Rhythm World 28 Artists
Rhythm World 28 Artists
Learn more about each of the amazing teachers at Rhythm World 28. Click on a name below, or scroll down through the entire list.
Dianne Walker is considered a pioneer in the resurgence of tap dancing. Her 28 Year career spans Broadway, television, film and international dance concerts. Throughout the world of tap, she has been dubbed the “Ella Fitzgerald” of Tap Dance. The Boston Herald called her “America’s First Lady of Tap” and in Dallas, “The Ballerina of Tap”. Savion Glover and his contemporaries affectionately call her “Aunt Dianne” in acknowledgment of her unique place as mentor, teacher and confidante. In appreciation of her personal style and elegance as a performer, as well as her eloquent and passionate commitment to the art of tap dance, her mentors and peers always refer to her as “Lady Di”.
In 2006, Dianne’s lifetime achievements were honored in Flint, Michigan. In 2005, she also received lifetime achievement recognition from the Vancouver Tap Dance Society. 2004, Walker received the Hoofers Award from Tap City NYC and was also presented with an award at the L.A Tap Dance Festival in memory of Gregory Hines. Dianne Walker is the first woman to receive the “Living Treasure in American Dance Award” from Oklahoma City University. She has also received numerous awards over the years for excellence in teaching.
Sam Weber is an award-winning, internationally acclaimed performing artist, master teacher and choreographer who regularly appears throughout the world. A protege of Stan Kahn in San Francisco, Sam has shared the stage with such tap luminaries as Charles, “Honi” Coles, Steve Condos, and Gregory Hines.
Sam continues to teach at tap festivals worldwide. He has taught in the dance departments of UCLA, Cal State L.A., Cal State Fullerton and San Francisco State University and currently teaches regular classes at ODC Dance Commons and City Dance in San Francisco.
Sam is the recipient of numerous awards( including the “Juba” award from the Chicago Human Rhythm Project) and was the first tap dancer to receive a “Bessie” award, presented in 1993 in recognition of outstanding creative achievement in his work with the Jazz Tap Ensemble. He has received the “Giant Steps” award for his lifelong contribution to the development of tap dance in the San Francisco Bay Area and was the recipient of the “Legacy Award” from the Third Coast Rhythm Project for his work as a teacher and performer. On July 11th, 2017, Sam received the “Hoofer Award,” presented by the American Tap Dance Foundation.
Linda Sohl Ellison
Linda Sohl-Ellison is the Artistic Director, choreographer, and soloist with Rhapsody In Taps, a Long Beach, CA based touring company featuring seven tap dancers and six musicians that she founded with Toni Tack in 1981. Linda has a BFA from Ohio University in Dance and Graphic Design and an MA from UCLA. Her training includes studies under the great tap masters Foster Johnson, Eddie Brown, Honi Coles and Buster Brown. She collaborated with Gregory Hines, staging and performing in his first choreographic work, Toeing the 3rd and Fifth made for Rhapsody In Taps in 1990, and she has re-staged this work several times, most recently in 2016 for the company’s 35th Anniversary. Linda has toured the United States, Mexico, Asia, Indonesia, France and Germany teaching and performing as a soloist, with Rhapsody In Taps, and with her husband, percussionist Monti Ellison.
