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.
YOLANDA "YOGI" HINES
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.
(EVENT/ FUNDRAISING COORDINATOR)
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
(PROGRAM SUPPORT/ CONCESSION)
DEMETRIUS TABRON(JR. ELITE JAZZ TECH, SR. ELITE JAZZ TECH) 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.
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.