Master Class Guest Artists 2022-2023
Amazonas, naturally a traditionalist, breaks the mold by holding atypical roles within the African Diaspora as a community servant focusing on self love as well as self discipline to keep at risk youth and adults anchored in their culture. As the Curriculum Developer and Artistic Director for the Afro Brazilian Arts & Education Academy, Amazonas blends experiences within the arts as a freelance performer in several West African dance and drum companies on the east coast.
Katricia Eaglin is the Director of Dallas Black Dance Academy, the official school of the Dallas Black Dance Theatre. She is a naïve of Dallas TX, graduating for the Booker T. Washington High School for the Preforming and Visual Arts Magnet. Katricia received her BFA in Dance with a minor in Business from the University of North Texas. She has also earned a master’s degree in Biblical Studies from Dallas Theological School. As Academy Director, Katricia manages a staff of 17 instructors, 25 parent volunteers and 300 students ages ranging from 2 years to adult. She manages the Academy Registrar and the Neiman Marcus Outreach instructor and produces outdoor performances for the annual Dance Africa Festival (2017, 2018,2019). Mrs. Eaglin manages instructions for DISD outreach master classes in which 30-40 classes are taught and over 800 students are served throughout the community. She oversees three academy ensembles and serves as booking contact for performances around the city. Mrs. Eaglin has produced Dallas Black Dance Academy’s first Nutcracker (Espresso Nutcracker 2018 Latino Cultural Center- sold out, 2019 Majestic Theater Downtown Dallas- sold out). Katricia has assisted in creating virtual STEAM content for the academy’s outreach program. As Academy Director, students that Katricia has mentored/ trained has entered training in the Academy, went to succeed in the Booker T. Washington High School dance program and unto universities, mainly Spellman, Howard University, Harvard University, LSU, and most notable Julliard where her presidential scholar student has graduated and is now performing professionally in Germany.
Katricia’s professional career began as a dancer with Dallas Black Dance Theatre in 2005. She performed and toured with the company in 2 of its most notable productions of “The Wiz” and “Porgy and Bess”. As a principle member of DBDT, Katricia performed choreography by Donald McKayle, Ulysses Dove, Alvin Ailey, Elisa Monte, Christopher Huggins, Daryl Sneed and many others. Katricia is also an accomplished choreographer and has set dance choreography on DBDT: Encore, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts Magnet, and Lancaster High School’s dance department. Katricia’ s work, Testament, made its Dallas premiere during DBDT’s Cultural Awareness series in 2016. The work enabled Ms. Eaglin to combine both her passions of faith and dance.
Katricia has been a member of Concord Church since 1993 and has served on the administrative staff twice (2003-2005 and 2015-2017) under Pastor Bryan L. Carter. She has been a licensed minister of Concord Church since 2006 assisting in various assigned capacities and has faithfully directed the GEiMs Youth Praise Dancers since 2007. Katricia passionately shares her love for the art of dance and ministry as she trains the GEIMS in basic modern dance and choreography nurturing them through the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Mrs. Eaglin is a member of International Association of Blacks in Dance, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., serves on the Booker T Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts Advisory Board, and the Future of Excellence Inc Board. She has been honored with numerous awards and certificates from Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, DISD, Lancaster ISD’s dance department and Concord Missionary Baptist Church. Katricia is married to Von Eaglin an LPC-S in private practice. Von and Katricia are the proud parents of Kenlon Asher Eaglin born May 2020.
Photo by Stephanie Diani
Amy Miller is a NYC-based dancer, choreographer, educator, administrator and advocate. Originally from Ohio, her youth as a gymnast evolved into training at The Dance Institute at the University of Akron. She spent a decade at the Ohio Ballet where she performed works by a wide-range of choreographers including José Limon, Lucinda Childs, George Balanchine and Alonzo King. She was a founding member of Cleveland-based GroundWorks DanceTheater where she choreographed numerous works and continues her ongoing connection as artistic advisor. Since 2012, she has been a Director and a performing member of Gibney Company performing works by Gina Gibney, Bryan Arias, Peter Chu and Shannon Gillen. Now in her capacity as Gibney’s new Director of Engagement, she builds on her long dedication to both artistry and social action by facilitating the deepening of reciprocal exchange with educational institutions and building new programming that further acknowledges the fractal nature of transformation both inside and outside the studio in our constantly shifting world.