Recognized for her choreographic innovation in tap, she has been awarded five Choreographers’ Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, two Irvine Fellowships in Dance (1999, 2001) and a 2006 Dance: Creation to Performance grant from the James Irvine Foundation. In 1999 Linda was nominated for the prestigious Alpert Award in Dance. She has received Artist’s Fellowships from the California Arts Council, Arts Council for Long Beach, Public Corporation for the Arts, National Association for Regional Ballet, and California Community Foundation. Ms. Sohl-Ellison received a 1st place choreography award from the Palm Desert Choreography Festival (2003), a Lester Horton Dance Award for Outstanding Choreography from the Dance Resource Center and a Distinguished Alumni Award from Ohio University (2006), a Milestone Award from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors for more than 25 years of performances, programs and arts leadership in Los Angeles (2007), a Tapestry Award from the Soul to Sole tap festival in Austin Texas for 30 years of contributions to the field of tap dance (2010) and a 2017 award from the Orange County Tap Festival. Linda is Emeritus Professor of Dance at Orange Coast College where she taught many dance forms, directed student concerts and mentored dancers for 37 years, and currently teaches int/adv tap and modern dance as a part time faculty member. Her film credits include the movie TAP, and three documentaries: Thinking on their Feet: Women of the Tap Renaissance, You Gotta Move and JUBA. For more info: rhapsodyintaps.com
Monti Ellison is an accomplished percussionist/drummer, composer and vocalist. He has performed worldwide as a soloist with Harry Belafonte, Stephanie Mills, Lonnie Liston Smith, Little Steven and others. As a dance musician he spent 15 years at the Alvin Ailey School in New York where he was head staff musician. Monti teaches African dance, hand percussion, drumming and bucket drumming; he is an accompanist and/or faculty member at Loyola Marymount University, Orange Coast College, CSU Long Beach, The Wooden Floor and he teaches master classes internationally. He has composed numerous dance scores: Judith Jamison’s Divining for the Alvin Ailey company, a percussion score for the New York based Urban Arts Corps’ production of Alice in Wonderland directed by Vinette Carroll and choreographed by Talley Beatty, J5A6Z7Z8 for jazz choreographer Jose Meier, as well as Dat’s Right, Espiritu, Riptide, Stroke of the Oarsmen, Deciduous Dances, Wade, Ode To Hummingbirds, Chugarump and FOIL/Copper, Zinc, Brass, for Rhapsody In Taps, plus many compositions for the Monti Ellison Percussion Ensemble.
John began his music training with a focus in percussion in Fort Worth, TX. He went on to study percussion and music performance at TCU where he got his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education. He was a proud member of the 2001 DCI world champions, the Cavaliers, where he marched snare drum. In 2005, John was a member of the percussion group 6 to 1, where he did two tours with The Great Moscow Circus. In 2007, he joined the cast of Stomp in New York City and has performed with both the US touring production, and the international touring production of STOMP. John has toured all over the country and the world as a clinician and performer with various musical productions and ensembles.
Lane Alexander, Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s co-founder and director for 25 years, has performed, choreographed, taught and advocated for American tap and percussive dance for more than 40 years. He has performed Morton Gould’s Tap Dance Concerto with the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall, The London Philharmonic at the Royal Festival Hall, the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra at the Pritzer Pavilion and the Little Orchestra Society at Lincoln Center among many others. Lane co-directed the Emmy nominated PBS documentary JUBA! Masters of Tap and Percussive Dance, curated the first full-length tap concert on a main stage at the Kennedy Center and led more than 80 American tap dancers to China to represent the United States at the 5th Annual Beijing International Dance Festival. Lane has been a driving force behind the development of a new, collaborative dance/arts space in Chicago’s historic Fine Arts Building – the American Rhythm Center.
Lane received a National Endowment for the Arts’ American Masterpieces grant through the Illinois Arts Council, two Ruth Page Awards for Outstanding Contribution to the Field and Solo Performance, two Illinois Arts Council Choreography Fellowships and has been recognized by the Chicago Tribune as “Chicagoan of the Year” and three times in Chicago’s New City as one of the city’s 50 Players. Lane was honored to serve on Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s transition team for arts and cultural policy. Lane continues to teach, choreograph and perform around the world and has served on many dance faculties including the Lou Conte Dance Studio, Gus Giordano Dance Studio, Northwestern University, Columbia College and at Jacob’s Pillow. Lane currently serves as a Senior Advisor to the Beijing Contemporary Music Academy and Chairman of the Board of the International Tap Association.
Bril Barrett is a creative tap dancer, whose mission is to preserve and promote tap dance as a percussive art form, foster respect and admiration for the history and creators of tap, and continuously create opportunities for the art form and its practitioners.Bril is the founder of M.A.D.D. (Making A Difference Dancing) Rhythms, director of The Chicago Tap Summit and founder of The M.A.D.D. Rhythms Tap Academy. Performance opportunities include Riverdance, Tap Dance Kid, The St. Louis Tap Festival, The Calgary Tap Summit and many others. Bril has taught and/or performed in Canada, Germany, Finland, Turkey, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Albania, Amsterdam, and across the U.S. He has started many outreach programs in Chicago’s public schools, Park districts, a performing arts high school in Gary, Indiana and several After School Matters programs on the city’s Westside and Southside.
