Introducing the 2020 DTH at CityDance Summer Intensive Faculty
We are thrilled to welcome back Dance Theatre of Harlem artists Lorraine Graves, Endalyn Taylor, Danielle Thomas and CityDance faculty member Keith Thomas for the annual DTH at CityDance Summer Intensive, June 15 through 26, 2020. They will join CityDance faculty members Diana Amalfitano, Sarah J. Ewing, Jacqueline Higgins, Robert J. Priore, Monique Walker and Founding Artistic Director Lorraine Spiegler at the intensive.
Dance Theatre of Harlem at CityDance Summer Intensive
Orientation Day: Monday, June 15 (4-8pm)
Intensive Dates: Tuesday, June 16 - Saturday, June 20; Monday, June 22 - Friday, June 26 (9am-5pm). *There will be final showing on Friday, June 26 at the Strathmore location.
Location: CityDance School & Conservatory at Rockville
Ages: 8 - 20
Meet the Dance Theatre of Harlem Artists
Lorraine Graves was a member of Virginia Ballet Theatre before joining the Dance Theatre of Harlem. She rose to the ranking of Principal Dancer and performed with the company for 17 years. While still performing with the company she also acted as ballet mistress and rehearsal director. Prior to that, she graduated from Indiana University in three years. Ms. Lorraine is on permanent guest faculty with the Dance Theatre of Harlem, The Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre, and the Virginia School of the Arts.
Endalyn Taylor joined the Dance Theatre of Harlem in 1984 and became a principal dancer in 1993. Taylor's roles and productions include Myrta and peasant in the Peasant Pas in Giselle, the pas de deux in Le Corsaire, The Flower Festival in Genzano, Alonzo King's Ground and Signs and Wonders, Serenade, Agon, The Four Temperaments, Concerto Barocco, Stars and Stripes, Holberg Suite, Fête Noir, Etosha, Mirage, Concerto in F, Dialogues, Les Biches, Songs of Mahler and Medea. She has performed for such dignitaries as Coretta Scott King, Colin Powell, Bill Clinton, the late Princess Diana, Nelson Mandela and many others. In 1992, Taylor made her Broadway debut in Carousel and went on to perform in two other Tony Award-winning musicals, The Lion King and Aida. As an original cast member of all three shows, Taylor had the great pleasure of participating in the cast albums, two of which received Grammy nominations, as well as performing for the 1993 and 1997 Tony Awards. Taylor has been commissioned to choreograph numerous works over the last sevferal years, including Ugly Duckling as part of the Works and Process at the Guggenheim series, Dies Irae/Dies Amore for the High School of Performing Arts in New York City, Healing for the Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community, and Pulcinella Suite, Journey of a Knighting Gale and Out De Blue Dream for the Orchestra of St. Luke's. Taylor has been the director of the Dance Theatre of Harlem School, where she was invited to bring 10 of her students to the White House to participate in an arts initiative of the Obamas. In 2012, Taylor received her MFA in dance from Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia.
Danielle Thomas made her entry into the world of dance at the age of four at the world-renowned Dance Theatre. For more than 25 years, Ms. Thomas has studied various genres of dance and has developed a special love for and mastery of ballet. As a professional dance artist, Ms. Thomas enjoyed gracing stages across the United States and abroad with Dance Theatre of Harlem. As a master teacher of dance, she has found joy in teaching both youth and adults and guiding them in discovering the world of dance artistry. Today, Ms. Thomas is the first Artistic Director of a professional dance theatre – The Judah International Dance Theatre and is also one of the visionaries and Artistic Director of Ballet BedStuy.
Keith Lamelle Thomas is a graduate of The Baltimore School for The Arts. After graduating, Mr. Thomas received a full scholarship to Dance Theater of Harlem. He worked his way up the ranks to become a principal dancer. Mr. Thomas then went on to have a wonderful career on Broadway and film, performing in such shows and movies as Ragtime, Red Shoes, Jellys' Last Jam, Harlem Song and Black and Blue, Malcolm X Stompin at the Savoy and The Producers. Mr. Thomas was an adjunct professor at Towson University, director of their Children's dance division, and he's had the pleasure of teaching, choreographing, assisting and consulting many seasoned and up-and-coming artists. Mr. Thomas is currently part of the CityDance faculty.
