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Redwood Raks Collective Board of Directors

President

JULIE HAYES

Julie wants a world filled with love and hugs. A world where boys are encouraged to take dance as much as play soccer, girls are expected to fix things and speak their mind. A world that is peaceful, inclusive for all and where family and community are the pillars of society.  

Julie teaches 1st grade at a local elementary school and is pursuing a future in many things including more dance and writing. She can't get enough of gardening and dancing, and can never leave a nursery without plants nor a dance festival without new shoes. She's a sucker for huge Sunday breakfasts and escargot. 

Actually, she is slightly obsessed with the french culture, and spent 40 days there for her 38th birthday. She was voted "best hair" in high school, and if you catch her during a dance class, you'll be sure to agree. She moved to Humboldt when she was 19 and has never loved a place more. When she is not busy with her family and her passion for dance, you'll usually find her whipping up a new home project or community event. She is always planning the next dance event and will continue dancing for the rest of her life. 

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Vice President

CRAIG KURUMADA

Craig (he/him/his) has been a performer in dance, music, and theatre since his youth,  growing up in his hometown of Salt Lake City, Utah. He moved to Arcata in 1993 and co-founded the international folk band, Chubritza. The band is still going strong and will be playing publicly as soon as conditions permit.
Craig has degrees in linguistics and German from the University of Utah. He speaks English and German and has some competence in Spanish, Bulgarian, Mandarin and Japanese. He loves to learn new languages, music, and dance. His favorite dances and music stem from folk traditions, but not exclusively. He shared them often as a guest DJ on KHSU's "Ethnic Excursions" and "In the Tradition" radio programs. He has been involved in the Humboldt Country Writers for six years and has completed the National Novel Writing Month challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in a month, five times. Craig retired from HSU Departments of Math and Computer Science as an Administrative Coordinator  in 2016 and has been busy ever since. In addition to the Redwood Raks, he is on the board of the East European Folklife Center, the organization that runs the Balkan Music and Dance Workshops (Balkan Camp) in California and New York annually. He hopes to see the Arcata Creamery District become an energized art center for northern Humboldt.

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Treasurer

LINNEA MANDELL

Years ago, Linnea’s mother sewed a huge, billowing turquoise and yellow maternity clown suit so Linnea could join her parents dancing on Halloween. She loves to explain how Linnea and her brothers started with dance and music in-utero, and are still at it! Growing up, Linnea learned that family car trips are for group singing, and summer vacations are for attending dance and music camps. And in keeping with tradition, Linnea and her husband Craig became a couple 27 years ago at Balkan Music and Dance camp. 

Linnea studied classical music growing up, and began playing folk dance music in college. She performed for many years with the Northcountry International Folk Ensemble, and the Ballet Folklórico de Humboldt, and currently directs Chubritza International Folk Band. She is a retired teacher and curriculum specialist in arts education and English language development. Linnea believes that the arts are an essential and integral part of life, education, and human expression, and is committed to promoting arts opportunities for everyone.

When not playing music or dancing, Linnea enjoys reading, travel, studying languages and cultures, photography, sewing, making jewelry, real estate management and remodeling, and sitting in warm, sunny spots like a cat. Her all-time favorite foods are artichokes and avocados, and her hidden talent is riding a unicycle.

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Accounting

JACK LEWIS

Jack is passionate about movement and has been teaching Cuban dance in Arcata since 2011.  After a career in scientific research, he is overjoyed to find more time for dancing, kayaking, skiing, bicycling, hiking, and conditioning. When relaxing, he loves to challenge his brain with puzzles and word games.  He is grateful for the wonderful quality of life we enjoy in the Humboldt Bay Area and, concerned about the future of humanity and our planet we inhabit, he embraces the mantra "Dance globally, teach locally."  He has an affinity for Italian culture and language, and hopes to visit and dance with some of the great Cuban dance masters that live in Italy as well as Cuba

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Building Coordinator

THOM BOSWELL

Thom Boswell has been an enthusiastic member of the local community participating in Kinetic Racing, volunteering with Humboldt CASA and in Monday Night Swing. He has produced a great Swing/Blues New Years dance party the last 2 years at Redwood Raks and hopes to keep that tradition going when it is safe to gather again. Dance has brought a lot of joy to his life, and he even tries to weave it into his Kinetic Racing passion.

His team, Swing Kids, is a dance-infused no drug/pot/alcohol team that frequently jumps off their sculpture and dances whenever possible. See their 2019 pageantry dance here, choreographed by Cailan Halliday:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quk75AEQ04E&list=UUoA6huHiUFtB_AAJfggb5Yw&index=20 

Thom is serving as Building Coordinator for Redwood Raks Collective and has been overseeing some beautiful projects at the space while dancing has been suspended, and is working on designing an outdoor dance / performance space out the back behind the Jade Studio. Thom brings a wealth of knowledge and skill and is always excited to welcome brand new people to expand their horizons and DANCE and do KINETICS. You can do both!

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Programming Chair

CAILAN HALLIDAY

Cailan believes dance will solve ALL of the world's problems, and he doesn't even think that's hyperbole. Getting everyone to dance? That may be the tricky bit... but he has made it his galactic mission to do his part before his time runs out on this planet. Cailan sees himself mostly as a Lindy Hopper (citing time constraints to learn other dances) but still loves to dance just about anything else. Some of Cailan's favorite activities include: listening to swing albums on repeat, looking at his next pair of dance shoes, and dancing (what did you think he was going to say?).

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Board Member

DEBBIE WEIST

Debbie Weist has been providing the North Coast community with swing, Latin & ballroom instruction through her business ‘Dance with Debbie’  since 2006 through group classes and private lessons. By joining the Raks Board of Directors she hopes to have new and exciting ways to give to the dance community. 

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Publicity Chair

Open Position

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Community Liaison

SHOSHANNA

Shoshanna started Redwood Raks in 2008 just after the doors of The Dancenter closed in late 2007. She was honored to keep the tradition of a space serving as home to many local dance groups and classes. It has been a beautiful journey that now seems to have come to fruition as Redwood Raks Collective has been born and is now operating the two studios as a non-profit. Such a dream come true!

She grew up locally and danced at Humboldt Dance Academy, Dance Expressions, Studio of Dance Arts, North Coast Dance, The Dancenter and Humboldt State University.... almost everywhere! She currently is part time faculty in the HSU Dance Studies program, working with Arcata Main Street and is the Youth Services Outreach Coordinator with Humboldt County Library. She loves promoting our local businesses and artists, pursuing a variety of creative projects, and helps with site managing of Redwood Raks. She is excited to help the studio thrive. Go DANCE! :-)

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