Katrena Cohea ballet

Oh haaaaay! I'm so excited you're here. 

I’m Katrena, the Owner and Founder of Different Drummer Dance, which is the business formerly known as The Ballerina Birthday.  I have lots of awesome credentials and years of experience as a professional dancer, and as a movement educator (more on those in a min), but here’s what I really want you to know about me, and my business:

I’ve never felt like a typical ballerina. I love ballet, but ballet hasn’t always loved me back. Staring at myself in the ballet classroom mirror often left me wondering if I was too much, or not enough. After 20+ years of dancing, and 10+ years of teaching, I'm creating the studios, dance education, and communities I wish I had as a young dancer. I want young dancers (and especially young girls) to know that any way they move that makes them feel beautiful is valid and that any way they experience the joy of dance is cause for celebration, be it in a tutu, cape, tiara or with a light saber in tow.

When I started The Ballerina Birthday in 2011, my goal was to provide a big-hearted outlet for kids to experience dance while encouraging curiosity, fun, and creative play. Now I’m on a mission to make everyday a dance party for as many kids as I can. Different Drummer takes the bright and fresh exercises and games that The Ballerina Birthday is known for and brings them to the classroom. I ask dancers to move honestly; by doing this they march down the path that leads to self-discovery, self-respect and self-love. They learn to look beyond the outward reflections at what’s underneath and find the strength to love what they find there. My work with Different Drummer Dance is so important because all kids (especially our little girls) need to grow up knowing that their bodies and ideas are powerful.

On a more personal note: I'm a born and bred California girl, and now my husband and I are starting a new adventure in upstate NY (Speculator, in Hamilton County), so I'm bi-coastal! Subscribe to my e-mail list to know when I'll be in your area hosting classes, parties, and teaching trainings!

Fun Facts About Me:

  • My spirit animal is Cookie Monster

  • My current dance heroes include: Nina Haft, Anne Green Gilbert, and Katherine Dunham (oh, and my husband, who's the best at kitchen improv dancing)

  • My favorite book as a child was 5 Minutes Peace (I'm sure the irony of this was not lost on my parents)

  • The one type of dance that I've not yet tried and can't wait to is Hula

Still interested in those impressive credentials?

I'm trained in the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) syllabus, and have completed their Certificate in Ballet Teaching Studies (CBTS).

I also trained at the San Francisco Conservatory of dance and performed professionally with Brisas de Espana, a Flamenco and Spanish dance company.

I've been teaching for over 10 years, teaching at both for profit and not for profit schools and serving a diverse community of dancers. Benicia Ballet School, Community Youth Center, San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, Sonoma Conservatory of Dance are just a few of the places that have been my dance homes.

I graduated with B.A. in Theater and Dance from CSUEB, where I had the opportunity to add to my training in modern, choreography, jazz and hip-hop from noted Bay Area directors/choreographers Nina Haft, Eric Kupers and Laura Elaine Ellis.

I have performed and taught across the United States and Canada including Vancouver, New Mexico, and New York.

The people have spoken! Here's what they're saying about Different Drummer Dance...

Katrena has a gentle and kind way to make all of the kids feel comfortable to perform and most importantly, simply have fun!
— Michele, dance parent

Want to get in touch, ask about classes, or just say hello? Let's connect!

Katrena Cohea ballerina