Meet the CityDance Faculty Members
Founding Artistic Director, CityDance School & Conservatory
Lorraine Spiegler’s professional dance career spans over 35 years as an educator, director and choreographer and embodies innovation in dance education at the national and international levels. Her work is deeply rooted in the global network/reality of multi-cultural expression and perspectives through myth, legend, lore, language and history. Strongly focused on training and performance excellence in individual dancers with an eye on identifying and nurturing talent and quality - Ms. Spiegler's mission is to recognize and promote individuals’ dance gifts while igniting future generations of dance professionals who will contribute to new directions and themselves innovate in the broader dance field.
Ms. Spiegler holds a B.A. date in Dance cum laude (1979) and two Masters (1991) in Dance History and Arts Management from American University, where she also served as a Dance Adjunct Faculty in the Department of Performing Arts. In 2003, she garnered the American University Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Dance Field.
Early in her career, Ms. Spiegler traveled to the Caribbean to teach in The St. Croix School of the Arts. She later served as an NEA artist-in-residence for the Caribbean Dance Company and School and in 1982 became the Artistic Director of Theatre Dance School and Company for which she also created an international exchange program with Bennington College and a scholarship program for talented Caribbean dancers to attend the prestigious July Program.
In 1991, Mary Day invited Ms. Spiegler to return to her alma mater, The Washington Ballet (TWB), as a full-time faculty member. In 1999 Spiegler became TWB’s first Director of Education and Outreach and co-founder of The Washington Ballet’s DanceDC Program with Septime Webre. Spiegler also created the “Dancing with Words" curriculum. There she also developed and co-directed “Cultural Partnerships for At-Risk Children and Youth Program: Dancing Toward Literacy” funded by the US Dept of Education for 50, 7th graders in Anacostia, connecting directly to TWB’s programming at the ARC.
Commissioned twice by the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) in partnership with the Kennedy Center as the Dance Director/Choreographer for “Music that Moves” Program (in 1999, 2003), Ms. Spiegler worked in artistic collaboration with the NSO conductors towards the realization of a classical music and dance program that highlighted qualities of classical music while showcasing DC area talents from: The Washington Ballet’s Young Dancers and professional company, The Kirov Ballet Academy and Duke Ellington School for the Arts.
Ms. Spiegler’s international and intercultural dance exchange projects have taken her to the Caribbean, Europe and Latin America. Ms. Spiegler's Brazilian/American exchange work has been extensive. She created and implemented a new bi-lingual dance and language project based on her methodology “Dancing Toward Literacy” for the Escola Americana in Rio de Janeiro (EARJ), has served as a choreographer-in-residence for Richard Cragun’s Ballet De Anima, as a Cultural Specialist/Artist-in-residence funded by the US Consulate in Rio for Dalal Achcar’s Compania Jovem do Rio De Janeiro (also taking the company to dance at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC) and co-creating with Goucher College Dance Department in Maryland an international study abroad course for American students: “History and Practice of Brazilian Dance” connected to her other work in Rio de Janeiro with Escola de Samba Mangueira, Focus Cia de Danca, The Folk Dance Company of UFRJ, Faculdade Angel Vianna and Cia Deborah Colker.
