Wendy Calio-Gilbert is a Filipina-American actress, singer, dancer and choreographer who is best known for her portrayal of Nina, the spirited ever-smiling neighbor on Disney Junior
children's series, Imagination Movers
Calio was born and raised in Oahu, Hawaii and graduated from Mililani High School. Calio started dance training at the age of 4 by taking ballet at The Ballet School in Walnut Creek, California under the direction of Laureen Fender and continued under the direction of John Landowski at Hawaii State Ballet. A few years later she added to her repertoire by studying Contemporary Jazz under Pam Sandridge at Big City Productions. Calio began acting at age 12 when she was cast as the host of Saturday AM on Hawaii Public Television
. She spent two summers in a studio with 14 other kids filming a local version of "The Mickey Mouse Club". At age 14, Calio was crowned Miss Teen Hawaii Filipina. At 16, she recorded her first song, "I'm Coming Home For Christmas" under the alias of Sabrina Starr
By the age of 16, Calio was an accomplished actress, vocalist and dance performer. After the release of her first song, Calio started teaching dance at a local community center in Mililani, HI and made headlines for leading over 150 dancers in annual productions at local theatre venues such as Leeward Community College Theatre and Mamiya Theatre. Using the name under which she released her single, she opened her own business, Sabrina Starr Studios
, and within a short amount of time made a name for herself as one of Hawaii's Premiere dance instructors.
Sometime in 2007, Calio began her relationship with Disney as a performer and assistant choreographer in the national tour of Disney's High School Musical Live on Stage Tour
and also appeared in Aladdin's Musical Spectacular
at Disney's California Adventures Hyperion Theatre. To get the role of Nina on the Imagination Movers, Calio reportedly beat out over 800 hopefuls auditioning for the role in New York, Florida and Los Angeles. In October 2008, Calio married Jeremy Gilbert in a ceremony that took place at the Lanikuhonua Cultural Institute in Kapolei, HI. After finishing work on the second season of Imagination Movers
, Calio opened up a performing arts/dance school called Pas De Deux (French for "dance for two"), which opened May 1, 2010 in Waipahu, HI.
In addition to ballet, Calio is also trained in hula, yoga, and Bollywood dancing, sings pop rock and musical theatre. Her Ensemble work includes the original cast of Bombay Dreams on Broadway
, produced by Andrew Loyd Webber and Music by AR Rahman and Camelot
starring Jeremy Irons at the Hollywood Bowl. Her Hawaiian heritage and hula skills were incorporated into her character Nina in the Imagination Movers episode "Trouble in Paradise." She continues to star in Imagination Movers, and added to her credits Choreographer for the shows third season.
Calio currently resides in Mililani Hawaii with her husband Jeremy Gilbert and is working to create a bigger and better Pas De Deux facility for fostering the arts in the Central Oahu Community.