Daniel “Dani” Borak, world-renowned, international tap and multi-genre performer, choreographer and teacher, joins the Chicago Human Rhythm Project (CHRP) as its first three-year Artist In Residence, using his many skills throughout CHRP’s variety of programs. Passionate about experimenting and collaborating with a broad spectrum of performing and visual artists, this extraordinarily talented artist has already expanded the concept of traditional tap dancing, creating his own unique blended vocabulary pointing toward the future of percussive dance and rhythmic expression.
A native of Switzerland (Winterthur), Dani has performed as a soloist around the world and has won 11 gold medals in many different categories (six in solo male) at the IDO tap dance world championships in Riesa, Germany. In 2013, he served as co-choreographer and dance captain for productions of Spamalot and Flashdance. In 2014, he collaborated on the creation of Funny Feet (by Lukas Weiss Productions) a show that fused tap dance, juggling, virtuosic foot percussion and humor. Other shows featuring his performances in 2014–15 included WINGS by Rigolo and, thanks to Regine Ochsner, Rhythm Refix by Cartier Williams. In 2015, he faced the greatest challenge of his career, performing in Kilian Deissler’s Kick The Square: tapping by using notes in an extremely complex way, with six other musicians, using a notation system specifically created for the project and a special stage consisting of different sound elements.
Companies and projects that he has performed and toured around the world with include Stylize, directed by Sandro Minasi, which combines different dance styles including break dance and tap; DaNaTI, a collaboration with Swiss dancer and choreographer Natalie Wagner that combines tap, jazz, contemporary dance and acting; Carpe Rhythmum, a Swiss tap ensemble, directed by Daniel Leveillé; his longtime partnership with tap dancer Ursina Meyer; Tap Dan’s Company; projects with his mother Liba Borak and their dancers from Dance Studio Borak; and “Dog, Sheep & Shepherd” with the jazz duo Gabriela and Jan Pisklák. He also has taught workshops and been invited to tap festivals all over the globe.
His most ambitious project to date has been Tap Dan’s Festival in October 2016 in his hometown of Winterthur, Switzerland. Seven different performances showcased his work and new collaborations, including several of his full-evening works as well as material from his six years as a freelance artist. Almost all of his tap and musician colleagues from Switzerland, as well as guests from the U.S., England, France and Germany, including Barbara Duffy, Cartier Williams, Max Pollak, Victor Cuno, and Andreas Dänel, participated and collaborated with him, selling out six of the seven shows.
Martin Bronson, began his dance training at his family’s dance school in St. Louis. He has continued to train and perform in St. Louis, New York, and Chicago. Martin has trained under Mark Yonally, Lane Alexander and has been greatly influenced by the works of Martin “Tre” Dumas.
In St. Louis, Martin performed with Diva La Tap, and participated in Duets For My Valentine, where he performed “Begin The Beguine”, made famous by Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell. Upon relocating to Chicago, Martin has worked with Chicago Tap Theater, under the direction of Mark Yonally, and the Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s BAM! under the the direction of Lane Alexander. Martin has choreographed and performs with The Tapmen, a tap company he co-founded in 2010.
In addition to being a performer and student, Martin is also a passionate teacher. Martin teaches at several Chicago area dance schools, and also enjoys teaching master classes across the country. His most recent teaching credits include teaching at Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s Rhythm World, the largest and oldest tap festival in the world. He is was the Director of Education for Audible Odyssey, a tap dance organization and Education/Outreach Manager for the Chicago Human Rhythm Project. Currently, Martin is the owner and director of Millennium Dance Center in Carol Stream, IL.
Martin feels very fortunate to be a part of the tap community and greatly enjoys his role in sharing this great American art form.
The 2017 recipient of the “Hoofer Award”, Ayodele is a native New Yorker and began her professional training at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and is also a graduate of The William Esper Studio in NYC, having studied directly with the masterful William Esper.
Ayodele Casel recently premiered her one-woman show “While I Have The Floor” at the Spoleto Arts Festival to rave reviews. She also served as choreographer for Carole King and Maurice Sendak’s musical “Really Rosie” for NEw York City Center’s Encores! Off Center this summer under the direction of Leigh Silverman.
