DCA’s 10 Scholarship winners to the 2018 IABD
DCA’s 10 Scholarship Winners to the 2018 International Association of Blacks in Dance Conference and Festival.
Ava Marie Easter
David A Mitchell
Bernard Brown is a choreographer, performer, and educator. Mr. Brown’s choreography has been presented at Royce Hall, REDCAT, the Fowler Museum, Japanese American National Museum, Highways Performance Space, HomeLA, Southern Methodist University, Crocker Art Museum, and Nate Holden Performing Arts Center. He has choreographed Scott Joplin’s opera, “Treemonisha” for Skylark Opera. Bernard has performed with Lula Washington Dance Theatre, Jazz Antiqua, TU Dance, Shapiro & Smith Dance, and Doug Elkins Dance Company. Bernard has also worked with Donald McKayle, David Rousseve, Rennie Harris, Vincent Patterson, Lea Anderson, Rudy Perez, Tamica Washington-Miller, Ann Carlson, Christopher Huggins, among others. His work “Champion” was presented at the launch of the Institute on Inequality and Democracy at UCLA Luskin in 2016. Mr. Brown was published in the inaugural edition of Dancer-Citizen, peer-reviewed dance journal, in November 2015. His work as an activist was featured in the Los Angeles Times. He is also recipient of the Westfield Emerging Artist Award in 2016, and the Lester Horton Award in 2017. He received his BFA from Purchase College and his MFA in Dance from UCLA. Mr. Brown is the recently appointed Assistant Professor of Dance at California State University, Sacramento. The LA Times has called him “…the incomparable Bernard Brown…”
Jade Charon is a choreographer, community activist, dancer, filmmaker, and teaching artist from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She began dancing at the age of 5 with City Ballet Theater, and trained with many local dance organizations around Milwaukee such as: Art in Motion, Milwaukee Ballet School, Feet of Praise Dance Ministry, and graduated from Milwaukee High School of the Arts as a dance major. In 2005, she joined Signature Dance Company where she served as a company member and choreographer. In 2007, she was accepted into Columbia College Chicago. Jade thrived artistically and academically, and received an Opportunity Scholarship which granted her a full ride for her academic achievements. In 2011, Jade Charon graduated from Columbia College Chicago with honors receiving a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Dance and Theater. After college, she became a backup dancer for Kanye West and performed at Summeriest Music Festival and Essences Fest. Jade’s passion for youth and community landed her a pioneer role of, Youth Choreography Dance Artist Mentor, for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee. Through this role, Jade was a part of a national research study held by The Wallace Foundation, and had the responsibility of creating a high quality dance program for the youth of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee with a 5.6 million dollar grant. Jade’s professional experience in church ministry , dance, education, and community is the driving force behind her choreography. She is currently a MFA dance student and Graduate Opportunity Fellow, at the University of California, Los Angeles where she explores the ways in which dance can be used as ministry to uplift people of color and heal all people.
Pamela Donohoo is an international circus artist, dancer and choreographer. She has done commercials, award shows, large-scale events and spectacular acrobatic shows. She received a degree in Cultural and Social Anthropology from Stanford University and completed research and nonprofit service work throughout Africa, India, Latin America and the Caribbean. Some of Pamela’s interests include: conflict and peacebuilding, sustainable development, social justice, cultural development, performance art and folklore. Pamela specializes in creating socially relevant and globally engaged acrobatic performances. Her vision is to generate art that inspires people to think critically and contribute positively to their world. Pamela is the artistic director of Awaken Circus and Dance Theater, and the Environment Art and Human Security Studio at the University of California, Irvine.
Latrece Douglas has a BA in dance from the University of California Irvine, and a Master’s Degree in Education, with an emphasis in curriculum and instruction, from National University. She has performed in the Lion King, Fantasmic and the Christmas Parade at Disneyland. Latrece has studied with dancing legends, such as Donald McKayle, Bernard Johnson, Larry Rosenberg, Janice Plastino, El Gabriel, James Penrod, Nad mary Corey. She also studied and performed with Karen McDonald in the Modern New Age Dance Theatre as a soloist. She has also performed in theatre productions, as a lead dancer or soloist, Spiritual, directed by Otis Sallid, and Dark Legends in Blood and Voices, directed by Maurice Kitchen. Latrece was a dance teacher at the Los Angeles Unified School District Gifted and Talented Conservatory for many years and currently serves as the Assistant Director. She has been teaching at Hamilton High School since 1999, where she is the Director of the Dance department. The classes she instructs include jazz, ballet, modern and dance choreography; beginning, intermediate and advanced levels. She is also the Artistic Director and costumer of the dance concerts, she also coordinates student performances. She previously coached the Cheerleaders for six years and has been coaching the Dance Team since 2000. The Dance Team has won many top honors in regional and district competitions. They perform both on and off campus. In 2014 some of her Hamilton HS Dance Team members had the opportunity to perform on the Academy Awards, “Happy” with Pharell Williams. Many of her students have gone on to study dance at colleges such as the University of California Irvine, University of California Los Angeles, University of the Arts, Julliard, Suny Purchase, Dominican, as well as other prestigious institutions. They have also pursued professional dance careers studying and performing with companies such as Alvin Ailey, Philidanco, and Lines Ballet. The have also performed in musicals, such as Amazing Graze, Fela’ and Motown the Musical. Other Hamilton alumni have booked tours and/or currently dance with artists such as Beyonce’, Chris Brown, Miley Cyrus and Sean Paul. The have also danced with Professional cheer teams, such as the Knicks City Dancers, the Laker Girls, the Clipper Girls, and the Sacramento Kings Dancers.
