Meet The Team

Yaya Zhang

- Founder, Artistic Director -

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Yaya Zhang is an accomplished multidisciplinary artist with twenty years of experience in stage performance, choreography, musical theater and the creation of modern art. In 2014, she established the award winning dance studio Yaya Dance Academy. Classes offered at the studio include ballet, musical theater, folk, modern, jazz, and tap. The studio offers children dance programs and adult dance programs as well as a fitness class program that includes dance fitness, pilates, and yoga. During the few years since the studio opened, her students have participated and won many awards in several national and international dance competitions. At their most recent competition the studio won awards including Judges Choice Award, Most Entertaining, Overall Best Score, secondary line overall No 1, Elite Top First Place, a $100 cash award, Best Video of the Week, and an invitation to the New Year intensive program. In 2014, “New Drum Rhythms," a dance produced at her academy won the “All Star” honor at CCTV Dance World. In 2017, she directed “Love Feast II” in cooperation with Pacific Symphony Orchestra at Segerstrom Center for the Arts, and was hailed by media critics including Los Angeles Times. In 2018, Yaya Dance Academy became a founding member of International Music and Dance Festival, and worked together with Claire Trevor School of the Arts of UCI on an east-west cultural exchange project. To popularize musical theater within the community, YDA started musical theater classes in 2018 and invited Broadway directors and actors to come teach students. Open ideals and high quality art education is our continuous mission, and through professional training we provide reputable competition and performance opportunities to broaden the students’ vision and capabilities.

Radhanath Thialan

- Associate Artistic Director -
- Social Media Marketing - 

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Originally from Malaysia, Radhanath Thialan (Rad) had been dancing all around the world since he was 10. He holds an MFA in Dance - Choreography at University of California, Irvine. Rad is currently the Education Director at Yaya Dance Academy and is also the Founder/Artistic Director for Rad-icalDance Company, which not only hold stage performances but also dancefilms. His works was awarded and premiered in Arizona, Malaysia, and Canada while some stage performances were premiered in California, Malaysia, and even Shanghai. During his school years, Rad graduated with honors and outstanding choreographer award at the University of California, Irvine, earning a BFA in Choreography, he also earned the highest honors award at Scottsdale Community College with three associates degrees in two years where he danced and toured with Instinct Dance Corps. He was lucky to have worked with Lar Lubovitch, Amir Kolben, Noa Wertheim, SiZheng Wang, Betsy Fisher just to name a few. While in UCI, he was also offered several scholarships, traveled to Israel, and was chosen as the only student choreographer to premier a work in 2017 in Shanghai. 

While at Yaya Dance Academy, Rad had choreographed works for Pacific Symphony's Love Feast along with Yaya Zhang, and have sent students to several dance competitions. He also use his talents in video editing to create dance films for the school and his students. Thanks to his love for technology, he also single handedly built this website. His passion for the arts is definitely shown during his teaching as well hoping to share his knowledge with all dance lovers out there. 

Yana Zhao

- Director of Yaya Dance Academy Torrance -

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Yana Zhao graduated from Beijing Dance Academy and received her secondary dance school from Guangdong Dance & Drama College . She started dancing at age 7. She was professionally trained in Chinese classic dance, Chinese folk dance, contemporary Jazz, and musical theatre dance performing arts. She was an actress and dancer for about 15 years. After she received her BA from Beijing Dance Academy in 2005. She joined Beijing Guo Lun Arts Center and China National Theatre for Children. Meanwhile, she was a professional dance teacher/Artistic director at several well-known universities in Beijing, China. Since then she’s enjoyed teaching children, teenagers and adults at dance groups/schools.
 

Performing Experiences: 
1)  CCTV Spring Festival Gala Dance <Butterfly of China>,Musical <Sunrise> 
2)  Musical <Cats>, <West side Story> etc. 
3)  Musical <Snow wolf lake><sand of gold> 
4)  The 50th Anniversary celebration of Beijing Dance Academy-<Classic Musical theater collection> ​