John Escalante is the newest member of the Phantom Regiment design team. He will lead the design for the color guard and be the movement choreographer for the guard as well as the musicians.
Escalante joins guard caption heads Annie Pelka and Jessica Francis, who both return to the staff but in new roles.
“We’re very pleased to have John Escalante joining us,” program coordinator Dan Farrell said. “He’s a well-respected professional in the world of dance training and choreography, and we’re looking forward to what he will add to our program.”
Escalante has a long history in the color guard and pageantry activity. He currently choreographs for the marching bands at Cypress Falls, Union and L.D. Bell high schools as well as Georgia State University, Black Watch and Paramount Independent winter guards. In the summer, John spends his time working with SeaWorld Entertainment as a seasonal choreographer and director for one of the summer productions at Busch Gardens Theme Parks. He has choreographed for many WGI and DCI World Class programs in the past, including Center Grove, Clovis West, RCC, Fantasia, Cadets of Bergen County and Santa Clara Vanguard. His marching experience includes San Jose Raiders, Santa Clara Vanguard, Madison Scouts and Cadets of Bergen County. He holds a bachelor of fine arts degree in dance from Cornish College of the Arts and has performed in several productions on the stages of Las Vegas.
Pelka, who also served as caption head in 2014, was a performer with the Phantom Regiment and has been on the guard staff since 2007. She holds a bachelor of fine arts degree in dance from University of North Texas. In addition to her work as a massage therapist, she is the guard director at Kell High School in Marietta, Ga., and choreographs for many performing groups in the Atlanta area. Annie also helped launch the Phantom Regiment Color Guard Camp, now in its fifth year.
Francis has been on the guard staff since 2014 and was a performer and instructor for the Glassmen from Toledo, Ohio. She is also one of the directors of Interplay Winterguard from Grand Rapids, Mich., where she teaches first and second grade. She holds both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in education with a focus on literacy from Michigan State University.
“Annie and Jessica have been excellent instructors for us and we’re very excited to welcome them to their new roles,” Farrell said.