Hailed by the legendary Gregory Hines as “one of the top young tap dancers in the world,” Casel has been creating and presenting her work since 1999 and added Spoleto Festival USA to her list of eager recipients this season in her World Premiere.
Ms. Casel’s television and film credits include “Third Watch”, “Law and Order”, “The Jamie Foxx Show”, “Bojangles”, “Savion Glover’s Nu York”. Ayodele originated the role of Yvonne in Nelsan Ellis’ heart-wrenching play “UGLy” to great reviews at NYC’s Fringe Festival and Santa Monica Playhouse. She also originated the role of “The Doll” in Derick Grant’s “Imagine Tap!” which premiered at The Harris Theater in Chicago. Ayodele currently serves on the Artist Board for New York City Center’s Encores! Under the artistic direction of Tony Award winner Jeanine Tesori.
She has earned her commissions from Aaron Davis Hall/Harlem Stage and the Apollo’s Salon Series, where she presented “Diary of a Tap Dancer”. She was also selected by acclaimed composer Rob Kapilow to collaborate on a Tap dance concerto which premiered at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Ayodele co-choreographed “Tap Into Peace”; a show with the incredible music of Stevie Wonder as its inspiration and soundtrack. The show has been presented at NY City Center’s Fall for Dance and PlayhouseSquare in Cleveland.
She has performed at New York City Center, The White House, Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall, Madison Square Garden, and Off-Broadway in Savion Glover’s Downtown: Live Communication. Ms. Casel also co-choreographed and was featured on PBS’ “Rodgers and Hart Story: Thou Swell, Thou Witty”. She has been creating and presenting her own works since 1999 in venues that include The Apollo, New York’s City Center, Aaron Davis Hall/The Gatehouse, The Lisner Auditorium, Lincoln Center “Out of Doors”, Symphony Space, Joyce SoHo, Dance Theater Workshop, The Triad Theater and Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater.
Ms. Casel has appeared on the cover of Dance Spirit, American Theater Magazine, The village voice and has been featured in many other magazine articles. She has worked and performed with the greatest tap dancers and companies including the late great Gregory Hines, Jazz Tap Ensemble, American Tap Dance Orchestra and Savion Glover as the only female in his company N.Y.O.T.s (Not Your Ordinary Tappers). Her work has been presented nationally and internationally, and she continues striving to make Tap Dancing a relevant presence in the arts.
Ayodele, also a Capezio Athlete, was featured alongside Sutton Foster and Jonathan Groff in Off-Center Encores! Jamboree! At New York City Center and performed her work “While I Have The Floor” at City Center’s Fall for Dance 2016 season. Recent performances include “Broadway For Hillary” Fundraiser at the St. James Theater in NYC with Michael Mayer as director. She is on faculty at A BroaderWay, LA Dance Magic, and Marymount Manhattan College. She is the co-director of Original Tap House and Operation: Tap.
Ja’Bowen Dixon is a prominent dancer, choreographer, actor, instructor, visual and performance artist that has entertained audiences since the age of six. He first began his performing arts training at Burnham Park Prep, a private elementary school in downtown Chicago. Inspired and passionate, he then began to pursue his career at the tender age of ten, landing work in film, commercials and concert performances. Some of his film and television credits include Save The Last Dance, What About Joan, and Roll Bounce. In addition to his film work, he has also been featured multiple times in the top dance publication in the country (Dance Spirit magazine) and has modeled for Leo’s Dance Wear. Even with his success, he also continued his training and learned from internationally known tap dancers such as Savion Glover, Diane Walker and the late Jimmy Slyde. By the age of sixteen Jabowen became a founding member of the internationally known, critically acclaimed tap dance company M.A.D.D Rhythms. He has recently performed during halftime for the Chicago Bulls organization, been featured in a pilot for Fox Television directed by award winning director Lee Daniels and scored a national daytime spot on the Steve Harvey Show. When he is not performing he teaches classes and workshops in Chicago’s most prominent dance studios, including but not limited to Lou Conte and Joffery Ballet. Jabowen is a natural born performer, whether its TV, Film or dance, he always captivates and inspires audiences.