Interested in revealing ways to foster both artistic excellence and social engagement in all her work, Miller strives to prioritize both components in equal measure. Miller has focused on Gibney’s Community Action initiatives and has worked closely with social workers toward facilitating movement workshops with survivors of gender-based violence, conducted both local and international trainings for artists interested in engaging in social action, and facilitated healthy relationship workshops for young people to raise awareness about the role of the arts in violence prevention. Miller will steward the expansion of the Moving Toward Justice platform at Gibney providing a supportive curriculum for activating arts-based social justice projects aimed at addressing gaps in the field. Miller co-facilitates creative spaces for advocacy alongside Gibney’s ‘Move to Move Beyond Storytellers,’ a group of survivors creating performances for audiences and performers alike to deepen our critical consciousness, witness the power of reclaiming one’s agency, and move toward shared liberation. Actively moving toward co-creating spaces that value antiracism as a foundational tenet, Miller is a facilitation committee member of Gibney’s internal Decentering Whiteness Working Group offering white-identifying staff members opportunities to unlearn oppressive structures, as well as dovetail energies with Gibney’s Multiracial Staff Group directly addressing reducing harm to and support of our BIPOC staff and greater community.
Miller has facilitated teaching residencies at Oberlin College, Brown University, NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Bates Dance Festival, SUNY Purchase and The National Center for Choreography at The University of Akron among many others. Miller is currently a teaching artist for the Bard College Dance Program/Gibney Partnership, a multi-year engagement that represents a wide-ranging vision of what dance can be in a liberal arts curriculum. She has conducted Gibney Company international residencies at Mimar Sinan University and Koc University (Istanbul), University of Cape Town (South Africa), DOCH: School of Dance and Circus (Stockholm), MUDA Africa (Tanzania) and Gisenyi, Rwanda. Miller has thrice been a Dance/USA Mentor through their Institute for Leadership Training. Miller was honored to receive an Arts & Artists in Progress “Pay it Forward” Award from Brooklyn Arts Exchange. Miller holds a BFA in Dance and is a recipient of an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award for her choreography.
Maryjane Nnebedum, from Nigeria, is a professional Dance artist, performer and choreographer. Maryjane has a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre Arts from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. One of Maryjane’s majors was Dance and Choreography. She has had the opportunity to work with top Choreographers and Music artists both locally, and internationally. She has also performed on major stages in Nigeria and had the opportunity to perform in various theatrical and musical shows academically and professionally in Nigeria and London’s West End. Trained in African Traditional, Hip hop, African Contemporary and Latin to mention a few, Maryjane started dancing in 2007 but professionally in 2010. Currently, Maryjane is more focused on sharing experiences and quality of movements she has learned throughout her journey in dance.
Yordanka Cancino Lamar
Yordanka was born in the province of Matanzas, Cuba, and has been studying dance from an early age. Her first professional experience, at age 4, was as a member of Corcel de Esperanza. She performed and played in different cultural festivals and activities. At age 12, Yordanka begin performing in a group led by the renowned choreographer Angel Luis. With this group, Yordanka learned many folkloric Cuban dances including Tumba Francesa, Danzones, Bailes Campesinos, Zapateo, Karinga, as well as popular styles like Mambo, Cha-cha-cha, Mozambique, and Pillon. By 16, Yordanka became a lead ballerina and soloist with the Afro-Cuba De Matanzas Company, an international touring group led by famed choreographer, Francisco Zamora Minini. Yordanka has been a lifelong student and dancer of all Cuban folkloric dance styles including Yambu, Bata Rumba, Vudu, and Yoruba pantheon dances. Today, Yordanka lives in Houston, TX where she teaches dance and performs with her husband in a Cuban Rumba band.
Li-Chou Cheng started his professional training when he was 13 at the Beijing Dance Academy in China. At the age of 19, he joined the Beijing Central Ballet as a dancer and soloist and served as a Ballet Master and Rehearsal Director for the company. Since immigrating to the United States in 1980, Cheng has served as Assistant Professor at the University of Utah and Arizona State University. In 1988, Cheng was named the Principal teacher for both the Boston Ballet Company and School. Recently retired, Cheng was a Professor of Professional Practice in Ballet with the School for Classical & Contemporary Dance at Texas Christian University for 28 years.
Leticia Oliveira Coomer
Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Leticia Oliveira began her comprehensive training at the age of seven at the School of Teatro Municipal of Rio de Janeiro. Beginning he professional career at 16, she danced with Teatro Municipal of Rio de Janeiro as well as The Joffrey Ballet and Houston Ballet, where she was a principal dancer. In 2007, she joined Texas Ballet Theater. She is currently the Principal of Texas Ballet Theater School in Fort Worth.