Ms. Spiegler is the recipient of the 2013 Metro Dance DC Award for "Excellence in Education" for her role in the founding and development of CityDance Conservatory - work that began in 2007-2008. Under her leadership and direction, CityDance School & Conservatory based at the Strathmore Music Center in North Bethesda has become one of the region’s most prestigious centers for pre-professional dance training. Conservatory Dancers continue to be recognized by various honors and accolades including awards at WBC, Vienna international Competition (Fanny Elssler), NYCDA and finalist placements at YOUNG ARTS and Prix de Lausanne. From 2010 through to the present, CityDance has had an impressive presence at YAGP, including individual awards in classical and contemporary, ensemble and pas de deux, Hope, Grand Prix and Outstanding Teacher. Our dancers have also won medals at YAGP International Finals in NYC and secured invitations to the YAGP Gala in Mexico. Ms. Spiegler also coaches and choreographs for the YAGP dancers.
Spiegler continues to serve as a Board member for Rio de Janeiro/Maryland Partners of the Americas. She has served as a panelist for many organizations and conferences including the Dance/USA Conference in 2000 in San Francisco, California co-presenter with Septime Webre, Martin Cohen, and Suzanne Callahan: “The Development of the DanceDC Evaluation Plan” and for The Kennedy Center's DC Arts and Humanities Education Collaborative in Washington, DC in 2001 on the panel for “Arts Partners Beyond the School Day”, where she presented her paper “Problems and Possibilities of After-School Arts Programs”. Ms. Spiegler's publications include Dance Teacher Magazine: “7 Days: Building a Dance Curriculum through Cultural Dialogue.” April 2001, pp. 59-61 on her work in Cuba.
Diana Amalfitano, a dancer from the Washington, DC area, initially came to CityDance through the after-school DARE Dance Program. After being identified as a talented young student, she became one of the first to graduate the nascent Conservatory program under Lorraine Spiegler in 2011. Diana continued her education, receiving her BFA in Dance Performance with a concentration in Arts Management from SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance in 2015. After graduating, Diana joined DC-based Company | E, with whom she has toured nationally and internationally performing, teaching and choreographing.
Diana has been a company member of Robert J. Priore ’s Dance Company, PrioreDance, since 2015. Performances include: Divided We Stand in 2015 on the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center. Casita performing at numbers venues including New York City at the Manhattan Movement & Arts Center for the Dance Gallery Festival in 2016, at Sidney Harman Hall in the Velocity Dance Festival in 2017, at Jacobs Pillow on the Inside Out stage in 2018, and at the Grier School Dance Gala under Jocelyn Hrzic in 2019. Performing Trois in 2017 at the Richmond Dance Festival at the Dogtown Dance Theatre and at CityDance Studio Blackbox Theatre. Priore’s work Cirque de Nuit premiered at the Atlas Performing Arts Center in 2018 and toured to Holguin, Cuba as guests for the Vladimir Malakhov Grad Prix. Diana also performed at the Kennedy Center for the Mark Twain Comedy Award Show which was televised on PBS, dancing alongside comedy stars Abbi Jacobson and Illana Glazer from Broad City in 2018. Diana has been a dancer with S. J. EWING & DANCERS since 2017. She has performed Analog in Detroit at the Detroit City Dance Festival, and at the Dance Metro DC Showcase at Dance Place in 2017. Performing her latest work, Gallery, at the Source Theatre in 2019. Most recently, performing alongside the Maryland Lyric Opera in their production of Thais at the Clarice Theater at UMD in 2020.
Diana is a member of CityDance School & Conservatory Faculty and teaches modern and jazz year round. She also choreographs for the Conservatory and is the Repetiteur, working closely with rehearsing and restaging pieces from internal and guest choreographers, including those of national and international stature - Ronen Koresh, Herve Koubi and Alex Neroal, to name a few.
Diana was recognized for her hard work in the field and was interviewed in a Dance Magazine article (2017) written by Ali Castro called "What it takes to Thrive as a Freelance Dancer - In Any City".
Diana is grateful for the opportunity to dance, and dedicates her performance career to her mother Diane, in honor of her guidance, dedication, support and love.
Sarah J. Ewing
Sarah J. Ewing is an Australian born dancer and choreographer, a CityDance Ignite Artist and the Director of S. J. EWING & DANCERS. Sarah has a close relationship with the School & Conservatory as an esteemed faculty member and choreographer. Ewing often creates new works on Conservatory dancers, which she presents alongside her company's works, and also casts current students and numerous alumni in her professional productions.