Star Dixon is an assistant director, choreographer, and original principal dancer of world renowned tap company, MADD Rhythms. She has taught and performed at some of the most distinguished tap festivals including Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s Rhythm World, LA Tap Fest, DC Tap Fest, New Orleans Jazz City, Motor City Tap Fest, & MADD Rhythms own Chicago Tap Summit. Internationally, she’s taught and performed in Brazil, Poland, Japan, Norway, Switzerland, & Mexico.
Recent projects include performances with Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards in SPEAK: Tap meets Kathak; and Jumaane Taylor’s A Love Supreme which was recently presented as part of Tireless, a curated performance at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. She’s been featured in Dance Spirit Magazine (Artist on the rise & Speed demon), Dance Teacher Magazine (Music for tap), & The Chicago Reader. Besides MADD Rhythms, she’s performed as a guest with such companies as Michelle Dorrance’s Dorrance Dance, Jason Samuel Smith’s ACGI, Lane Alexander’s BAM!, and Chloe Arnold’s Syncopated Ladies. She’s currently on staff at numerous dance studios and schools in and around the Chicagoland area.
Tre Dumas is a Chicago native and currently works as co-Artistic Director of M.A.D.D. Rhythms. Tap dancing since the age of 8, Tre first began attracting the tap community’s attention by representing Tommy Sutton’s Mayfair Academy of Fine Arts as an instructor at the Chicago Human Rhythm Project. Soon after, Tre was cast in the national touring revival of Broadway’s “The Tap Dance Kid” where he first worked with Bril Barrett. Shortly thereafter, Tre joined Bril’s existing group “Steppin’ Out” and they started performing together in numerous tap festivals and events. He was then featured in the North-American and European tours of “Riverdance”, dancing with the show for nearly 3 years. Upon his return to his home town, he continued his association with Mr. Barrett developing a vision that was once an idea into an internationally renowned company, M.A.D.D Rhythms.
Within his pursuits, Tre has had the privilege of learning from and sharing stages with Dianne “Lady Di” Walker, Robert L. Reed, Van “The Man” Porter, Paris Mann, and George “Mo Leggs” Patterson III, among others. He has performed and taught for the St. Louis Tap Festival, the Los Angeles Tap Festival, the Detroit Tap Festival, The Chicago Human Rhythm Project, Columbus Taps and with M.A.D.D. Rhythms Canada while also working at countless workshops across North America and Europe. This includes a six month teaching excursion in Stuttgart, Germany. With a highly musical style and a fun and positive approach to teaching, Tre has become one of the country’s brightest up-and-coming tap influences.
Luke Hickey is a professional tap dancer, choreographer, filmmaker and actor from Chapel Hill, NC. Currently residing in Brooklyn, NY, Hickey is a founding member of Cartier Williams Dance Theatre. Under the direction of his mentor Gene Medler, Hickey completed 10 consecutive seasons performing and touring with the internationally acclaimed, North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble (NCYTE). In 2013, Hickey became a company member and leading character of the New York Stage Originals touring show “TapKids.”
Hickey’s choreography is seen in the new Independent feature film “A Bread Factory” in which he is also dancing in. He is also a Master Teacher and Judge for Groove National Dance Competition.
Onstage, Luke has most notably performed at the American Dance Festival’s 84th Anniversary Gala, Karole Armitage’s “American Dream” at the iconic Ravello Festival, the American Tap Dance Foundation’s “Tap Ellington” at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Appel Room, “JUBA! Masters of Tap and Percussive Dance” at The Kennedy Center, National Tap Dance Day at Macy’s Herald Square, as well as Cartier William’s “Rhythm Refix” on stages around NYC including Times Square’s EcoFest.
