The DREAM School announces rigorous summer classes, guest workshops & artistic seminars
The CityDance DREAM School is excited to offer students a comprehensive 5-week summer dance training experience with engaging technique classes, workshops and artistic seminars with DREAM School faculty and guest artists Preston Miller (The Dance Artist Coach), Claude Alexander (Dallas Black Dance Theatre), Roderick George (formerly the Forsythe Company) Brittany Monachino (Broadway, King Kong) and Fana Tesfagiorgis (The Broadway touring company, My Fair Lady). The DREAM School will also continue to support students in their personal development and career readiness as a part of the Marion Barry Summer Youth Employment Program.
Claude Alexander-A native of Washington D.C., Claude joined Dallas Black Dance Theatre after graduating from Towson University. He began his training with Spirit Wings Dance Co. and additionally with The Ailey School, Parsons Dance and DBDT’s Professional Summer Intensive on full scholarship. Claude has had the opportunity to guest with Dishibem, Dance RINK, Ballet Frontier of Texas, Tuzer Ballet, and Dance Iquail. Notably, Claude performed in the 2017 Command Performance Gala by TITAS/DANCE UNBOUND. He has choreographed two ballets for Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Face what’s facing you! (2018) and A Tender Pardon (2019).
Brittany Monachino-Brittany recently closed her first Broadway show with King Kong: Alive on Broadway. She has previously performed in productions of Kiss Me Kate and West Side Story, as well as toured with Philadanco! and Norwegian Cruise Lines across the Hawaiian Islands, Europe, and North Africa. She has also performed in Hairspray LIVE in Philadelphia, Washington Ballet, and Dianne McIntyre’s Why I had to Dance written by Ntozake Shange.
Preston Miller, The Dance Artist Coach, is a coach, teacher and choreographer. He began his technical training under the direction of Randy Duncan and Anna Paskevska at the Chicago Academy for the Arts. He went on to attend and receive a BFA in dance from the Ailey/Fordham University B.F.A. program where he became the first student to receive a concentration in choreography and dance. Preston created an evening of his works entitled: ‘Creativity and Art’ featuring dancers from the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, William Forsythe Company, Broadway, New York City Ballet, Houston Ballet and musicians from the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Preston’s work strives to transcend individual techniques and styles to unite disparate companies and dancers, often for the first time. Preston continues to work with leading artists and teach across the country to help artists develop their brands.
Roderick George-Born in Houston, Texas, studied dance at Ben Stevenson’s Houston Ballet Academy. Roderick continued to develop his skill by exploring other techniques at The Alvin Ailey School, Miami City Ballet, LINES Professional Program and the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston, TX. Before starting his professional career, he was a bronze winner of the Youth American Grand Prix in New York City in 2005 and was elected as a Presidential Scholar under the YoungArts Foundation in 2003, where he performed for the US President. Roderick joined Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet in 2005 and moved abroad to work with Basel Ballet/ Theater Basel in 2007 and later to guest with the Goteborg Operan DansKompani. Roderick joined The Forsythe Company in Frankfurt, Germany where he learned and shared his greatest moments with William Forsythe and the artists of TFC. His career has embraced the collaborations of his work and other great choreographers such as Peeping Tom, Jorma Elo, Jerome Bel, Jacopo Godani, William Forsythe, Johan Inger, Jiří Kylian, Sharon Eyal, Ohan Naharin, Benoit Swan-Pouffer, Richard Wherlock, Tino Seghal and many others.
Fana Tesfagiorgis- (Madison, WI) is a graduate of the Ailey/Fordham BFA Program in Dance, with a Minor in Journalism. She began training at Ballet Madison, under the direction of Charmaine Ristow, and attended Interlochen Arts Academy. Ms. Tesfagiorgis also trained at summer and winter intensives at Earl Mosley’s Institute of the Arts, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, and Lar Lubovitch Dance Company. Professionally, she has danced with The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ailey II, The Black Iris Project, Ebony Williams and Company, Brian Harlan Brooks, and Nimbus Dance Works. Fana has been a rehearsal assistant for Hope Boykin, Clifton Brown, Earl Mosley, Pedro Ruiz, Matthew Rushing, and Sylvia Waters. Recently, she appeared in the opening of the 73rd Annual Tony Awards and is the Broadway touring company of My Fair Lady. Fana has originated roles in Ronald K. Brown's "Four Corners", "Open Door" and "The Call" all set on the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
Chandini Darby-A Washington, DC native where she began her dance training with the DC Youth Ensemble and Spirit Wings Dance Company. Chandini is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Towson University with a BFA in Dance Performance. She is the recipient of the Washington Post Music & Arts Award in Dance Scholarship. She has had the opportunity to perform works by Paul Taylor, Nai Ni Chen, Matthew Rushing, Linda-Denise Fisher-Harrell, Dion Wilson, Lloyd Whitmore, Kevin Iega Jeff, Earl Mosley and Clifton Brown. Her own choreographic work has been commissioned by The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Dance Metro DC, and The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Professional credits include: Deeply Rooted Dance Theater (Chicago, Il), Washington Reflections Dance Company, Lula Washington Dance Theater (Los Angeles, CA) and DC Contemporary Dance Theater. Her musical theater credits include: David Spangler and Rick Gore’s Nefertiti the Musical performed at Chicago’s Athenaeum Theatre. Chandini is Founder and Artistic Director of The Beauty For Ashes Project, a multi-layered performing arts organization that commits to communicating unpopular and untold stories using dance and other performing arts genres. She most recently premiered her dance film Hair Like Fall, that tells the complex, but fascinating story of the relationship between the black woman and her hair. Hair Like Fall was presented at the Every Woman Biennial Film Festival in NYC and the DC Black Theatre and Arts Festival in Washington, DC. Chandini is the Co-Director of CityDance DREAM.
