"The art of expression is the only talent you need" 

ERNEE SEWELL(DRAMA) a Philadelphia native, truly believes “All the world's a stage, and all the men and women are merely players.” She holds a B.A. in Theater from Temple University, and is a proud alumna of Philadelphia’s Freedom Theater and the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts. Believing acting is not only a gift but a privilege, she gives her all to every project she is apart of. She has been seen in productions such as, Zooman and The Sign, VII Deadly Sins, Purlie Victorious, and The Emergency Room.. This is Ms. Ernee’s first year teaching at XPY, and she couldn’t be more impressed. Knowing the power which The Arts have to transform lives, she counts it a privilege to be a part of this journey with the students here at XPY! It has been such a gift watching them create characters which are sure to be with them for a lifetime!

WARREN "BOO" EDWARDS

(CONCESSION MANAGER)

LAURA MONROE  (TAP I/I and TAP III)was born and raised in West Philadelphia, PA. She was introduced to dance at the age of 8 at the Progressive Center for dance, where she took my first dance class. From there she went on to take Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Pointe, Modern and Hip-Hop. Although she trained in various styles of dance, Tap became one of her favorite classes. She grew up dancing at PCD and remained there all the way through her senior year in high school. After a brief hiatus to pursue school she returned to teach Adult Tap, which also lead to  teaching Tap 1-2 as well. She is proud to say that she has been teaching Tap for over 8 years.

Aside from teaching dance,  she has obtain her Bachelor's degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences from Penn State University and obtained my Master's degree in Elementary Education from Drexel University. She is currently working as a substitute teacher for the Universal and Mastery Charter Schools in the Philadelphia, Springfield,  and Chester Counties. She is also and employed as an administrator at the Glen Mills School.  She is a current member of the Big Brother/ Big Sister program in Philadelphia where she has been a Big Sister for the last 4 years. The passion she has for the Arts and Education is endless and she is excited to be sharing it with the new group of students this year at X-Press Yourself.
DEVON BRISBON (JAZZ I/II) A native of Camden, New Jersey, Devon M. Brisbon began her dance training at the early age of 3. Devon has trained at DeMarco Dance Center (Merchantville, NJ), Dance Sensations of NJ, Inc. (Pennsauken, NJ), and The Pointe! Dance Studio (Philadelphia, PA) working with teachers and choreographers such as Dara Meredith, LaCeda Nelson, Shawn-Lamere Williams, Wayne St. David, Eric Bean, Teneise Mitchell, Kareem Goodwin, Tommie Waheed-Evans and Lamar Baylor. She is a 4-time New Jersey NAACP ACT-SO competition medalist in Dance giving her the opportunity to travel the national competitions in both Detroit, Michigan and New York City while also getting the chance to attend the Alvin Ailey Summer Dance Intensive, working with artists and instructors such as Christian Von Howard and the late Denise Jefferson. She also has had performance experience with Dance Sensations Competition Team, Straight to the Pointe! Company IV and Eleone Connection, the 2nd company to Eleone Dance Theatre, where she was a principal dancer as well as captain for her last two years with them.  After graduating from Creative Arts High School in 2009, Devon took her talents to Michigan where she furthered her education and techniques at Alma College. During that time with the Alma College Dance Company, she performed Ballet de corps in Les Sylphides, 2nd soloist in Paquita, the Sapphire Jewel in Sleeping Beauty, and Mirltons and Snow Corps in The Nutcracker while also choreographing and performing modern and jazz works. Devon participated in the Alma College exchange program with the Tainan University of Technology (Taiwan) where she traveled to Taiwan all of May 2012 to perform and work with the students and professors there. In April of 2013,  Devon graduated from Alma College with a Bachelors of Arts in Dance & Theater with Honors, and is in her 3rd season as a member of Grace Dance Theater in Philadelphia, PA.

JASMINE BROWN(DANCE ENSEMBLE ASSISTANT, CHILDREN'S DANCE A, LOWER SCHOOL HIP HOP, MIDDLE SCHOOL HIP HOP, UPPER SCHOOL HIP HOP)took her first dance class at Progressive Center for Dance (now Carol's Cubbage School of Dance) at the age of 5. Unfortunately she only stayed for one year but her love for dance never subsided. She later returned to PCD at the age of 11 where she stayed and trained in ballet, tap, hip hop, and her two favorite styles modern and jazz until graduating from high school. While attending Philadelphia High School for Girls she was captain of the dance team and co captain of the step squad. She was also a part of Penn State University's dance team. Jasmine currently dances as a member and is an assistant choreographer for the Greater Exodus Baptist Church's praise dance ministry, Ministry in Motion. It is here where she has developed her love of teaching, choreography, and most of all her love for children.

