Owner & Artistic Director

Annie Leese Thistle

Annie established PAAM in the summer of 2009, facilitating its growth with the help of dedicated faculty and staff from humble beginnings in a church hall to a thriving community with state-of-the-art facilities and premier training in the performing arts. She is proud to continue to bring her expertise and passion for theater and dance to the students of Marin and the greater Bay Area. 

The surrounding community is of great importance to Annie, partnering with local schools and organizations to bring dance, theater and entertainment to children and adults throughout Marin. She has contributed to programs at Edna Maguire, Tam Valley Elementary, Strawberry Point, Old Firehouse Preschool, Marin Day Schools, Marin Primary, St. Patricks, St. Marks, St. Hilary, Mill Valley Library Fund and Marin Charitable Organizations. She is a proud supporter of Kiddo! and Spark, among other school arts providers and nonprofits. 

Annie donned her first tutu at the age of 3. Her first love was dance, yet she found true passion in musical theater, combining her love of singing and acting with her inherent love of dance. Performing arts has been the ultimate outlet for creative expression, release and exercise throughout her entire life. Annie graduated summa cum laude from Boston College and is a proud graduate of San Domenico Middle School and Saint Ignatius College Preparatory. 

Annie has trained at the University of Louisville Dance Academy, Louisville Ballet, Marin Dance Theater, Marin Theater Company, Scott Pearson (Voice, NYC), Jeannette Neill Dance Studio and Steps on Broadway. Her professional career includes work with Boston dance companies, regional theater productions (most notably onstage with Tony Award winner Donna McKechnie), and representation with STARS San Francisco. Her teaching career has included faculty positions at Walnut Hill School and Performing Arts Connection as well as a multitude of freelance positions in the dance and drama departments at schools such as Newton North High School and Middlesex Community College. 

Annie resides in Mill Valley with her husband DJ, daughter Kenadie and son Maguire. She is thankful for her incredibly supportive family and loves bringing both kids to the studio. PAAM is her main passion and home away from home. It is a dream come true to have so many young artists also consider PAAM their second home.


Associate Director

Katlin Vagelatos

Katlin is a Bay Area native and descendant of a long family history of actors, performers and musicians.  She spent her childhood deeply involved in performing arts, beginning ballet as a toddler with Miss Tilly at the Rayna Allen School of Dancing and continuing on to dance and musical theater with Marilyn Izdebski Productions.  Katlin received her BA in Music from Sonoma State University, where her studies focused on recording production and vocal performance.  Throughout college she performed as a member of several choral groups including the Sonoma State Chamber Choir and the MiraCosta Jazz Ensemble.

Before joining PAAM, Katlin spent time in the San Diego radio industry, where her voice could often be heard on popular stations such as Rock 105.3 and 91X. She then moved on to music booking at The Rosebud Agency in San Francisco, representing Grammy winning artists such as Mavis Staples and JJ Cale. Coming to PAAM in June 2012 as Annie’s assistant and studio receptionist, Katlin is delighted to continue her career supporting the arts!


Dance Faculty

Alicia Cardoza

Alicia, originally from Danville, California, began studying dance at the age of four at The Ballet School in Walnut Creek, where she studied classical ballet under the direction of Lareen Fender for the next 14 years. Throughout high school, she was heavily involved in her school’s competitive dance and cheer programs, where she performed in Disneyland, took classes from many famous teachers in the LA area, and won the Student Director’s Award for her choreography senior year.

In 2004 she went on to Arizona State University, where she studied various forms of contemporary ballet and modern dance. She graduated Magna Cum Laude and earned her BFA in Dance Choreography in 2008. By her junior year, she began teaching ballet and jazz at a local dance studio, and has since then taught all ages and levels, and is a certified teacher in the Arizona public and charter School systems. In 2011, she was recruited to be a founding member and principal dancer of Phoenix’s contemporary jazz company, MarioCo Dance, which she performed and choreographed with over the next two years. 

Now entering her ninth year of teaching, she has choreographed numerous award-winning pieces for prestigious national dance competitions, been a master teacher at several Phoenix Valley dance conventions, been a guest choreographer for numerous high school dance and pom teams, and some of her first students have gone on to dance in college and win numerous coveted dance scholarships. Most recently she choreographed the lighthearted musical Cinderella’s Glass Slipper for the Peoria Theatre Works YouthWorks Academy, which was awarded high critical praise. After 10 years of dancing in the desert, Alicia is ready to come back to the Bay Area and continue her career as a teacher and choreographer.

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60 Belvedere Drive

Mill Valley, CA 94941


Tel: (415) 380 - 0887


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