Choreographer, Cultural Ambassador, Educator, and Performing Artist Michelle N. Gibson received her BFA in Dance from Tulane University and her MFA in Dance from Hollins University/American Dance Festival at Duke University. Michelle is a nine-year faculty member with the American Dance Festival’s school intensive held at Duke University. She has taught and set choreography at various intensives, institutions, and universities such as Middlebury College, Spelman College, and Henderson State University just to name a few. Michelle has also choreographed for several theater companies and live entertainment organizations locally and across the country. Michelle’s choreographic works range from genres of the African Diaspora, Afro and Contemporary Modern, Afro Funk, Jazz, and her own New Orleans Second Line Aesthetic. One of her latest choreographic works, Voices of Congo Square, uses the rich culture and history of the Black Mardi Gras Indians that premiered in 2018 during the 300th Tri-Cenntinal Celebration of New Orleans at the Orpheum Theatre in
New Orleans LA.
Sara Herrera is an artist; choreographer, educator, and performer with over 17 years of experience teaching dance in the Washington, DC metro area, NYC, NJ, summer stock in Maine, and at the Sapperlot Youth Theatre Festival in Brixen, Italy. Currently, Sara is entering her 2nd year as the Education Director and Dance Instructor for Artes de la Rosa’s Artes Academy located in the Historic Northside. She will also make her Fort Worth directorial debut in Arts Fort Worth’s Original Work Series this Spring. Sara holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Modern Dance from the University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA.
Learn more about Sara Herrera
Cassandra began West African technique and dance training over two decades ago in Milwaukee, WI., with KoThi Dance Company, under the direction of Ms. Ferne Bronson and Roxanne Kess. As a company member, she performed in several dance pieces, including the crowd-pleasing “Juba” in DanceAfrica Chicago, and Hottentot Venus, during Ko-Thi’s home season. After leaving Milwaukee and settling in Dallas, Cassandra continued training in dance forms of the African diaspora by studying in California, New York, Florida, and West Africa, to name a few.
Cassandra was a long-standing member of the Bandan Koro Drum and Dance Ensemble, serving as lead dancer, choreographer, community class instructor, and briefly, the associate artistic director for their youth ensemble. As a member of the adult company, she fully choreographed two dance pieces: Sofa, a warrior/ hunting dance, and Balanta, a dance of resistance to the Balanta people of Guinea-Bissau. Both works have been featured in Chuck Davis’ DanceAfrica Dallas. Cassandra founded Bahdae Dance Company in Dallas, Texas, with the sole purpose of getting our youth involved in African dance and history, and standing proud.
Cassandra remains deeply involved in this craft by working with students in elementary school settings, teaching adult dance classes, choreographing for her youth and adult company, and bringing her own unique style into her programs. Cassandra credits her love for African dance to DeAngelo Boston of Ko-Thi Dance Company, for his unwavering role in her dance process. As someone who is truly passionate about this art form, her focus is to educate and engage our communities, especially our youth, with stories untold of our magnificent history and inspire others to keep the traditional customs of the diaspora alive.
Christina Johnson’s 25-year performance career began with Boston Ballet. She then joined Dance Theatre of Harlem where she became a principal dancer over her 13-year tenure with DTH. She was an original member of Complexions Contemporary Ballet and was a featured guest artist with several companies, including the Royal Ballet of London, where she and Ronald Perry were the first African-Americans to perform with the company. Christina also performed in Switzerland with Le Ballet du Grand Theatre de Geneve and Ballett Basel.
In her post-performance career, Christina has been a Rehearsal Director for several important companies, among them, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, Washington Ballet, Armitage Gone! Dance, Trey McIntyre Project, and Complexions Contemporary Ballet. She is sought after as a master teacher and coach and works with schools, universities, and professional dance companies around the world.
Christina Johnson holds a Master of Fine Arts in Dance degree from Hollins University in Roanoke, VA. Recently, she was on faculty at Marin Ballet in San Rafael, CA, and she is currently Adjunct Faculty at Dominican University in the LINES/Dominican BFA in Dance Program.
Gabriel Speiller is a native New Yorker raised in Queens. He graduated with a BFA in dance from Belhaven University where he received the Bezalel Award for outstanding artistic achievement. Gabriel has previously danced with Bruce Wood Dance Company, Paul Taylor 2, and Ad Deum Dance Company, where he toured both nationally and internationally. He has also performed with project-based companies such as NOW Dance Project, Jessica Gaynor Dance, Hivewild, Wanderlust Dance Project, Zion Dance Project, Chadash Contemporary Dance Movement, and Robert Mark Dance. Gabriel has performed works by Bruce Wood®, Joy Bollinger, Yin Yue, Garrett Smith, Bryan Arias, Katarzyna Skarpetowska, Omar Roman De Jesus, Gregory Dolbashian, and many more. Currently, he is pursuing his MFA in choreography and performance at The University of Arizona. Gabriel teaches throughout the United States and has choreographed for Bruce Wood Dance Company, Ad Deum Dance Company, Wanderlust Dance Project, Zion Dance Project, The University of Arizona, Belhaven University, Frank Sinatra School of Performing Arts, Awakening Movement, Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts, and American College Dance Festival.