If you’ve ever been to an Upper School Spring Dance Recital, you know it will be an impressive show of talent and multi-media production. This is in large part because of the skills and dedication of SD Dance teacher Alyssa Carnahan. Alyssa is a dancer and choreographer and works with students K-12 here at SD. She fell in love with ballet at age four and trained at Redwood Empire Ballet, Ballet Califia, ArtQuest Dance Company, and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, from which she graduated Summa Cum Laude.
Alyssa has performed with Cal Poly Orchesis Dance Company, Walt Disney Parks Entertainment, Mills RepCo, and Ballet Califia Company. She received her MFA in Dance from Mills College. She has taught at schools and studios throughout the Bay Area, including the Dance Center of Santa Rosa, Just Dance Academy, Mills College, Presidio Dance Theater, Cross and Crown School, Tiburon-Belvedere Recreation, and Roustabout Theater. Alyssa joined the San Domenico faculty in 2015.
“My favorite part of being a member of the San Domenico community is the creativity and dedication of the staff, and the open-heartedness of the students.”
Hometown: I was born in San Leandro, and I grew up in Rohnert Park, California.
Why did you choose to work at San Domenico?
I love the beautiful campus at San Domenico, and all the wildlife we see on a daily basis. I also love that San Domenico encourages students to grow in all facets of their lives. This school helps students grow into well-rounded people, academically, socially, artistically, and civically.
What is your favorite annual event at SD?
Every year I look forward to the Christmas Tableaux. It is such a magical event here at SD, filled with tradition, beauty, and reverence. I also love the Thanksgiving Food Drive, and how enthusiastic the students are to donate food items.
What activities do you participate in at SD?
Here at SD, I help choreograph the musical productions, and I direct the annual Spring Dance Concert. I have also worked on the Opening-of-School Reflection, Earth Day, and Grandparents' Day.
Do you have any hidden talents?
I can name all the presidents in order, from Washington all the way through Biden!
What makes a “good day” at school?
A "good day" includes a stimulating discussion with students, and a creative after school rehearsal. I also love walking through the campus, and greeting students and staff as we pass by one another.
What is a favorite city you’ve visited, and why is it special to you?
One of the favorite cities I've visited is Rome. I loved the beautiful architecture, and how walkable the city is. The food was amazing (gelato!), and there are SO many amazing cultural sites and monuments to visit.
When do you feel joyful?
I feel joyful when I dance, and when I play with my dog!
What is your ideal weekend?
My ideal weekend includes some relaxing, cozy indoor time, (reading, doing a puzzle, watching a great movie), and some active outdoor time, (a beautiful hike or a day at the beach).
What are your “trapped on a desert island” books or movies?
For books, I would bring Jurassic Park, the Betsy-Tacy series, or anything by Ann Patchett. For movies, I would bring “A League of Their Own” and the “Lord of the Rings” series.
WATCH this video for more on Alyssa’s work in the SD Dance Department.