About Us

REJOICE! Alleluia Dance Theater (ADT) is a Christian, not-for-profit, public benefit corporation, founded in 1977. We encourage people of all faiths and denominations to participate in our dance retreats and classes. We also perform in concerts, worship services and celebrations. Stella Matsuda is the artistic director; other company members are Emmalyn Moreno, and Marti Ryan. Each dancer has trained in dance, danced professionally and teaches dance in studios, schools and/or colleges.

The Alleluia Dance Theater was founded in 1977 by Stella Matsuda and Marti Ryan. Since that time, the Company has dedicated their talents to affirm God’s love through dance.

The Board of Directors include Marilyn Mosley-Gordanier, President; Emmalyn Moreno, Vice President; Catherine Foley, Secretary; Stella Matsuda, Treasurer. Other members are Sue Paulson, Marti Ryan, and Rita Warren.

STELLA SHIZUKA MATSUDA – Founding Director, Artistic/Administrative Director

Stella MatsudaStella is the Founding Director of Alleluia Dance Theater.  Stella earned her BA in Dance at UCLA and her MA in Education from California Lutheran University and taught at San Gabriel High School, UCLA, CLU, and Moorpark College. As Director of Dance at Moorpark, she retired as Professor Emeritus in 1997. Stella was a principal dancer for 15 years with Gloria Newman Dance Theatre.  She has been the keynote speaker and taught and performed throughout the U.S. and Canada for various churches, organizations, and festivals. She also served as president of the International Sacred Dance Guild. She currently teaches dance and tai-chi in the Conejo Valley and Westlake areas and serves as the Administrative Director for ADT.

EMMALYN MORENO – Teacher, Choreographer, Dancer

Emmalyn MorenoEmmalyn has an AA in Dance, Palomar College, BA in Liberal Studies (Performing Arts emphasis) CSU San Marcos, and an MA in Ethnomusicology (Dance emphasis) SDSU.   Emmalyn also taught at SDSU and Southwestern Colleges and was also co-director, choreographer and costumer for the African ensembles at  both colleges. Emmalyn is an accomplished musician, singer and composer who is deeply involved in the music and dance ministries. Presently serving both military and civilian communities in and around Camp Pendleton, she is also the Music Minister for 3 San Diego churches (Protestant and Catholic). Serving on the the Board of Directors for Holy Spirit Retreat Center (Sisters of Social Services) in Encino, CA, she facilitates the dance retreats and also works closely with Mission San Luis Rey Retreat Center. Her original composition “Chant of the 4 Directions” has been adopted as the theme song for the International Sacred Dance Guild. She was also chosen as the Musician for SDG Festival 2012, and wrote, choreographed and taught the theme song entitled “HOPE.”

MARTI RYAN – Teacher, Choreographer, Dancer

Marti RyanMarti, co-founder of Alleluia Dance Theater, received her BA in Kinesiology with Dance emphasis from CSU Northridge and her MS in Guidance and Counseling at California Lutheran University.  She studied dance with Stella Matsuda, Sallie Whalen and Carolyn Barbian, as well as in private studios.  In addition, Marti taught dance at CSUN, and directed programs at the Pacoima Magnet School for the Performing Arts, St. Maximillian Kolbe and Hughes Aircraft Company. She taught and served as a counselor for Century High School in Thousand Oaks, CA, where she also taught drumming and yoga. Recently retired, she now resides in Boise, ID and is now a certified yoga instructor.

EVELYN OKAMOTO – Guest Teacher, Choreographer, Dancer

Inspired by dance in her church, Evelyn studied dance under Fred Strickler and Cynthia Quinn at UC Riverside (BA) and under Judy Mitoma at UCLA (MA) with an emphasis in Dance Ethnology.  She also taught and performed at Santa Monica College, UC Riverside, UCLA and CalArts in their Javanese dance dramas. A former member of Alleluia Dance Theater, Evelyn teaches, choreographs and performs at workshops and retreats at various venues and churches in Southern California.

JULIA FELKER – Guest Artist, Teacher

Dance faculty at California Lutheran University and also teaches for both the Conejo Recreation and Park District and Dance Ten Studio. Also taught at University of Redlands. Danced professionally with Donna Sternberg & Dancers. Studied dance with Bill Evans, Joann Dierdorff, and others.