Kelli Quinn-Kelli is Co-Director of CityDance DREAM and joined CityDance in Spring 2008. As Founding Director of DREAM, Kelli’s vision spearheaded the evolution of DREAM from a community-based program with a single site in DC’s Trinidad neighborhood to a leading dance education institution, serving over 2,000 students annually through elite dance training programs and professional performances for schools across Washington, DC. Kelli holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance from Towson University and was awarded the Jim Snyder Award for Technical Excellence. She has worked with notable choreographers such as Jawole Willa Jo Zollar. Paul Taylor, Nai Ni Chen, Stephanie Powell, Vincent Thomas and Dana Tai Soon Burgess and has performed professionally for CityDance Ensemble 2.
Zenas Okanlawon-Born and raised in Prince George's County, MD, Zenas began taking dance classes with Dr. Sandy Mitchell, director of Spirit Wings Dance Company and Studio, and graduated from Towson University with a BFA in Dance Performance in May 2013. Zenas has been privileged to perform works by choreographers such as Ray Mercer, Troy Powell, Carlos Dos Santos, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Robert Battle, Vincent Thomas, and Linda-Denise Fisher-Harrell. She has trained at the Ailey School as well as Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. Professional Credits: Christopher K. Morgan & Artists, DC Contemporary Dance Theater, and The Beauty For Ashes Project. Zenas currently works with CityDance DREAM as Connections Manager, offering free dance classes and academic support to DC's most under-resourced neighborhoods. She counts it as an honor to serve these youth, helping to bridge the education gap in the DCPS school system for minoritized students. Whether it is performing, teaching, mentoring, or coaching, Zenas is humbled and grateful for the gift of dance in her life and the opportunities she's been given to share the hope that the world needs through the arts.
L. Adjetey Klufio
L. Adjetey Klufio (Accra, Ghana) credits his early training to the National Dance Company of Ghana where he trained for over ten years, five of which he was a principle dancer, soloist and acted as an assistant to the director. Among his performing credits with the company includes the opportunity to perform for three United States Presidents including: Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barak Obama. In 2012, Mr. Klufio performed with Dance Africa at the BAM Theatre in New York City. His performance was described, by the New York Times, as “…spectacular and subtle…” In 2018, the Baltimore Sun described his performance at the Afrotempo performance as “Flying through the air with his energy”. Adjetey is a full-time faculty at Goucher college and has been teaching master classes and presenting works in various high schools and colleges throughout the United States. Adjetey Klufio is the Founder and the Artistic Director of Afrondani, a dance company based in the DMV area. Adjetey won the dancer of the year from the Institute of African Studies University of Ghana in both 2007 and 2008 respectively and was a finalist for the Towson Dance Department BEULA awards in 2019. Adjetey earned his BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography at Towson University.
Samantha Salters-Holds a Masters of Fine Arts in Dance alongside a Certificate in Ethnic (Africana) Studies from the University of Colorado Boulder. Upon attending UCB, Samantha was selected for the Gail Pokoik Scholarship, which is awarded to a single graduate student each year based on their talent and commitment to the arts. Prior to attending graduate school, Samantha earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance Education and a Bachelor of Arts in Teaching English as a Second Language from Kent State University. She was granted the Dance Faculty Creative Achievement Award for her choreography. Her appreciation for the preservation of African culture through dance led her to Ghana, West Africa, California, Pennsylvania, and New York for research under sponsorship. Samantha’s knowledge of traditional West African dance technique has also nurtured her understanding and expressions of West African, Afro-Cuban, Afro-modern, Hip-hop, House, and Liturgical dance forms. The blossoming of her artistic career in the Washington, DC area has led to educational and artistic opportunities at Davidson College, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, George Mason University, Maryland Youth Ballet, Joy of Motion Dance Center, Dance Place, Howard University, Ananya Dance Theater and St. Olaf College. She is currently a member of Coyaba Dance Theater and an Adjunct Professor of Dance at George Mason University. She is the recipient of the Mason Core Award Letter for her fall 2017, 2018 and spring 2018, 2019 African dance courses.