Brigette Dunn is the artistic director of the B. Dunn Movement/Dance and Theatre Company , dance educator, choreographer and performing artist. Her educational credentials include an MFA in choreography from the California Institute of the Arts Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance and a BA in dance from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Currently, Dunn holds a position as Assistant Professor of Dance in the department of Kinesiology at California State University, Northridge and dance faculty at the California Institute of the Arts. She is an innovative artist who explores new approaches towards authentic and creative self expression. Dunn’s choreographic works have appeared at the BlakTina 5 Dance Festival at the Bootleg Theater (LA, CA), Taste of Soul (LA, CA), Plaza Del Sol Performance Hall (Northridge, CA), MiMoDa Studio (LA, CA), REDCAT (LA, CA), Jazz on the Lawn (Santa Monica, CA), Dance in Dire Times Miles Memorial Playhouse (Santa Monica, CA), Multicultural Arts Center Cambridge, (Cambridge, MA,) and Mobius (Boston, MA). Her performance career includes a position as dance captain and dancer swing with the1st National US Tour of The Lion King and the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble where she has appeared in such venues as the Kennedy Center (Washington DC), Brooklyn Academy of Music (NY), NJPAC (NJ), Aaron Davis Hall (NY), Guggenheim Museum (NY) and the Gomhouria Theatre of the Cairo Opera House, Egypt, to name a few.
Dunn has performed works by noted choreographers Ronald K Brown, Katherine Dunham, Talley Beaty, Donald Mckayle and Eleo Pomare. Her memberships include the Actor’s Equity Association and Yoga Alliance. Ms. Dunn has organized and facilitated numerous educational and community outreach programs with the Multicultural Arts Center Cambrige (Cambridge, MA), People’s Kitchen (Oakland, CA) Harriet Tubman Center for Social Justice (LA, CA), Arcadia Performing Arts Center (Arcadia, CA), Massachusetts College of Art Interdisciplinary Workshop Graduate Seminar (Boston, MA), Los Angeles Unified School District Santee Education Complex (LA, CA), Rhythm and Flow Workshop Dance Complex (Cambridge, MA and Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica), Moving Our Bodies Workshop Mujeres del Mundo (Bilbao, Spain), Balé Folclórico da Bahia (Salvador, Brazil). Dunn is committed to bringing dance and multiple art forms into classrooms and communities in order to engage and impact the lives of all people locally and globally.
Ava Marie Easter started dancing at the age of two at the West Coast Dance Theatre in Northridge, California, where she took ballet, jazz, and tap. When Ava Marie was three years old, she moved to South Los Angeles and started her career at the Lula Washington Dance Theatre. Lula Washington Dance Theatre introduced Ava Marie to many new styles of dance, including African, Caribbean, and modern, while continuing to strengthen her foundations in ballet, jazz, and tap. There, she studies specific styles of modern, including Dunham and Horton, and dances ballet en pointe. At Lula Washington, Ava Marie became one of a select group of students to perform in the Children’s Dance Ensemble and then the Youth Dance Ensemble, where she travels doing special performances in the Greater Los Angeles Area. Ava Marie currently dances in the Millennium Dance Complex (MDC) Company, where she is enjoying expanding her dance vocabulary and participating in dance competitions and performances both locally and nationally.
Ava Marie has also taken time to study at the Dance Theatre of Harlem. In middle school, she attended the Marina Del Rey Performing Arts Magnet, where she danced in the Company and graduated as one of the valedictorians. She currently attends the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA) on the campus of Cal State Los Angeles, where her arts focus is Dance and she maintains a 4.0 GPA. Ava Marie would like to attend college and pursue a professional career in dance. Following her dance career, Ava Marie is interested in becoming a lawyer.
Allison “Alli” Gray is a dancer, choreographer, and teacher based in Los Angeles, California. Stepping into the dance studio at the age of five, Alli has continued to pursue dance as her greatest life passion. She graduated from UCLAʼs Department of World Arts and Cultures with a concentration in Dance in June 2010. During her four-year tenure at UCLA, she honed her technical and choreography skills as a featured artist in both student and professional productions. Her versatile training and knowledge include such dance styles as Modern, Hip Hop, Contemporary, and West African. Alli has been a principle member of Versa-Style since 2009, a dance ensemble that creates highly energetic work representing the diversity, history, and beauty of Hip Hop dance and culture. She has had the privilege to travel and experience unique dance opportunities such as the Dance and Drum Program (Burkina Faso, West Africa), Illadelph Legends Hip Hop Festival (Philadelphia, Pa), Urban Bush Women Summer Leadership Institute (New Orleans, LA), The Ladies of Hip Hop Festival (New York, NY), Chennai Hip Hop Festival (India), and International Dance Festival (Israel). For the past 7 years, she has shared her strong passion and commitment to the arts by teaching students dance at East Los Angeles Performing Arts Magnet. Alli continues to train, explore, and deepen her practice. She is greatly interested in finding where dance forms can connect and relate to one another. As an African- American woman, she is inspired to create work that represents a unique female voice through powerful, dynamic, and funky movement.
