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.
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
Lydia began her dance journey at the age of four, training at Gloria Jackson Dance Studio in Jamaica Queens. Beginning as a tiny tot she took classes in Ballet, Tap, Jazz and African dance. Upon her entrance to High School she joined the Dance Ensemble led by Zakiya Moriera at Campus Magnet High School at age 15. Participation in Pep Rally’s and school shows allowed her passion for performing to develop. She began training at the Edge School of the Arts in the professional performing arts program. Choreographers Kerri Edge, Roger C. Jeffry, and Obadiah Wright encouraged her love for Modern and Contemporary dance. Her training led her to KEYA Dance Company where she was first a student impacted by the program, later serving on the artistic leadership team. “Dance has given me the opportunity to impact communities and families by instilling skills, confidence, values, and a chance to cultivate passion in little people. I am so passionate about the learning environments and experiences we provide our youth, I consider it a blessing and a way to give back what I was given.”
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.
Malik began dancing with the Energy Dance Company in 2003, first as an Energizer and then moving on to Energy in 2008, in which he now assists in directing and choreographing. Malik also joined P.O.O.K in 2003 and has grown to become one of its key members, instrumental in creating some of their original pieces. In addition to national performances, recognition and championships, Malik has traveled internationally, performing and facilitating dance and drum workshops in Germany during their International Youth Music Festivals in 2010 and 2012. Malik studied dance and choreography under the tutelage of his father, Bryant “Drew” Andrews, and sister, Lisa Brown, and has diversified his talent by attending classes at Broadway Dance Center in NYC with Carlos Neto and Urban Dance League Dancers; AntBoogie, Jamie Jackson, Spex and Kelly Peters. Malik is also a Licensed DXF® – Dance Xross Fitness® Coach. He has presented DXF ® at ECA World Fitness conventions in NYC and Florida and has traveled nationally facilitating Dance Xross Fitness® Master Classes and participating in DXF® Coach Licensing events. Malik currently teaches DXF classes at CCE as well as assisting with the programs choreography. Malik is currently studying Recreation at Bryan College. Fun fact, Malik is an avid fan of Anime, his favorite being Naruto.
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.
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.
Pam started dancing in 2001, and was quickly drawn to the creative nature of West Coast Swing. She founded Hudson Valley WCS in 2008 in an effort to provide a venue for local dancers to expand their horizons through regular workshops and classes with Pros from around the country. Although she competes regularly at WCS weekends, she sees herself as “a social dancer who competes, rather than a competitor who social dances”. Pam teaches beginner and advanced basics classes at her Thursday dance and loves to see new dancers gain confidence and skills each week. Jun had an interest in dancing for a long time but never started dancing until a friend had asked him to be her partner in an intermediate ballroom dance class (w/o having taken a single dance class before) in 2004. Since then he has studied many forms of ballroom, especially enjoying East Coast Swing, Argentine Tango, and West Coast Swing. In the Summer of 2007, started seriously focusing on West Coast Swing. Unlike the other styles he learned, he felt West Coast Swing provided the potential for the most creativity within the dance and with the music that was being played. As Pam's "Wingman", Jun helps to keep both the classes and behind the scenes activities running smoothly and has been an invaluable asset to our community.
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.