Jason Janas is originally from New Jersey. He began his tap dance instruction under Ms. Deborah Mitchell and was the first charter member of the New Jersey Tap Ensemble. He then found a love for the dance and continued to learn and study the art form. He also trained and was a member of the North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble under the direction of Gene Medler. His first professional company after high school was Tapestry Dance Company in Austin TX, under the direction of Acia Gray. He was a principal dancer there for 5 years. His hard work ethic began to take notice and Derick Grant invited Jason to be in his show “Imagine Tap!” which ran for 6 weeks in Chicago, and changed his life. His other show credits include “Souls of our Feet” with Tapestry Dance Company, “Wonderland” with Sara Savelli and Ayodele Casel, and most recently co-choreographed and was featured in “Tap Stars” with Rasta Thomas. He has taught at tap festivals in New Jersey, Chicago, New York, L.A., Charlotte, Austin, San Antonio, Vancouver, Zurich, Curitiba (Brazil), Moscow, and Barcelona! Jason is currently the resident tap instructor for Radix Dance Convention. Tap dance does a body good.
Sean Kaminski started tap dancing at the age of 9, under the tutelage of Donna Johnson. He received much of his training, both from Johnson and Ashley DeForest Goletz, at DeForest Dance Academy in Elmhurst, Illinois. A scholarship recipient for the Chicago Human Rhythm Project from 2005-10, Sean enriched his tap education by learning from such masters as Jay Fagan, Martin “Tre” Dumas, Jason Samuels Smith, and Derick Grant, among others. At 16, Sean began teaching and choreographing for DeForest Dance Academy’s award-winning competitive team, Steppin’ Out Dance Company. From there, he decided that he wanted to spend the rest of his life creating and teaching others about tap dance.
In 2011, Sean relocated to Iowa City, Iowa, to pursue his BBA degree in Finance from the University of Iowa. And being a full-time business student didn’t stop him from being a full-time ambassador for the dance — he taught classes at, and eventually became the Tap Director of, Iowa’s biggest dance studio, Nolte Academy. He still holds that position today, in addition to being the Co-Director of Affect Dance Company. Weekly, Sean educates hundreds of students ages 6-65 on the history and intricacies of tap.
Most recently, Sean performed at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and was a member of the Tap Program under the direction of Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards and Michelle Dorrance. He has performed and taught all over the country, from the Red Banks Theater in New Jersey, to the Pritzker Pavilion in Chicago, to the Little Rock Tap Festival in Arkansas. In 2016 and 2017, Sean was a finalist for an Industry Dance Award in Los Angeles.
Sean is excited to be a part of Chicago Human Rhythm Project, as it played such a crucial role in his development as a tap dancer and person. He hopes to carry on the tradition of all the greats before him, imparting their lessons onto the next generation of tap dancers.
Stacy Letrice is a dance performer, choreographer, instructor, and dance/movement therapist with over 20-years of local and global experience. In 2017, she was crowned Minnesota’s official Dancehall Queen after competing among other contestants from NYC, Europe, and the Midwest. Her passion for Reggae, Dancehall, Afro-beat and traditional West African cultures has opened doors for her to perform with artists such as Les Twins, Lady Patra, Tarrus Riley, Elephant Man, Serani, Mr. Vegas, Wayne Wonder, Tiwa Savage, Banky W, Praiz, Chaka Demus & Pliers and more. In 2015, she created her own dance brand, “Jukeboxx,” dedicated to helping others pursue happiness through African and Caribbean dance forms. Her international travels include: South Africa, Barbados, Jamaica, Canada, London, Paris, Australia, Taiwan, and Brazil. Stacy Letrice teaches weekly adult classes in Chicago and is ecstatic to share her gifts around the world. When asked why she dances, Stacy always replies, “I know there is a God because I feel him when I dance”.
As his name suggests, Chicago native Artis J. Olds (Artis The Artist) is, in fact, an artist; a body percussionist to be exact. While earning his Bachelor of Arts from Central State University, Artis served as the marching band’s Head Drum Major where lead The Invincible Marching Marauders to the Honda Battle of the Bands in 2006 and 2007, appearing on the cover of the long running event’s only documentary DVD, “Stompin’ at the Dome.” Artis has worked with comedian- Dave Chappelle and performed with Grammy Award-winning artists- Alessia Cara, Kanye West, John Legend and The Roots.
As a member of the Delta Xi Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, Artis honed his skills as a stepper winning first prize in more than 50 step shows. His most noteworthy titles include back to back National Step Show crowns awarded by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated in 2008 and 2009, BET’s Spring Bling (2009) and back to back titles won in America’s largest step competition, The Sprite Step Off in 2010 (MTV) and 2011.