Robbin Tasha-Ford-Attended Duke Ellington School of the Arts and has a BFA from the Juilliard School of Music. Tasha-Ford has had an extremely successful dance career on stage, in films, and television. She has danced on stage with The Washington Ballet, Capitol Ballet, Paul Taylor Dance Company and Ailey II. Some of Tasha-Ford’s screen credits include “Coming to America”, “What's Love Got to Do with It ”, “Rent”, “Stompin at the Savoy” and Disney’s, “The Smurfs”. Some of her television credits include the Academy Awards, Soultrain Awards, Billboard Awards, American Music Awards, and The Grammys. She has performed and choreographed for notable icons such as Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, Barry White, Earth Wind and Fire, and The Isley Brothers. Robbin Tasha-Ford is also a Master Teacher, and has taught and choreographed for Spelman College, Loyola Marymount, and UCLA. In addition to an extensive residency as instructor and choreographer for The Washington Ballet Organization, she resided as head of the Ballet Department at Suitland High School CVPA Program until June 2015. Tasha-Ford is also the Artistic Director of her own company, D.C DANCE THEATRE COMPANY. DCDTC was formed in 2012 and made its debut at the 2013 International Association of Blacks in Dance Festival to rave reviews. DCDTC was also invited to participate in the ATLAS INTERSECTIONS FESTIVAL 2016. DC DANCE THEATRE COMPANY continues to thrive by producing “The Ballet BootCamp”, a ballet intensive study workshop for young dancers. Robbin Tasha-Ford continues to explore all opportunities to express herself through her amazing gift of dance and is dedicated to sharing her experience and knowledge with our youth.
Sheryl Pollard-Thomas-Is a dancer, choreographer and internationally recognized dance educator with over thirty years of experience. A D.C. native, Sheryl Pollard-Thomas began her training at Bernice Hammond’s Northeast Academy of Dance and her pre-professional training at The Duke Ellington School of the Arts and graduated from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (HS). S.U.N.Y.@ Purchase College is where she received a B.F.A. in Dance. She was also trained at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater School on a Merit Scholarship. Ms. Pollard-Thomas has conducted master classes in the Lester Horton dance technique, the official technique of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, in Italy, Germany, Detroit, NYC, Miami and Boston. She has served as Co-Chair of the Department of Dance at the Boston Arts Academy for twelve years and dance teacher for 19 years. She has also served as Adjunct Professor at Harvard University. Ms. Pollard-Thomas is proficient in modern, ballet, jazz, and West African dance techniques. She is the Residential Director, Assistant Director and teacher/choreographer for Earl Mosley’s Institute for The Arts Summer Intensive. In May of 2014 Ms. Pollard-Thomas received the 2014 Champion of Arts Education Advocacy Award from Arts|Learning for her outstanding contributions to the promotion of artistic excellence within Massachusetts. While in Boston, Ms. Pollard-Thomas was on the faculty at The Boston Conservatory at Berklee, the Jeannette Neil Dance School, Origination Cultural Arts Center, Boston University and teacher and Co-Artistic Director of AileyCamp Boston. While Ms. Pollard-Thomas lived in NYC she taught in NYC public schools,and performed with Mafata Dance Company and Forces of Nature Dance Theater. She was also an adjunct dance teacher at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. Her professional credits include: principal dancer with the Forces of Nature Dance Theatre Company, Detroit City Dance Company, Mafata Dance Company and Michiyo and Dancers. She has toured Japan, Italy, Germany, Vienna, Aruba and Jamaica. She has worked with notable choreographers such as George Faison, Mercedes Ellington, Graciella Danielle, Judith Jamison and Gene Anthony Ray as a dancer and/or assistant choreographer. Currently Ms. Pollard-Thomas resides in D.C. and is Studio School Director, Senior Faculty and Managing Director of The Ensemble and Studio Company with The Princess Mhoon Dance Institute. She is on faculty at The Dance Institute of Washington, The DREAM School and has taught for various dance studios in Fairfax County and the Virginia Dance Coalition Dance Festival.