JEANINE FENNAL(ACTING FOR DANCERS) is a Philadelphia native who began her dance training at Progressive Center for Dance (PCD). Jeanine fell in love with the art of dance at a young age.  She branched out and received training at Philadanco’s Children’s Program and became a camper at Young Performers Theater Camp.  A couple years later, Jeanine furthered her dance education at The High School for the Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA). During her years at CAPA, she was introduced to acting, became a member of Grace Dance Theater, and fell in love with little people (children ages 3-5). At 17 years old, she taught her first dance class, which happened to be acrobatics. After graduating from CAPA, Jeanine went on to further her education at Temple University where she graduated with a Bachelors in Education. Although she majored in Early Childhood/Elementary Education, Jeanine went on to teach high school English for three years. After solely taking care of her daughters for a couple years, Jeanine decided to get back into the arts again. She had the chance to perform in her first stage play as the leading lady in “My Husband Didn’t Teach Me French” and had the chance to be in a film. Currently Jeanine is dancing again with Grace Dance Theater, teaches dance, and teaches Pre-K while raising her two daughters Angel and Aaliyah. 

​RASHAN JACKSON (DANCE ENSEMBLE DIRECTOR/ SR. ELITE COTEMPORARY, BALLET I/II) 
Mr. Jackson is a native of Philadelphia, PA. His performance credits span both the country and the globe. Working with companies like Lula Washington Dance Theatre to Dallas Black Dance Theatre. He has performed from Bermuda to Tokyo and all points in between.​​​ He has been trained under institutions such as The High School for Creative and Performing Arts, University of the Arts, Philadelphia Dance Arts (Philadanco) and Alvin Ailey (1997 Fellowship Award Recipient). Mr. Jackson has had the pleasure of choreographing for The Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts, University of the Arts, Tango MacBeth, Dallas Black Dance Theatre II, Dallas Black Dance Academy, Dance Institute of Washington, Eleone Dance Theatre, Philadelphia Fringe Festival, Philadanco II, Philadelphia High School Dance Festival and  most recently Grace Dance Theater II.  Mr. Rashan also serves as the Assistant Director of  CAPA High School’s Dance Department. 

JULIANNA TAYLOR(LOWER SCHOOL DIRECTOR, INTRO/ LEVEL III BALLET, INTRO/ LEVEL III JAZZ, JR. ELITE CONTEMPORARY, PROGRESSIVE BALLET TECHNIQUE) is Philadelphia native and started her dance career at the tender age of 4, where she attended ballet at her local YMCA. At the age of 9, she was enrolled at the Progressive Center for Dance (PCD) for the 1995-1996 dance season, under the direction of the late Carol Cubbage-Davis. Julianna soon shared a bond with Mrs. Carol; it was through her that Julianna discovered he love for the arts and an appreciation for placement, persistence, and dedication. While enrolled at PCD she studied Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Pointe, Hip-Hop, and Modern where she blossomed as a dancer joining the Training Company of Grace at the age of 16 and then graduated to Grace Dance Theater (formally known as Company Grace) at the age of 18. In 2008, Julianna was offered a position to teach at PCD where she developed skills as a leader and instructor, and also mentored aspiring dancers. Julianna has also taught at J-rock, (a performing arts summer camp), Simons Recreation Center, SCH CAPA (a non-profit performing arts after school program), Feltonville Dream Center and X-Press Yourself.  Julianna has also danced with MIM at the Exodus Baptist Church under the direction on Fayette Coppock, and currently leads Praise Break at the Church of Christian Compassion. Amidst all of her dancing Julianna currently holds a BA in Psychology with a specialization in childhood development.

 

TEACHING STAFF

TAHIRA ZUMAR (VOCAL)  Tahira was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA, Graduate of Simon Gratz High School, and two technical institutions specializing in Nursing and Medical Assistance. Tahira’s adoration for the Creative and Performing Arts started when she was  4 years old. As a child, Tahira attended Philadanco, Freedom Theater and Oasis Performing Arts Camp; all thanks to her Mother (Karen Mcdaniels) who recognized the personality and gifts Tahira possessed but just needed nurturing.  The training Tahira received ultimately prepared her for the journey that was awaiting her with The Joy Unlimited Youth Mass Choir, where she not only found her voice, but learned the importance of direction and discipline. Since being a part of JUMC, Tahira has studio recorded two albums, studied Music Appreciation at Lincoln University and sang background for Gospel Artists, Vashawn Mitchell, Jonathan Nelson, Deon Kipping, just to name a few. Tahira’s favorite singers quote, “To be a Singer, Who truly Inspires, We must throw our Ego out the door and Show up to serve, that’s when we truly change the World”.  Tahira believes every gift we possess comes from God and its sole purpose is to share with someone else, because in actuality, sharing your gift is Sharing God.  Be Dope. Be Creative. Be you. 