In 2019,. Ewing was one of the first artists commissioned by the Kennedy Center to create an original work for its newly expanded campus, the REACH. She also toured a new work, Analog OnSite, to New Zealand's premier alternative arts festival, The Arcade Festival, and toured twice to Detroit. She presented a new full-length work, Gallery, at FlashDC. The work was re-presented by CulturalDC and CityDance at Source Theater in September for Cultural DC's 20th anniversary season. Sarah was selected to choreograph for Maryland Lyric Opera's new production of Thais, which premiered at the Kay Theater at the Clarice Performing Arts Center in January 2020.
Her company, S. J. EWING & DANCERS, has presented throughout DC at The Kennedy Center, Dupont Underground, Dance Place, Atlas Performing Arts Center and in site-specific installations at Bread for the City, 2M Apartment Building, Flash nightclub and The Warehouse. The company has toured across the US to Green Space (NYC), Boston Contemporary Dance Festival (MA), White Wave Dance Festival (NYC), Ailey Citigroup Theater (NYC), Your Move JC (NJ), Dance Gallery Festival (TX), CityDance Studio Theater at Strathmore (MD) and twice to the Detroit City Dance Festival (MI). In the 2018-2019 season, the company had residencies in Michigan at Cranbrook School and Lightbox Theater.
A native New Yorker, Ms. Higgins trained at the official conservatory of the Joffrey Ballet, principally under Ann Parson, Meredith Bayliss and Maria Grandy, teachers of high integrity. She performed in New York in her early dance career with Ballet Academy Youth Dancers at numerous high school theaters, Sandra Genter Dancers at New York City Parks Department venues, Grant’s Tomb and on Wall Street; Barnard-Columbia Dance Concerts at Columbia University, The Chapin School Dance Club; and Bernice Johnson Dancers at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Joffrey Ballet’s Petrouchka at City Center Theater.
Ms. Higgins has a Master of Arts from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and an BA from Columbia University, Barnard College. She also spent a year at l’Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Paris researching and writing academic papers on French defense and foreign policy. After a highly developed career in international energy consulting, Ms. Higgins has chosen to return to dance and to the French language through her first love, Ballet. Ms. Higgins has taught ballet and pointe technique classes for over 15 years in the DC metro area. During this time period, she has re-staged and coached over 20 classical repertory variations to student dancers at the pre-professional level. In 2017, Ms. Higgins joined the ballet faculty of CityDance School & Conservatory. Ms. Higgins follows the Vaganova curriculum, building strength and precision through meticulous attention to detail, while instilling the automaticity of its épaulement. In 2017 and 2018, Ms. Higgins enhanced her professional dance education by completing a teachers’ workshop covering the full Vaganova curriculum led by an MFA graduate of the ARB Kirov Academy in St. Petersburg and former principal dancer with the Moscow Ballet.
Since 2018, Ms. Higgins has participated in the CityDance Summer Intensives, teaching ballet and pointe alongside the guest faculty from the Dance Theater of Harlem and Koresh Dance, as well as with CityDance colleagues in the Vaganova for the 21st Century program. She is pleased to participate again for the upcoming 2020 summer dance intensives.
As a complement to teaching and coaching, Ms. Higgins has written proposals and won grants from donor organizations, including the Margaret Abell Powell Fund and the Humanities Council of DC. The Arts Club of Washington invited Ms. Higgins to produce and present a history, interview and performance of the Capitol Ballet Company and the Jones Haywood School of Ballet, the first professional caliber ballet school and company for African Americans in the country. On behalf of Doris Jones, the founder of ballet school and company, Ms. Higgins created and chaired the Capitol Ballet Studio, Inc., a new nonprofit organization to showcase pre-professional dancers and choreographers of color. Ms. Higgins was a member of the Washington Joffrey Board, promoting a greater East Coast presence of the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, through small donor fundraising and large donor programs with the Kennedy Center.
