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Our Team


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Keith Clifton

Keith Clifton has been in business as a dancer, teacher, and choreographer for the last two and a half decades.  He has performed in five Dr. Pepper commercials, three for Wendy's as well as commercials for Dodge, MacDonald's, Levis and many more.

He has performed on the stage in musicals including 42nd Street, George M, Oliver, My Fair Lady, A Chorus Line, and Anything Goes, for which he won the Dramalogue's Critics Choice Award for Best Choreography. His television credits include apperances in The Academy Awards Show, the Tim Conway Show, The Carpenter's, Wolfman Jack, and David Copperfield. Keith has also traveled as a guest artist to perform with regional ballet companies in lead roles such as: The Nutcracker, Copepelia, Swan Lake, and Firebird. He has staged and directed the entire Nutcarcker ballet for The Irving Ballet of Dallas, Texas. 

In 1993 Keith was commissioned to restructure the entire jazz and tap syllabus for the New Zealand Association of Modern Dance.  He is a co-founder of the Edge Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles and LA Danceforce Convention.

Keith continues to teach around the world staying current with all the latest trends in choreography. He has taught dance throughout the United States as well as in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, San Salvador, and Guatemala.

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linda clifton

Linda Clifton has been teaching ballet, tap and jazz in Huntington Beach for 3 decades and has produced dancers that have performed on both stage and screen, including "Star Search", Wicked", "The 82nd Annual Academy Awards" among various other productions.

A number of Linda's students have received scholarships with the American Ballet Theatre (ABT), Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB) and Pennsylvania Ballet along with contracts.

With her husband Keith, she co-founded Clifton Dance Project in 1996 and continues her love and passion in the field of dance.

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Autumn mcdonell

Autumn has been dancing by default since she was in the womb. She started taking lessons at the age of 3 with her formal dancing career beginning at the age of 9 where she worked on projects and movies including “Gypsy” with Bette Midler, and a number of theater jobs including New York City Ballet’s “Sleeping Beauty”.

She trained in Orange County under her parents, Keith and Linda Clifton along with other reputable teachers in the area. At ages 13-15 she studied at the Rock School of The Pennsylvania Ballet for 3 summer intensives.

Following high school graduation, Autumn moved to LA to train at EDGE Performing Arts Center in Hollywood as a scholarship student.

Autumn then went to New York City and booked the Radio City Christmas Spectacular with the Rockettes as an dancing ensemble member for 7 years. During her time there she also taught a number of master classes and conventions.

Autumn has an innate love of teaching and has been on faculty at CDP for 10 years. Outside of the studio she has 3 sons that keep her and her husband on their toes -- truly loving what she does both at work and at home!


nadia leonardi

Nadia grew up in Phoenix, Arizona and began dancing at the age of four. With over ten years of teaching experience, she specializes in contemporary, hip hop, and jazz. 

Nadia has choreographed dozens of dances competing and winning at the national level. Since signing with Go 2 Talent Agency she has performed alongside Beyonce, Daddy Yankee, and Jesse McCartney. She has appeared on So You Think You Can Dance, Latin AMA’s, and multiple professional music videos.

Nadia toured with Hollywoodvibe Dance Convention as a professional dance assistant for eight years and currently tours with Velocity Dance Convention.

Nadia is also a NASM certified personal trainer with an emphasis in movement and core training. Outside of dance and fitness Nadia loves to snowboard!

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stephanie johnson

Stephanie Johnson has been dancing since she was 2 ½ years old.  She has been teaching at Clifton since it’s opening in 1996.

Stephanie graduated from Chapman University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance performance and has since taught dance at Cypress College and Irvine Valley College.  She was also the coach of Fountain Valley High School’s dance team. 

Though Stephanie has been in many productions her true passion is teaching.  She loves passing along her knowledge and love for dance to students of all ages. 

At Clifton Dance Project Stephanie teaches tap, jazz, and ballet for all ages. 

In her spare time away from the studio, Stephanie enjoys reading, watching movies and going to baseball games with her family. 

Stephanie also spends her time watching her two girls take part in their dance classes.

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Gregg de castro

Gregg has been teaching voice, keyboards and guitar for 37 years.  He is an accredited Seth Riggs Associate Voice Teacher, teaching both beginners and industry professionals.

Gregg received his music education at Mount St. Mary's College and Boston University with studies in theory, orchestration, and voice.  From 2011 to 2014 he was a faculty member at the Orange County School of the Arts, teaching the Commercial Voice Class.  He is co-founder of the Orange County based non-profit group, Kamakani Komohana which teaches and performs songs and dances of the Polynesian Islands.  

Gregg is an accomplished International singer, songwriter and entertainer. Widely traveled, he has performed his music throughout the USA, Europe, and the South Pacific. His song, "The Valentino Tango" was one of the first American Pop tunes to be performed live in East Berlin before the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Gregg lives in Huntington Beach and is happily married 38 years with his radiant wife, Jene'a, and his three precious children, Duke, Skye and Jenisa. 

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Gina started dancing at 2 ½ years old and has been teaching since 2003. 

Some of Gina's greatest and most memorable achievements are being Captain of the Fountain Valley High School (FVHS) dance team and competing in Fountain Valley's 1st hip hop team.

Gina went on to coach hip hop at FVHS from 2003-2006 and was Head Coach from 2005-2006.

Following her coaching role at FVHS, Gina has excelled as both a performer and instructor. Her dance resume includes performing in Knott's Scary Farms Hacks show as a main dancer in 2007, teaching numerous hip hop master classes and workshops, choreographing roles for multiple high school dance teams in both Southern and Northern California, however her role to date has been in CDP's annual Who Stole Christmas performance as the Grinch. 

At CDP Gina teaches tap and hip hop across all ages. Her interests outside of dance include fashion, styling and being a fantastic mommy to her daughter Lily.