DANIELLE DAVIS

(EVENT/ FUNDRAISING COORDINATOR)

ALEXANDRIA JONES

(PROGRAM SUPPORT/ CONCESSION)

KRISTEN Vlacancich (ACROBATICS) originally from Long Island, New York, received her early training at Michelle Ferraro’s Dance USA in jazz, tap, hip-hop, acrobatics and ballet. Kristen danced competitively across the country for 10 years. Kristen attended the University of Maryland, on scholarship, and graduated with a BA in Dance. While at UMD, she danced in Maryland Dance Ensemble, New Dances and attended American College Dance Festival Association numerous times. Kristen went on to receive her MA in Dance/Movement Therapy from Pratt Institute. Since graduating, Kristen has worked with children ages 2-18, ranging in functioning levels, in dance and dance/movement therapy. Kristen currently works as a Team Leader at The Center for Autism where she uses movement as a means to communicate and engage with young children on the autism spectrum. Kristen aspires to attain her LPC and continue teaching dance to Philadelphia’s youth!

YOLANDA "YOGI" HINES

(ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT)

TYKEDIA "KEDIA" HARRIS

(OFFICE SUPPORT)

DEMETRIUS TABRON(JR. ELITE JAZZ, SR. ELITE JAZZ) from Washington, DC. Mr. Tabron is currently a 2016 recipient of The New York Dance and Performance Awards/ The BESSIES. His achievement was given for his performance in Donald McKayle’s rendition of “Rainbow ‘Round My Shoulder” at The Lincoln Center. He was classically trained at Dance Theatre of Harlem and at its residency in Washington, DC under instruction is Arthur Mitchell, Laveen Naidu and Tyrone Brooks. He continued training at Ellington School of the Arts under the tutelage of Sandra Fortune-Green and Katherine Smith. Mr. Tabron earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance Performance/Dance Education from University North Carolina School of the Arts. He danced with Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Eisenhower Dance Ensemble, SD/Prism Dance Theatre, and Deeply Rooted Dance Theater. His musical theater credits include Seattle Opera’s “Don Quixote” and “Orpheus and Eurydice", Michigan Lyric Opera’s “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” and Broadway Bound Children’s Theatre’s “God Lives In Glass". Choreographically, Mr. Tabron has had his works debuted at Merce Cunningham Studios, DCDC2, SD/Prism Dance Theatre, Oakland University’s “Emerging Choreographers Showcase”, Eisenhower Dance Center, ENCORE! Competitive Dance Productions and In Motion School of Dance (Bermuda). He teaches at prominent dance institutions and have had the pleasure to teach many master classes nationally and internationally.

KAREEM MARSH (SR. ELITE BALLET TECH) Kareem Marsh is a professional dancer, instructor and choreographer. He began his formal dance training at age 14 at Pointe Flex dance studio where he took modern, ballet, tap, African, praise, and jazz, he has also spent his summers at a dance camp called Youth Performers Theatre Camp (YPTC). During the summer of 2008 Kareem attended a dance intensive at Philadanco, where they gave him a scholarship to dance all year round. He soon joined their second company (D2) and studied intensively under Mr. Donald Lunsford. He competed in the Omega Psi Phi Talent Hunt competition for 4 consecutive years, and won first place in the dance department each year. Companies Kareem has danced in include Grace Dance Theater, Eleone Dance Theater, Waheed Works, Reveal Movement and many other independent projects. Kareem’s choreographic works include co-choreographing a Production of “Bye Bye Birdie” at Northeast High school, which was recognized and acknowledged by the Mayor in the Northeast Times. Kareem has also performed on the Noordam which is one of Holland Americas largest cruise ships where he traveled the South Pacific. He currently is a company member of Eleone Dance Theater and has been apart of Reveal Movement for 4 years.

ASHLEY HACKNEY(ELITE ACROBATICS)is a 2014 Lincoln University graduate, with a Bachelor of Arts in English Liberal Arts. She began her dance training at The Philadelphia School of Dance Arts, under the direction of Joan Myers Brown, studying Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Modern, and Acrobatics.  She continued her studies at The Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA), under the direction of Ms. LaDeva M. Davis, where she graduated in 2010. While at CAPA, Ashley was an active member of CAPAs Dance Company, under the direction of Ms. LaDeva M. Davis. She’s danced in Philadelphia's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Washington DC's Cherry Blossom Parade, and was awarded "Senior Modern Dancer of the Year" and "Choreographer of the Year." Ashley has studied under notable dance educators such as, Mr. Shawn-LaMere Williams, Ms. Karen Pendergrass, Ms. Deborah Manning St. Charles, and Mr. Donald Lunsford to name a few.
Ashley then went onto The Lincoln University where she founded her own dance organization, Explosions Dance Ensemble, whose main purpose is not to only train dancers, but to also educate The Lincoln University community about the performing arts. Ashley is currently a Kindergarten teacher and now attending The Lincoln University pursing a Dual Masters Degree in Elementary Education and Special Education. She is Rehearsal Director of L’levate Dance Company, under the direction of Ms. Chantel Price and a member of The Delaware Contemporary Dance Theater, under the direction of Chauntee D. Andrews.