Artistic Director

Years at Happy Feet: 37
Favorite Tap Dancer: Too many to name, but to name a few: Eleanor Powell, Gene Kelly, the Nicholas Brothers, Gregory Hines, and Dianne Walker

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 Cece Bechelli is the director of Happy Feet Dance School in Mill Valley, California.  Cece founded the  school in 1978 and has loved her years of teaching  in the Mill  Valley community. She is a member of  The Step Sisters, a Marin-based  rhythm  tap trio, with her partners Sheri Bechelli and Patti Meagher. The Step  Sisters had  the honor and distinction of opening for the Smuin Ballet at San  Francisco’s  Yerba Buena Center in 2003, and for Gregory Hines at the Marin  Center in 2000  and again at his final  public performance in 2003. Recently, Cece  and her  daughter, Caitlin, performed with New York based tap dancer, Andrew  Nemr and  his company at a Ted Talk Event in Carmel, California.

In 2003, Cece was honored to receive the Milley Award for her artistic  contribution to the Mill Valley community. She is a featured instructor on Fred Strickler’s Masters of  American Tap Dance website. Cece was a faculty member at the Cazadero Performing Arts Dance Camp from 2001 to 2005, and has been a guest teacher and choreographer at dance studios and  colleges throughout California. Additionally, Cece has choreographed many full-length musicals for the  Throckmorton Youth Performers and Mill Valley Middle School. Over the past 30 plus years, Cece has taught thousands of Marin County and Bay Area dancers. Many of her students continue their study of dance in college and beyond. Over the past few years, fifteen Happy Feet students auditioned and were accepted into the dance department at UCLA.

Cece is a native San Franciscan and a life-long dancer. After extensive dance training in Irish, tap, jazz, ballet, modern and acrobatics, Cece fell in love with tap and became a member of The Lorna Fordyce Professional Dancers. She performed extensively with the group throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and Northern California. During these years, Cece became a faculty member at the Lorna Fordyce Dance School, won the title of Miss Dance of Northern California in 1979, and went on to perform and compete in a national competition in New York City.

Continuing with her own study of dance, Cece takes classes in New York and Los Angeles on a regular basis. Through the years, Cece has been lucky enough to study with Gregory Hines, Honi Coles, LaVaughn Robinson, Steve Condos, Harold Nicholas of the famed Nicholas Brothers, Savion Glover, Dianne Walker, Roxanne Butterfly, Harold Cromer, Arthur Duncan, Randy Skinner, Sam Weber, Mark Mendonca, Steve Zee, Barbara Duffy, Derrick Grant, Ayodelle Casel, Dormeshia Sumbrey-Edwards, Van Porter, Jason Samuels Smith, Chloe Arnold, Lynn Schwab, Lynn Dally, and Linda Sohl-Ellison. These tap masters, along with her teachers from her early years, have influenced Cece’s style.

Cece holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from San Francisco State University in Liberal Studies with a core emphasis in Fine Arts, and is currently an MA candidate in Humanities at San Francisco State University. Cece has written extensively on the History of Tap Dance and has produced a film and lecture series on the topic.

Cece is married to Greg Bechelli, also a native San Franciscan. Their three adult children, Matt, Caitlin and Kelsey, are all tap dancers as well!

Cece with four second generation Happy Feet Students!
Cece with four second generation Happy Feet Students!