National Alliance on Mental Illness, San Diego Food Bank, and Second Chance. She earned her Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) designation in 2012, joining only 5,500 other fundraising professionals throughout the world who have earned this certification. Her first career was as a professional singer and actress in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York City. Three special credits include the National Touring Company of Les Misérables, the world premiere of The Who’s Tommy at the La Jolla Playhouse and San Francisco’s long-running musical review, Beach Blanket Babylon.
Jean Isaacs, Artistic Director
Jean Isaacs is a critically acclaimed, award-winning choreographer whose work has been presented in Switzerland, Germany, China, Mexico, Guatemala, Canada and Poland, as well as on both coasts of the US. In 2002, the Village Voice called her “a warm, witty, and wise choreographer,” and the New York Times said of her dances, “They were intelligent dances danced by sharp, speedy dancers.” Isaacs is the Artistic Director of the San Diego Dance Theater, the originator of the annual site-specific project Trolley Dances and the co-founder of the San Diego Dance Alliance, Three’s Company and Dancers, and Isaacs/McCaleb & Dancers. Her work has been commissioned by the San Diego Opera, The La Jolla Playhouse, The Old Globe Theater, Goodman Theater, The San Diego Repertory Theater, the Berkeley Repertory Theater, Long Wharf Theater, and for the “New Wave” Festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
Isaacs collaborates frequently with numerous cross-border partners, creating the Festival of Mexican Contemporary Dance at San Diego State University and earned awards from UC Mexus, the US/Mexico Fund for Culture, Arts International, and the UC Civic Collaborative for this work. Recent awards have included the Craig Noel San Diego Theater Critics Award, the Bay Area Theater Critics Award, two California Arts Council Choreography Fellowships, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Sign-On San Diego Editors Award, the Distinguished Teaching Award at UC San Diego and the California Dance Educators Associate Artistic Award, and the DanceUSA / Irvine choreography fellowship. Jean Isaacs taught technique, choreography, and improvisation at the University of California, San Diego, Department of Theatre and Dance for 25 years. Her company is in residence at Dance Place San Diego at ARTS DISTRICT Liberty Station where she directs the SDDT School and creates dances for her beautiful company of some of the region’s most accomplished dancers.
Rebekah Brown, Operations Manager
Originally from the small town of Ashland, Ohio, Rebekah started dancing at age seven at Opus II Dance Studio studying ballet, jazz, modern, and tap. She received a BFA in Dance Performance from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and while there, pioneered a study abroad program with the University of Chichester in England. She also holds an MFA in Choreography from Mills College. As Operations Manager, Rebekah coordinates programs and events for San Diego Dance Theater and manages the rental space, White Box Live Arts, at Liberty Station. She is on Faculty and an Outreach Teaching Artist for San Diego Dance Theater School, drawing on inspiration from her training and 15 years of teaching and choreographing. Her curiosity for multi-disciplinary art continues to be a strong component of her creative work.
Rebekah directs H2O Dance Company, a contemporary modern dance company founded in 2015. H2O’s mission is to create inspiring, accessible dance work while providing a space where artists can be supported, ask questions, and create community. In addition, she is the co-curator for Fresh Dances with colleague Emily Miller and works with Ian Isles to curate ArtMOVES, the dance stage at ArtWalk San Diego in Little Italy. She also works with the dance team at Awaken Church on musicals and creative items throughout the year. Rebekah pursues performance, choreography, teaching, and arts administration and consistently remains connected to dance in all aspects of her life.
Terry Wilson, Associate Artistic Director
Terry Wilson is San Diego Dance Theater’s Associate Artistic Director and has been performing, choreographing and teaching for 28 years. Her dance career began the minute she met Jean Isaacs and she has performed over 50 dances created by Jean. She studied with Jean at SDSU and consequently began dancing for Three’s Company and Dancers in 1986. Terry then performed for Isaacs/McCaleb and Dancers for eight years before leaving to gain her MFA in Dance from the University of Michigan. Following that, she returned to San Diego to dance for Jean at San Diego Dance Theater, retiring in 2003. After retiring from performing, she worked with Jean to create “Moving Stories,” a children’s program, became rehearsal director for repertoire, and a board member for San Diego Dance Theater. She is honored to work alongside Jean again, now as Associate Artistic Director. In 2000 Terry won the San Diego Dance Alliance Tommy Award for best female performer, and in 2015 she took first place for site-specific dance in the International Fringe Festival. She also holds a BS in Psychology from SDSU. Terry is a Professor of Dance at San Diego City College and a Lecturer in Dance at UCSD.
Erica Tarassoff, Financial Manager
Erica Tarassoff is a certified QuickBooks Accountant and holds a degree in Small Business Accounting. Currently, Erica owns and manages a kid’s dance studio adjacent to San Diego Dance Theater. She is married and a mother of two girls. Her hobbies include dancing, travelling, fishing, and cooking. She began her career as a Restaurant Management at the age of 18 in her hometown of Federal Way, WA. Running the restaurant’s daily report was the best part of her job. She loved the challenge of reducing cost, increasing profits and keeping the staff happy. After High School graduation in 2000, she went off to DeVry university and became certified in Business Integrative Systems learning the ropes of eCommerce and Web Development. In 2015, Erica earned her degree as a Small Business Accountant at San Diego City College with Honors. Over the decades, she has helped start-ups in many different industries with many different roles. Erica’s career portfolio includes titles such as, Quality Control Auditor, CPA’s Executive Assistant, Catering Sales Manager, Tax Preparer, and Financial Manager. Erica’s passion as an accountant and a business owner is to promote all small businesses, empowering management to run efficiently and effectively.
Lilian Ibarra, Administrative Assistant
Lilian was born in San Diego and raised in Tijuana, Mexico and being a bi-national dancer has broadened her view and given her a culturally rich exposure to the greater dance world. 2010 marked the beginning of her professional training with Lux Boreal, a prominent contemporary dance company in Tijuana. That year she also participated in the San Diego Dance Theater Summer Workshop and shortly after she was cast in Trolley Dances under the guidance of choreographer Jean Isaacs. Since 2014, she has been immersed full-time in dance education and in the summer of 2017 Lilian received her K-12 Dance Teacher Certification from UNLV and joined San Diego Dance Theater’s work study program. Being a part of that program gave her opportunities to learn and grow into the positions she has today with San Diego Dance Theater: Administrative Assistant, and, Teaching Artist for the Liberty School outreach program.