Born and raised in Wailuku, Maui, Ms. Chong received her initial ballet training at the Maui Academy of Performing Arts and continued her education and training at the University of Hawaii at Manoa with Alaine Haubert and Sandra Hammond. While pursuing her Master’s Degree from New York University, she trained with Kat Wildish, Finis Jhung and Natalya Stavro.
Locally, she performed with the Maui Academy of Performing Arts and Onium Ballet Project. Recently, Ms. Chong conceived and directed Duets, a program of dances from different cultures and disciplines, at the Doris Duke Theatre at the Honolulu Museum of Art.
As the Associate Director of Development for the Honolulu Museum of Art, Denise was the staff liaison for the museum's annual black-tie event, Kama'aina Christmas and served on their ARTafterDARK Advisory Board.
Ms. Chong has been teaching ballet at Queen Emma Dance Studio for the past 12 years and has served as the Stage Manager and Assistant to the Choreographer for various Diamond Head Theatre performances including The King and I (2011), Peter Pan (2009), and The Flower Drum Song (2008).
Ms. Chong currently teaches the beginner level Adult Open Technique class on Tuesday as well as student classes at Honolulu Classical Ballet.
Born in Kyoto, Japan, Aya Duong received her training at the Miyashita Ballet School from the age of 3, beginning with Creative Movement classes and progressing through the Professional Division. She also studied in Tokyo and Sapporo training with Yoshimi Yo, and Jan Nuyts before joining Miyashita Ballet Company as a soloist in 1999.
Highlights of her roles include Vivandiere, Flowers in Hans Meister’s Nutcracker, Pas de Trois, Big Swans and Spanish princess in Hideo Fukagawa’s Swan Lake as well as Don Quixote, Soirees de ballet, Gershwin Mon Amour, and the Pas de Deux in Le Corsaire.
She joined the faculty at Miyashita Ballet School in 1999, teaching Children’s Division and Open Program classes and assisted in choreographing for the school’s yearly showcase.
She moved to Hawaii in 2006 and recently joined the Onium Ballet Project.
Ms. Duong teaches intermediate level Adult Open Technique classes on Wednesday and Saturday as well as student classes at Honolulu Classical Ballet.
Leslie Lauren Gouveia
Leslie Lauren Gouveia received her formal ballet training from Charlys Ing at the Punahou Dance School. She has performed with Hawaii Ballet Theatre, Franklin & Marshall Dance Company, Rensselaer Dance Club and Maude Baum & Company Dance Theatre.
In 2005, she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering and Mathematics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Since returning to Hawaii, Lauren continues to train and has appeared as a soloist and a member of the corps de ballet in Hawaii Ballet Theatre’s The Nutcracker. She continues to support Hawaii Ballet Theatre as a rehearsal assistant and as production staff with Punahou Dance School.
Ms. Gouveia teaches the Saturday Prima and Intro to Ballet Technique classes at Honolulu Classical Ballet.
Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, Brigitte Nakagawa began her ballet training at the age of seven from Hawaii State Ballet.
At 15, Brigitte participated in the prestigious Prix de Lausanne Competition in Switzerland. She furthered her formal training at the Tachibana Ballet School and was among an elite group of young dancers invited to dance in La Baule, France at the International Dance Festival alongside international stars Carlos Acosta, Laetitia Pujol, Naoya Kojima, Koichi Kubo and Mizuka Ueno. She danced professionally with the Asami Maki Ballet.
Upon retiring from professional dance, Brigitte returned to Honolulu and received her BS in Family Resources with an emphasis on Early Childhood Development as well as a minor in Dance at the University of Hawaii, Manoa.
Brigitte has been teaching ballet to children for over 12 years at various schools on Oahu. In 2002, she began her own business called, “Premiere Steps,” going around to different pre-schools and introducing toddlers to the world of dance.
Ms. Nakagawa teaches the Intermediate level Adult Open Technique class on Thursday at Honolulu Classical Ballet.