David Avrahim Mitchell was born in Compton, California. He first began performing in theatre productions at ten years old. He has performed roles such as Basil in “The Diviners”, and was a member of Coral Bel Conte’s professional choir for two seasons. He began dance training at Rio Hondo College in 2013. After only one semester of dancing, David audition for the school’s advanced collective group and made it. There he choreographed, and performed the role of Jack Skelington in the “Nightmare before Christmas”, and many other original student works. He was led to Lula Washington Dance Theatre in the fall of 2015, and has been there ever since. David was awarded a Scholarship to Kansas City Ballet Summer intensive in 2017 while attending IABD 2017. He has performed works of Lula Washington, Reegan Haynes, Ken Morris , and much more. Over the past few years he has trained in Ballet, Horton, Jazz, West African, Character, and Graham in hopes of receiving the place that God has set for him in this dance world.
Bandeja A. Munir is a Senior at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY (HWS) as a Posse Foundation Leadership Scholar, receiving a four-year full tuition scholarship, studying for dual Bachelor’s degrees in Dance (Performance/ Choreography), and Media and Society (Composition and Technology). She began her dance training at the Lula Washington Dance Theatre School, under the tutelage of Artistic Director, Lula Washington and Associate Director, Tamica Washington-Miller, where she honed her skills in Horton, Dunham, and Graham Modern dance techniques, Classic and Contemporary Ballet, Jazz, West African, Hip-Hop and Tap. In addition to becoming the LWDT School’s youngest staff instructor at the age of 14, she is also recognized as a prolific and sought-after choreographer.
Previously, Ms. Munir attended the prestigious Los Angeles County High School for the Arts where as a junior Dance major she earned an NAACP ACTSO Gold Medal for the Beverly Hills/Hollywood and was later named a 2014 National High School Dance Festival-Choreography Finalist.
In 2016, Ms. Munir earned Instructor Certification in Lester Horton Modern Dance Technique studying with Ana Marie Forsythe of the Ailey School. She was honored to host and facilitate her own company, Innate Dance Theatre presents’, inaugural Summer Dance Intensive held at the Lula Washington Dance Theatre studios in Los Angeles in August 2016. Ms. Munir’s most recent teaching experience was a 2-day Master Class Horton Technique Workshop in October 2017 at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. As an interdisciplinary artist, she has expanded her interest to include film and new media, most recently presenting HWS’ first ever dance film at its 2017 JR/SR Choreographers’ concert, and completing a commissioned short film for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre’s 2017 Summer AileyCamp, presented to Artistic Director, Robert Battle and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Yusuf Nasir’s love for dance is infectious and can be felt far and wide. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Yusuf began dancing at age seven at Studio J, under the direction of Kris Bell. He is a graduate of the San Francisco School of the Arts, and attendee of the Ailey School in New York. A highly versatile dancer, choreographer, and instructor, his credits span through Film, Television, and Stage. Dance credits include: Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, Miley Cyrus, Neil Patrick Harris, Ceelo- Green, Wayne Brady, Betty White, Mark Feuerstein, Donny and Marie Osmond Live in Las Vegas, Ray Charles Live – B’way Tryout, Dancing with the Stars, MTV Video Music Awards, AFI Honors: Morgan Freeman, Spike TV Video Game Awards, Festival di San Remo, Altoids.com interactive dance video game and much more! In addition, he has appeared in commercials for companies such as FIAT and SENSA. Now moving into Direction and Choreography, he recently participated and made TOP 5 contestant in the second season of the reality choreography competition “Every Single Step”, produced by Nigel Lythgoe and Brian Friedman. From that show, he was selected to be contributing choreographer for the Jackie Chung World Tour, Directed by Emmy-Award Winning Choreographers Tabitha and Napoleon (Nappytabs). Most recently, he choreographed the regional production of “Once on this Island” for 3d Theatrical, LA Times critically acclaimed “Lily Tomlin’s Search For Signs of Intelligent Life: Revisited” and “Hit the Wall” at the Davidson/Valentini Theater, premiered his first full-length dance production at the historic El Portal Theater entitled “The Shout: A Dance Concert” and was selected as a 2017 Capezio Ace Awards Finalist. Aside from his professional career, he is an Adjunct Professor and Resident Choreographer at the American Music and Dramatic Arts College and Conservatory Los Angeles, an instructor for the Joffrey West Ballet School and Guest Artist at the University of Southern California. Past studios: Edge Performing Arts Center, Millennium Dance Complex, Chapkis Dance.