Kourtney Yadao was born and raised in Ewa Beach, Hawaii. Kourtney began her dance training in high school, through the Mid-Pacific School of the Arts Program. She trained under Paul Maley, former member of North Carolina Dance Theatre, Nikolais Dance Theatre and Atlanta Ballet, José Silva, former member of Broadway production of The Lion King and touring company, Celia Chun Wright, Broadway production of A Chorus Line, and Charlaine Katsuyoshi, former member of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. Kourtney also danced in featured guest artist works by Leann Alduenda, Gregory Dolbashian, and Amy Schiffner. Taking workshops and master classes from dancers and choreographers like Toni Pierce-Sands, Daniel Ching and Mark Kanemura inspired Kourtney to invest in her dance studies more. In 2016, she traveled to Pittsburgh, PA, to perform works by Gregory Dolbashian and Charlaine Katsuyoshi as part of the National High School Dance Festival. Kourtney’s aspirations for dance led her to further pursuing a lifelong career beyond her time in high school at Mid-Pacific Institute.
Kourtney graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Dance in Spring 2022. During her time at CSU, Kourtney has immersed herself in her studies through the guidance of her dance professors: Judy Bejarano, Chung-Fu Chang, Grace Gallagher, Susie Garifi, Jane Slusarski-Harris, Madeline Harvey, Matthew Harvey, Emily Morgan, Lisa Morgan, and Joy Pendergast. Her studies consisted of ballet, modern, improvisation, choreography, pedagogy, history and theory, production, and outreach. Kourtney has been featured in numerous faculty, student, and guest artists’ works. She has also attended and participated in master classes with Denise Vale, Jean-Philippe Malaty, André Megerdichian, and many more. In addition to performing, she has developed a deep connection to choreography. Kourtney had three of her own choreographed works, Lane (Fall 2018), Veins (Spring 2019), and Blank Canvas (Fall 2019), selected for Fall and Spring Dance Concerts. Her most recent work, duality, was selected and premiered in CSU’s BODY/SPEAK virtual concert in early February 2021. During her studies at CSU, she has received the Grace and Dwight Harris, Bachelor of Arts Dance, and Dance Discretionary Scholarships.
Outside of the dance program, she served as the President of the Dance Club at CSU and was the former financial advisor for the Dance Student Advisory Committee. In Summer 2019, she completed an internship for Education in Motion under Lisa Morgan, a professional development Seminar for K-12 Teachers. Not only did Kourtney perform onstage, she dedicated her time to the productions of performances as well. She was the lighting designer for Social Justice Thru The Arts in Summer 2019, and for BODY/SPEAK in Spring 2020. She also worked on numerous dance film projects as a dancer, choreographer, and videographer in collaboration with her fellow dance colleagues.
Kourtney is motivated to continue performing and choreographing, she has her eyes set on working in the company and commercial world of dance. She plans on returning to school to complete a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration and Master Degree in Dance. Kourtney would like to thank her professors and mentors that encouraged her to explore her interests beyond the stage and into design and production. They have led superb guidance through her time at CSU and encouraged her many passions to take place in her future.