Robert J. Priore
Robert J. Priore is the Choreographer-In-Residence for the CityDance Conservatory program as well as an Ignite Artist. Robert received a BFA in Dance from Point Park University. Since 2010, he has been teaching Contemporary Jazz at the highest levels of the School & Conservatory, and his Choreographer-In-Residence works are directly linked to his mission of creating signature pieces for the Conservatory.
Priore is very proud to be a founding member of 2011 DC-based Company | E, where he has had the honor of dancing works by Ohad Naharin, Andrea Miller, Sharon Eyal, Rachel Erdos, Roni Koresh, Marco Cantalupo and Thomas Noone. In 2015, Robert was a recipient of the John F. Kennedy Center Local Dance Commissioning Project and created a special work, Speak Easy for the artists of Company | E. Speak Easy has been on the road, presented in collaboration with Company | E, in Russia, Azerbaijan, Cuba and most recently in Ukraine.
PrioreDance, Robert’s professional company, was founded in the fall of 2016. In January of 2017, Robert traveled to Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he facilitated a workshop at La Fábrica, and set and presented work for local professionals. In April of 2017, Robert traveled to Holguin, Cuba to set an original work on the dancers of CoDanza. He returned to Holguin in the fall with PrioreDance company member, Abby Leithart, to premiere his work Casita with CoDanza at the Vladimir Malakhov Grand Prix, where the piece won the audience choice award. In July of 2018, PrioreDance was chosen to perform Casita at the Inside/Out Program Theatre during the prestigious Jacob’s Pillow Summer Festival. That same fall, Robert and five dancers returned once again to Holguin to present excerpts of Robert’s Cirque De Nuit for the Vladimir Malakhov Grand Prix performance.
In 2016, 2017 and 2018 Robert also was named an outstanding fellow in the arts in his home of the District of Columbia. In November of 2019, Robert presented a new work at the Dance Gallery Festival in New York City, being named one of the three Level-Up commissioned choreographers. From 2016 to 2020, Robert was named an outstanding fellow in his home of the District of Columbia. In tandem, Robert was the recipient of several project grants from 2018 to 2020 to create evening length works for the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Most recently, Robert was commissioned to create a work for the Mark Twain Prize Award Ceremony which was nationally televised on PBS in November of 2018. In 2019, Robert was awarded the prestigious Pola Nirenska Award for outstanding contribution to art in the District of Columbia.
Originally from Chester, Pennsylvania, Monique Newton Walker has traveled the world as a performer, educator and choreographer. She specializes in Neo-traditional and contemporary African dance and has studied seriously in this specialty since an early age. Monique has refined her powerful teaching techniques throughout her career with many dance masters and established institutions including: Baba Chuck Davis (1998-2004), Philadanco! (1987), The School at Jacob’s Pillow (Summers 2000 and 2004) and Dr. Kariamu Welsh (1996-Present). Based in southern-Maryland, Monique is a 2018-2019 NextLOOK Residency Artist and a certified Master Teacher of Umfundalai contemporary African dance technique. Monique is a teaching faculty member of CityDance DREAM School for Dance as well as the School & Conservatory, where she teaches that technique. Monique has choreographed for Conservatory Concerts and led workshops throughout the institution during staff training and kickoff events. Ms. Walker has also taught her specialty Umfundalai at Drexel University (Spring 2018), North Carolina State University (1999-2003) and The School at Jacob’s Pillow (1999). She is the former Dance Captain and Assistant to the Artistic Director of Baba Chuck Davis' African American Dance Ensemble. Her choreography has also been presented at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival (2009), Dance Place (2007) and the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (2016). Monique continues her mission and leadership of using dance, music and theater as a vehicle for the preservation, promotion and innovation of African Diasporan dance through her work as the Director of Administration for the Organization of Umfundalai Teachers and a choreographer with her project-based performance company, MoDance Works.