Founder and director of CCE’s award-winning hip hop dance troupe, Energy, Drew has over 20 years of experience working with youth. He has trained in the streets of New York City as well as with professional choreographers in the business. Drew has been teaching choreography and performing various styles of dance in the Tri-state and Hudson Valley area for many years. He has also recently taught and studied in Cuba. He has a focus on Hip-Hop fusion and is known for his high-energy dance style and his rich hard-hitting choreography. His passion for dance and for the welfare of children and young adults is evident in the way he encourages discipline and motivation for a healthy lifestyle. Having fun living and pursuing your passion in life is a major focus of Drew’s. Drew serves as a mentor to youth, parents and other community members. Contact Drew at email@example.com
Evry Mann is a percussionist, composer and writer based in New York. He has played with Atras del Cosmos, Tiny Desk Unit, Gasha Band, Bantu, Chakra City, the Harmonic Choir and OmU in a professional career that began in 1975. He was an artist in residence with the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes in Mexico from 1975-1980, performing throughout the country. Ev is the founder and director of POOK, the Percussion Orchestra of Kingston, a youth performance ensemble that has given hundreds of concerts since its inception in 1997. In addition to his work as a musician, Ev has extensive experience in both education and social services. He directed a nationally recognized program for homeless students for the Seattle Public Schools from 1989-1992 before leaving to found the Center for Creative Education. He has been artist in residence at countless schools and has written two curriculum guides for use in K-12 classrooms. Ev holds masters degrees in religious studies from McGill University and in music composition from Mills College. He has also studied traditional African music in Mali and Senegal and worked extensively with the Ballet Folklorico Cutumba of Santiago de Cuba. From 1999-2006, Ev led over fifty trips to Cuba to study music, dance, visual art and education and wrote the sections on Music and Nightlife in Havana and Santiago de Cuba for the Time Out Guide. Contact Ev at firstname.lastname@example.org
Meridith Robb, started by way of the persistent urging of her daughter, Gabriela. Through an after school program taught by Drew at the Edson Elementary school, Gabriela became hooked on dance, 13 years later, they are both still involved and dedicated to CCE. Meridith brings 26 years of Business Management and Human Resource skills to the board. She teaches CCE’s Soul Line Dancing and Adult Hip Hop classes, is a member of P.O.O.K., a DXF Coach and a member of the Booster Club where she has been involved in planning and facilitating social, fundraising and performance events. Meridith also provides photography and videography for CCE.
Donna Mikkelsen is an ambidextrous artist living in Beacon, NY. She has been an arts educator for over 20 years. After founding and directing The Garden Road School, an arts integrated independent school in Westchester, Donna served as Educator Director for the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art in Peekskill, NY where she developed artist residencies in partnership with local public schools and created community art making events like “Live Art Fest”. She has served as consultant to several Hudson Valley non-profit educational organizations.
Lisa Brown has been dancing since the early age of 5, when her father forced her to participate in an art showcase he coordinated for their community in Staten Island, NY where she was born. Despite the impromptu nature of this request, Lisa immediately connected with her natural given skill to dance and stole the show. At that point Lisa recognized her love for dance and realized early on that it was what she was destined to do. Lisa joined her father in an endeavor to start “Unique Fitness”, a dance studio launched in 2002 geared to attract young performers of Kingston, NY, the community in which she was raised. Lisa taught dancers ranging from elementary age to High School. In 2003 Lisa and her father created a dance troupe called Energy Dance Company where Lisa was a primary dancer and key instructor. In 2006 Unique Fitness merged with the Center for Creative Education, a non-profit community organization based in Kingston, NY. She maintained her position as a dance instructor and Troupe Leader along with coordinating numerous children’s programs and performance events. Lisa’s dance training stems from Broadway Dance Studio of New York, NY to Debbie Allen’s Dance Academy of Culver City, California. Lisa is known for her always new and fresh choreography and is loved and respected by all of her students as well as their parents. For nearly 20 years Lisa has impressed others with her dynamic dance skills combined with her passionate work with children of all ages. She is an avid believer in good mental and physical health and is determined to continue serving as a positive role model for youth. Contact Lisa at email@example.com
Heather Crowley is a Phys. Ed. teacher at Devereux Foundation in Red Hook, NY. Sue Fick is a Health Kinesiologist and energy healer at Sue Fick Healing Practice in Lake Katrine. Heather and Sue fell in love with the DXF program as students and went through training to become Licensed DXF® Coaches. They currently co-coach a beginners level Dance Xross Fitness at CCE. Dance Xross Fitness® is a fun, uplifting, cardio-interval fitness program that incorporates 4 disciplines: Dance, Kickboxing, Strength Training, and Soul Line Dancing; combining new and old school music and movement to engage all ages and ability levels in one 60 minute session.