In 2012 Artis joined the cast of the world’s first professional dance company dedicated to stepping, Step Afrika!. Hailed as “Always visually and musically exciting” by The Washington Post, Step Afrika! gave Artis his first opportunity to be a full time artist. Since then, he has taught and performed in over 25 countries, choreographed and directed work for The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, been invited to perform at The Obama White House, and is the featured artist in an interactive virtual stepping exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture (Washington, DC). Artis is currently on tour with the international percussion sensation, STOMP. Connect with Artis at www.ArtisTheArtist.com
Charles Renato was born and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He began tap dancing at the age of 6 years old at CBS located in Sao Jose dos Campos. At 14 he began teaching tap dance which lead him to win awards all over Brazil. He has won awards for Best Dancer at the Joinville Dance Festival and the TV Globo challenge show (2009 & 2010).
In 2008 Charles joined the cast of “Sinatra Blue Eyes” the musical in Lisbon, Portugal. Renato was also a member of the “KS Tap Company” which is responsible for bringing together highly sought after teachers from all over Brazil to perform. Charles spends his free time giving workshops and choreographing for many tap companies throughout Brazil and America. He was invited to teach at the LA Tap Fest, DC Tap Fest, Tap City in NY, Chicago Human Rhythm Project, North Carolina Tap Festival, Portland Tap Festival and many others.
Charles Renato was invited to produce and create a section in one of the most prestigious event in Brazil called Carnaval. Since then he has been nominated for best choreographer of Desterro festival and Festidança in Brazil that has lead up to him teaching in America. Most recently he moved to NYC and has been working with Apt 33 directed by Chloe Arnold and performed with Michelle Dorrance and Dorrance Dance.
Renato has also recently been directing the Metropolitan Youth Tap Ensemble (MYTE), and teaching at Metropolitan School of Arts in Virginia. He also directed Apt 33’s new video “I’m not afraid” choreographed by Chloe Arnold. Since he moved to NYC he has been teaching at Broadway Dance Center and Steps On Broadway. At the moment Charles is Artist Resident at American Tap Dance Foundation and he is creating his first project to be premiere in NY this summer.
Check more info on www.charlesrenato.com
Nico has been Professionally Entertaining and Educating around much of Illinois and throughout the United States for over a decade. His international buzz has expanded his talents to the likes of Europe (Switzerland/Sweden/Italy/Spain) , Asia (China/Hong Kong/Taiwan/Japan), Central America (Costa Rica/Honduras/Guatemala) and South America (Brazil). He was also a recent recipient of the Chicago Dancemakers Forum’s RDDI and on Windy City Live. In an additional effort to build community and craft his own contribution, Nico has officially started his own Tap Company, 333 (Three Thirty Three). He is also an original member of Chicago based Tap Company Jus’LisTeN, as well as a New Orleans based Tap & Brass Band entitled, Tap That Brass.
Sarah Savelli started tap dancing at her mother’s dance studio in Northeast Ohio at the age of four, and has loved it ever since. She began instructing locally at the age of twelve, and has been teaching, performing, choreographing, and producing Tap events for the past 20 years. Sarah was a founding and choreographing member of Rhythm ISS… an influential Chicago-based, all-female tap company in the 90’s, and on the faculty of numerous studios, tap festivals and competition/conventions in New York City, Chicago, Michigan, and Cleveland; including Steps on Broadway (NYC), Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Center and Lou Conte’s (Chicago), the Chicago Human Rhythm Project, Third Coast Rhythm Project, West Coast Dance Explosion, Totally Tap, and Tapperfest Toronto. Best known for her swift and intricate footwork, Sarah was commissioned on three separate occasions by Playhouse Square (Cleveland, OH) to create and perform in a full-length tap work (Tap into Peace), was the first Capezio ACE Award for Tap choreography finalist in 2010, and appears in the PBS documentary Juba! The Masters of Tap and Percussive Dance. Sarah has studied and performed with many of tap dancing’s historical greats, and most recently has had the pleasure of dancing with Savion Glover in various shows across the USA including “Stepz” at NYC’s Joyce Theater in 2013. She is also the artistic director of the Cleveland Tap Crew, a youth tap company with 50+ members that she established in 2012. Follow her on Instagram at saravellithegreat!
