Meet the Team
Stephanie Gilliland // owner + artistic director
Stephanie Gilliland is a seasoned artist and arts educator, with a 30-year history as a choreographer, composer, multimedia dance artist, performer and teacher. Since 1977 she has co-founded two dance collectives and created three of her own dance companies, most notably, TONGUE/contemporary dance, based in Los Angeles from 1997 to 2006.
Committed to innovation and experimentation, Gilliland has developed her own movement system and technique which continues to evolve and grow in collaboration with her dancers and students. She has choreographed and produced numerous concerts and evening length works and has been presented throughout the United States and abroad including Scotland, Mexico, the Soviet Union and Canada.
Gilliland is the recipient of a Creativity Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Dance Maker Grant from the James Irvine Foundation, and three Lester Horton awards. Her work has been supported by numerous granting organizations including Dance USA, the Durfee Foundation, Los Angeles Cultural Affairs, and the California Arts Council. In 2007 Gilliland was awarded a residency at the Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, CA.
Gilliland began her teaching career in 1980 and has served on the dance faculties of UC Riverside, UC Irvine, Loyola Marymount University, Mt San Jacinto College, Riverside Community College and the Idyllwild Arts Academy where she is currently in her twenty-first year. In addition to her work in dance Gilliland is also a practitioner and teacher of yoga.
In 2013 Gilliland founded Tongue dance project with Lauren Smith. With a new focus on working as a collective Tongue dance project is committed to developing new choreographic voices as well as continuing to serve as a vehicle for Gilliland’s artistic exploration.
Lauren Smith // instructor + co-manager
Lauren Smith is a graduate of the California State University, Long Beach Dance Department and has been teaching and coaching dancers for 13 years. She is a former member of the dance faculty at the Idyllwild Arts Academy and is the rehearsal director for Tongue Dance Project. Lauren has been training in dance since the age of three and has participated in prestigious dance competitions nation wide. Some of Lauren’s accomplishments include assisting for leading industry choreographers under Company Dance Convention, as well as being a national titlist for several dance competitions. Lauren has received scholarships to Broadway Dance Center and the Edge Performing Arts Center.
Since receiving her B.A. in Dance Lauren has pursued a deeper knowledge of the body through the study of Ashtanga Yoga, and in 2014 she became a NASM Certified personal trainer.
Lauren has been passionately focused on instilling a deeper knowledge of the art of dance to hundreds of students throughout the U.S., including working for non-profit organizations such as LA’s Best (which provides arts education to low-income neighborhoods) as well as dance studios, academies and Parks and Recreation Centers.
Adrianna Audoma // instructor + co-manager
Adrianna Audoma’s dance training began at the age of 7 at a local dance studio where she studied Royal Academy of Dance curriculum and completed multiple exams. She went on to attended Idyllwild Arts Academy for four years and after graduating, accepted a place in University of California, Irvine’s dance department. After her first year she chose to withdraw and instead attended a five month training program in Jerusalem, Israel where she studied with Vertigo Dance Company, as well as former members of Batsheva Dance Company and Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak Dance Company. Upon her return to the States, Adrianna began her career as an instructor. She has now been teaching children of all ages for 6 years and most recently has became a classroom assistant at the Montessori House of St. John’s. In addition to teaching and assisting, she is also a performing member of Tongue Dance Project under the direction of Stephanie Gilliland.
Annika Mossberg // instructor + co-manager
Annika Mossberg spent her youth training extensively in classical dance technique. After completing all Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) Vocational Graded Ballet Examinations by age 17, Annika entered college as a Dance Major at Cal State Long Beach where she developed an understanding of dance history and culture, anatomy, improvisation, and choreography.
Annika has been teaching dance and movement education for over thirteen years and teaches infants through seniors. In addition to dance technique classes, Annika teaches intergenerational creative dance classes and holds workshops for teen girls and professional development training for teachers. Annika’s deep understanding of classical dance technique and movement serves as a foundation for all of her classes. Whether a student is a new mover or a trained, experienced dancer Annika provides a learning experience that is rooted in empathy and human connection to extend the dance experience.
In 2019 Annika began teaching dance and somatic movement education online and created an online school called The Neural Groove School where she teaches developmental movement exercises to parents, teachers, and childcare providers. Annika is a member of the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO), teaches the BrainDance exercise to students of all ages for nervous system reorganization, and offers teacher training to dance teachers. Annika is comfortable serving and supporting neurodiverse populations.