Board Members & Team
Meet The Team
Dance gave me a voice, it gave me direction and helped me find myself, and I want to pass that along to youth who wouldn't otherwise have the access or opportunity to dance. In 2014, Melanie Buttarazzi started Fostering Dreams Project.
Melanie is a Toronto native who has been dancing since the age of four studying various forms of dance such as Ballet, Jazz, Hip Hop, Modern, Flamenco, Latin, Ballroom and Salsa. She was a top 18 finalist on So You Think You Can Dance Canada.
With a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from York University, Melanie has taught dance to children and adults around Canada and the US and Europe.
Living in Los Angeles, Melanie has worked with some of the industries top professionals on stage and on set for commercials, music videos and film. She's worked with artists such as Pitbull, Neyo, JLO, and Pharrell to name a few and has performed on many stages world wide.
Hip Hop Choreographer and Instructor from Los Angeles, CA. Aukai has danced with and for Janet Jackson, Mario, New Miami Sound Machine, Dr. Dre, Ying Yang Twins, Clay Aiken, Jessica Simpson, among other artists. He has recently choregoraphed two movies with Red Thorn Productions, and HBO feature film.
Aukai also appeared as a guest judge for Europe’s International Hip Hop Competition in Bern, Switzerland. His television choreography credits include: FOX network’s “Good Morning Show”, ABC’s “Good Morning America,”
His community service extends to volunteering with the following organizations: First Step Transitional Living Foundation for runaway, battered and abused women and children, and the Los Angeles Youth Homeless Network.
Board member, dancer and actress in Los Angeles, CA. She has B.F.A. in Dance from Western Michigan University.
Since receiving her degree, Jessica has danced and acted professionally for film, television, and the stage, including working with such artists as Jennifer Lopez.
She truly believes dance can help make a difference in the lives of foster and at-risk youth, and that being able to express yourself in art, enables people to have goals, dreams, and to work through difficulties in life that are sometimes impossible to put into words.
Dara G. Ghahremani
Dara G. Ghahremani, Ph.D. is associate research faculty in the UCLA Department of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences and Semel Insitute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. He received his PhD in the Neuroscience area in the Psychology Department at Stanford University and was a postdoctoral fellow at UCLA.
His research aims to understand self-control behavior, its neural basis, how it is compromised in substance abuse, and how it may be strengthened using both pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions.
The self-control behaviors he focuses on include behavioral flexibility, response inhibition, and emotion regulation.
He uses multiple neuroimaging techniques to investigate the neural basis of self-control, including functional MRI (fMRI) to measure brain activation while people perform various tests of self-control and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) to measure neurochemical markers of dopamine function. His studies examine both healthy control participants and those that are substance abusers.
These include adults who use methamphetamine and cigarettes as well as adolescent cigarette smokers and marijuana users. The interventions employed for potential enhancement of self-control behavior include medications that show promise for enhancing cognitive function and non-pharmacological approaches that activate the parasympathetic system, relieving stress and anxiety. His recent studies on non-pharmacological approaches have focused on the YES! for Schools program, a biopsychosocial workshop for adolescents that promotes self-regulation.
She developed an art integration program where art and movement were used as tools to help kids with their special needs and their therapies, and as a tool to teach curriculum based concepts.
She has performed performed in several stages through out LA with various modern dance companies.
She joined the Educating staff at the Zimmer’s Children’s Museum, as an art specialist. Her passion are the arts and her calling and commitment is teaching and she plans to be doing it for a long, long time. She thinks education, arts and movement should be integrated at all times.
Robert "Chino" Lopez
Robert“Chino” Lopez got his start in dance as a B-boy, choreographing and performing fresh hip hop routines. He eventually transitioned to other forms of dance like contemporary and salsa.
What Chino loves most with his work in dance has been the opportunities to work with charities and give back to those less fortunate. He loves working with inner city youth as he can relate to their lives and provide insight and inspiration to overcome statistics and become successful in life.
Gustavo says "Life is a dance, so dance beautifully." As a dancer Gustavo has worked with numerous artists like Justin Timberlake, Jennifer Lopez, Will Smith and Usher. As a choreographer, he is best known for his work with the So You Think You Can Dance franchise, in both the U.S and Canada, as well as Dancing With The Stars. Amongst working with top artists and celebrities, he believes in sharing the gift of dance with those who wouldn't otherwise have the access.
As Creator of the ‘DanceSpeak’ Podcast and with over 16 years of experience in the dance world, Galit Friedlander is known for being utterly passionate for her art. Although Galit’s training began in New York with Jazz, Ballet, Modern and West African, she soon fell in love with the world of street dance, where she learned from the best of NYC's underground dancers. In 2011, within a year of entering the industry in Los Angeles, Galit defied all odds when she worked as the Assistant Choreographer for PRINCE's Welcome 2 America Tour, choreographed the film 'A Reason To Sing', and began teaching workshops and classes throughout Los Angeles. Credits to soon follow included Pharrell's record-breaking "Happy" video, choreographing and dancing in tours across the U.S. and China, MC Lyte (“Cravin”), and traveling to Guatemala as a ‘Pepsi’ dancer.
Recently, Galit has been brought on as Director and Choreographer for the LA SparKids (Dance Team for the National WNBA Champions, the LA Sparks) and continues to travel between Los Angeles, New York, and other cities sharing her love for dance in classes and workshops.
From Far Rockaway Queens, New York City, Sho-Tyme has brought himself out from the street way of living and has proven that you can accomplish anything you set your heart and mind to. His versatility as a dancer/choreographer along with his creativity and extensive knowledge of Hip Hop, Popping, and House have enabled him to choreograph for many of today’s top artists in the industry including: Aaliyah, Jay Z, Mary J Blige, P Diddy, Shakira, Busta Ryhmes, J Lo, Mya, TLC, Christina Millan, Gnarles Barkley, Katy Perry, and Kelly Rowland. He is also the choreographer and genius behind Gwen Stefani and her Harajuku Girls who appeared during her solo career.
Sho-tyme’s work as an artist can be seen on TV and in movies including Dancing With The Stars, So You Think You Can Dance Canada (seasons 1-4), Dirty Dancing UK, Stomp The Yard, and Dance Flick. His work also includes choreographing for and co-starring in the film You Got Served: Beat The World.
Sho-Tyme promises that anyone who dances from the heart will see the fun, joy, essence, culture, and history that dance brings to one’s life while working inside and outside of the industry.
Don’t just do the steps, LIVE & LOVE the DANCE!