Caleb Teicher began his dance career as a founding member of Michelle Dorrance’s celebrated company, DorranceDance, in 2011. He was awarded a 2011 Bessie Award for Outstanding Individual Performance for Michelle Dorrance and Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards’ A Shared Evening at Danspace Project. Other performance credits include The Bang Group, The Chase Brock Experience, Syncopated City Dance Company, Sally Silvers & Dancers, iLuminate, West Side Story (Int’l Tour and London), and Irma La Douce (City Center Encores).
As the artistic director of Caleb Teicher & Company, Caleb has presented his new dance works through The Joyce Theater, Works & Process at Guggenheim Bilbao, The Yard on Martha’s Vineyard, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival Inside/Out Series, Queens College, LaMaMa E.T.C., Jersey Tap Festival, The 92nd Street Y, Gibney Dance, Paris Jazz Roots Dance Festival, and many others.
Teicher was named one of Dance Magazine’s 2012 “25 to Watch” and, recently, the winner of Dance Magazine’s “Best Emerging Choreographer” in the 2016 Readers’ Choice Awards. He has been featured in Vogue, Interview Magazine, Dance Magazine, and Dance Spirit Magazine.
Caleb has been a faculty member at Steps on Broadway and Broadway Dance Center in NYC and continues to teach guest workshops at various schools and festivals throughout the US and abroad. He is a proud alum of the National YoungArts Foundation and The School at Jacob’s Pillow. www.CalebTeicher.net / @CalebTeicher
Hoofer, Choreographer, Filmmaker and Performer who hails from Washington, D.C., began his tap dancing career at the age of four. Cartier learned his first tap steps from his grandmother Audrey Williams. At the age of six, Cartier performed a piece choreographed by Mýa Cartier and won Apollo Kids at The prestigious Apollo Theater, distinguished as one of The Apollo Theater’s youngest “Apollo Legends”. Later that year, Cartier was invited to the Kennedy Center Honors alongside Robert Downey Jr.
Mr. Williams studied at The Washington School of Ballet under the tutelage of Mary Day. When he was 10 years old, Cartier Co-Starred with Tap Legends Buster Brown, Jimmy Slyde and Dianne Walker in the International tour of FOOTNOTES. Cartier consider it a blessing to have danced and shared the stage with tap pioneers and masters Peg Leg Bates, The Nicholas Brothers, and Gregory Hines. He has performed for 2 U.S. Presidents, and in 1998 Co-Starred in the PBS Special: In Performance at The White House with President Clinton. He toured the U.S. and Japan in the Tony Award Winning BRING IN ‘da NOISE, BRING IN ‘da FUNK, Co-starring with Savion Glover.
He has performed at The Joyce Theatre, New York City Center as well as the L.A Kodak Theatre where he performed The AFI Awards: A Tribute to Tom Hanks. Other appearances include a performance at Usher’s birthday bash in New York City performances for the FCC, The CIA, The State Department and Department of Justice. Cartier choreographed and directed CARTIER WILLIAMS RYTHM REFIX in May 2011 at Joe’s Pub. Cartier Williams performed with Super-DJ Chew FU at The Palms Hotel/Resort in Las Vegas. Other credits include: National Tap Dance Day at MACYS, Chicago Sinfonetta Orchestra, Phildephia Pops, and New York City Pops Orchestra. In the fall of 2014 Cartier formed his new dance company The Cartier Williams Dance Theatre. Their credits include: New York Botancial Gardens, Childrens Museum of Manhattan, George Faison’s Firehouse Theatre, Lebain New York, and featured in Black Coffee’s music video Come With Me sponsored by Smirnorff.
Cartier also perfomed at The Opening of the Cannes Film Festivel for Moulin Rouge. He is also a former student of The New York Film Academy. As a Filmmaker, Cartier has written, directed and produced: Phone Bait, The Violinist, and My Love Awaits. He’s appeared in Spike Lee’s Film Bamboozled and in horror film Tales of Poe released in 2014 directed by Bart Mastronardi & Alan Rowe Kelly now avaiable now on iTunes. Now 27, Cartier is currently in production for his new show ZIGITYBOP! premiering at the Oslo Jazz Festivel and Zurich, Switzerland this summer.