In 1986, Emily McAuliffe opened her own dance studio in Sonoma County. With her vivacious nature, it is no surprise she is the founder of California Ballroom and instructor to the late Charles Shultz, creator of the world-famous comic strip, Peanuts. In the Fall of 2015, certified dance instructor, Karen Parker, purchased the studio. Karen's love of dance and intense training for certification allows her to maintain the quality of teaching of the original California Ballroom while introducing additional instructors, the DVIDA® syllabus, new dance styles, and programs that reflect Karen's extensive performance background and dance training. With Emily being her first professional instructor, Karen is honored to carry on the tradition of offering quality dance instruction to adults. California Ballroom remains a place with a comfortable vibe where students have fun and enjoy the experience of each lesson. Sometimes, they don't realize how much technique they have learned in such a short period of time. The eight years of performance coaching Karen conducted while with the National Speakers Association have proven to be invaluable, especially for wedding and event productions. If you’re an adult beginner with the proverbial two left feet or an experienced dancer looking to refine your movements or learn new figures, look no further. You'll gain confidence, have more control of your body's movement while having a great time dancing with California Ballroom!
Meet our Staff
Tribute to our beloved Emily McAuliffe
Annica has always had a love for dance. Born and raised in Sweden, she started training and performing at age 9. First in Folkdance and later in Ballroom. Annica moved to the United States in 1998 where she continued her training and started competing in 2000. First in Country Western Dancing. In 2003, she got an interest for Professional Standard Ballroom. She travelled with her partner, competed in this style for several years, and earned top placements and titles. In 2004, she earned her Associate Degree in Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing in British Ballroom. Two years later (2006) she moved from New Mexico to California with her partner to continue to teach, train, and compete.
She loves to teach and spread the knowledge of dance. Annica believe's that dance lessons should be fun and a rewarding experience. Each class is tailored to each persons level and
ability. So live your dreams and become a dancer!
I have always had an affinity towards the arts. Dancing, singing or giving heart-felt speeches on resilience... I love what I do. However, entry into the dance industry didn't come easy. My siblings and I were orphaned, having both parents die two months apart from one another when I was three years old. As I pursued dance, I was repeatedly told I didn't have the bone structure to be a dancer. As a young adult, weighing 125 pounds, I was repeatedly told I was too heavy to be a dancer. A few years later, I had a dibilitating hemmoraghic stroke. The right side of my body wouldn't move. My therapy? Producing events for the Northern California National Speakers Association, working as a Business Broker helping people buy and sell businesses, and becoming a black belt in the Korean martial art discipline of Tang Soo Do.
Those former occurences were temporary setbacks; mere stepping stones leading to the fulfillment of my dreams. I am proud to be the owner of California Ballroom and have the ability to share my love of dance with others. My formal dance instruction began in 1998. Though I'm a certified dance instructor, I continually train with some of the best international and local dancers, such as Buenas Aires star, Johanna Copes, Ron Montez (7 time US Latin Champion), Marcelo Molina (2 time US Stage Tango Champion), Mark Novak (Professional Rising Star Standard and Latin Champion), Diane Jarmolow, and Christy Coté. If your desire to dance has been sitting on the shelf, wipe the dust off and join us at California Ballroom!
Karen Parker, Owner
I have a deep pasion for Argentine Tango and have been dancing this style since 1998; starting right here in Sonoma County. Al and Barbara Garvey were my first instructors. From there I have been instructed by many. Each have brought my tango up to a new level. I have performed in two shows in Las Vegas. One with Marcos and Ruta at Summerland Theater and the other at Gold Coast Hotel with Christi Coté and George Garcia.
I began instructing Argentine Tango in 2008. In Las Vegas at Broadway Hall, privates in my home in North Dakota, hosted classes at the Sonoma County Community Center, etc. I love to teach!
List of Intructors: Al & Barbara Garvey, Orlando Paivia Sr., Micheal Espinoza & Yolanda Rossi, Yolanda Orozco, Edmundo & Elizabeth Thomas, Christy Coté and George Garcia, Peter Montelone, Gavito, Hugo Lattoree, Fernando Ghi, Linda Garwood and Miriam Larici (Performer and Choreogragpher for Dancing with the Stars. Marcos Qustos and Ruta Maria.
Jasmine, from northern CA, has been dancing as long as she can remember. From early on she was drawn and experimented with dozens of different dance forms and began performing at age 16 with a modern dance company. Jasmine is specialized in both American Swing and Argentine Tango, dance styles which originated during the same Golden Era, however in opposing hemispheres. Jasmine is a member of: Tango Con*Fusion, a professional all-female Argentine Tango performance company; a long-time dancer of the Busby Berkeley vintage style dance troupe, The Decobelles; and teaches private lessons and group classes in American Swing style across the Bay Area.
Jasmine attended the University of California at Berkeley where she earned bachlorate degrees in Geography and Education and later a MBA from Mills College. She is a performer, an artist, an entrepreneur, and works full-time as both a dance teacher and small business consultant in the Bay Area.