Heather Davies has been hooping since 2008. At that time, she was living in Ohio and going to festivals every weekend, where she began cultivating her flow and dreaming big dreams.In 2011, her wonderful daughter Evangeline was born, which blossomed into an internal journey towards purpose and consciousness. Her hooping now carries the rhythmic signature of Gaia's most sacred of expressions - those of birth and rebirth.Her flow took Heather back to NY to reconnect with her roots and family. In 2014 Small Tribe Hoops was born, with the mission of providing a space for other individuals to discover hoop dance and the flow within themselves.Heather is passionate about the opportunity to share the flow arts with as many people as possible in an atmosphere of growth and encouragement. She has developed a space free of judgment and competition, for hoopers to share the love and embrace progression.
Jim Fitzmorris is a percussionist and vocalist who has performed in Vermont, New Jersey, and New York City with Afro-Brazilian ensembles and baterias such as Maracatu New York, Sambatucada, Naquele Tempo, and M’Zumé Carnaval. He studied intensively in 2007 and 2008 with percussion masters Jorge Alabe, Scott Kettner, Jorge Martins, and Carlinhos Pandeiro de Ouro at California Brazil Camp. Also in 2007 and 2008, Jim provided drum work for the Indian Students’ Association’s annual Diwali celebration at the University of Vermont.
Grammy award winning percussionist and producer, Jeff Haynes has toured with everyone from the Pat Metheny Group, Al Jarreau and Lizz Wright to Harry Belafonte and Peabo Bryson and his chops can be heard on nearly 200 CDs. His creative direction as a producer on his recent release of PETE SEEGER THE STORM KING, Pete Seeger spoken word set to multi-genre music from over 50 musicians, has been recognized with acclaim from Publishers Weekly, Amazon, AudioFile Magazine and Library Journal. Also with the highest honor of being nominated for a GRAMMY® Award and won the 2014 Audiobook Publishers Association's Audie Award for Distinguished Achievement in Production. Jeff will be working in collaboration with Gwen Laster and the Creative Strings Improvisers Orchestra on Saturdays.
GWEN LASTER is a native Detroiter whose creative influences come from the Motor City's burnin’ urban and classical music culture. After earning a Bachelor and Master degree from U of Michigan School of Music, Gwen moved to NYC by the skin of her teeth. She’s since played with nationally, internationally musicians like Anthony Braxton, Nona Hendryx, James Jabbo Ware, Aretha Franklin, Alicia Keyes and Natalie Cole. Gwen's high school teacher encouraged her to pursue her voice and original projects that won her major performance, composition and teaching grants from the NEA, ASCAP, Lila Wallace, and a first place, $10,000 award from the Cognac Hennessey Jazz. A champion of intuitive education, Gwen is the visionary founder of the Creative Improvisers Orchestra (CIO) the first non-traditional music education program at Interlochen Summer Institute, the Sphinx Performance and Preparatory Academy, and the Eastman School of Music. CIO expands ways to reach and teach young musicians with the greatest needs and the fewest resources. Right now, Gwen is working with the Sphinx Symphony Orchestra, Go: Organic Orchestra, as she leads New Muse 4tet. She’s a teaching artist with the Orchestra of St. Lukes, an El Sistema-inspired program in Hell's Kitchen NYC. She continues CIO workshops in schools, camps and colleges. Gwen's music and books are available at CD Baby, iTunes and other digital media sources. Her discography as a leader includes Sneak Preview and I Hear You Smiling, which was chosen for airplay in the Adult Contemporary market. Her next recording, Gameboard, will be ready for release in 2016. CONTACT EMAIL. firstname.lastname@example.org CONTACT PHONE NUMBER for Pre-registration/RSVP/ questions : 718-930-3522 www.gwenlaster.com Follow on Facebook: Creative Improvisers Orchestra.
Eda Zavala Lopez, a female curandera and activist was honored by the Peruvian Ministry of the Environment with the National Environmental 2014 Award. It was presented in recognition of her efforts to Protecting Indigenous Sacred Territories. As a spiritual leader in her village, she is deeply committed to Indigenous Peruvian People in defending their sacred territories and protecting their lands. She encourages them to empower themselves through Education, a Cross Cultural Bilingual Education that brings Hope to future generations. She inspires to Indigenous leaders, bilingual teachers and children to stand strong and learn to negotiate their dire circumstances by facing up to the intrusive and disrespectful modern world. Eda actively supports her people living deep into the forest. She is also very committed to Plant Medicine, medicinal plants strength her spirit and envisioning her path as a Shaman and leader. The profound knowledge she receives from her training every year brings her into the wisdom of nature and contemplation, observing and learning from the dynamism of plants, trees, birds, rivers, mountains, water, earth and fire. Through the interaction among human beings and a diversity of creatures supporting each other, Eda experiences and understands a real equilibrium that brings peace, serenity and deep love. Her practice teaches others a profound way to keep calm in mind and warm in heart by listening to the sounds of nature and through the embodiment of the medicinal plants that have a close relationship with wisdom. She understands very well that preserving the Peruvian rainforest is also for the benefit of the entire world and that expanding global efforts is very important in supporting this unique biodiversity. The plants, animals and people are ONE together and we need to work cooperatively to avoid the daily destruction of the rainforest. Together we can prevent it.