Tonya Marie Amos
Tonya received a BA in Cultural Anthropology from U.C. Berkeley & trained four years on full scholarship at Alvin Ailey American Dance Center. A member of Actors Equity Association, she has appeared with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater & Donald Byrd, was a member of Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, Footprints & Amy Pivar Dances, performed in the International Tour of “West Side Story”, the National Tour of “Sesame St. Live”, Sacramento Music Circus’ “The King & I”, and has been featured in numerous print ads & TV commercials. She is the owner of Aspire Pilates Center in Concord for which she was awarded Pleasant Hill Chamber of Commerce’s “100 Women of Influence” in 2010, Women’s Initiative's Concord Female Entrepreneur of the Year in 2011, Concord's Small Business of the Year 2013, Community Focus' Reader's Choice Best Pilates Studio in 2015, and Concord's Best Woman-Owned Business of the Year in 2016. The former author of a monthly Health & Wellness column for the Community Focus newspaper, Tonya is currently proofreading her Foot Pain prevention and recovery book. She's proud to help build cross cultural and cross generational bridges with Grown Women Dance Collective.
Karah Abiog is originally from Saratoga, CA she received her bachelor’s degree in dance from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. She has danced and toured extensively with Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, Deeply Rooted Productions, Earl Mosley’s Diversity of Dance, Nathan Trice/RITUALS, and Wylliams Henry Contemporary Dance Company among others. She has performed with recording artists such as Ray Charles, Roberta Flack, Jennifer Holliday and Dionne Warwick. She has been a faculty member and guest performer at the International Seminar of Brasilia. Karah is the Director of the Training Program at LINES Ballet.
Germaul Yusef Barnes
Germaul is a former principal dancer and currently a repetiteur for theBill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, where he received the New York Dance and Performance Award - “The Bessies”. Forming Germaul Barnes/Viewsic Expressions Dance, Mr. Barnes’ presents multilayered dance performances and residencies. GB/VED was recently featured on Time Warren Cable PBS in Mr. Barnes’ program “Black Bones - Celebrating African-American Male Artists”. In addition to creating more than 18 works for his own dance company, He has received commissions from Alvin Ailey/Fordham School, Judson Memorial Church, HarlemStages, Restoration Dance Theater Co., Belarus International Modern Dance Festival, Ghana National Dance Company, among others. He has received honors ranging from the Arts International Grant and the Baryshnikov Residency Fellowship. Mr. Barnes just completed choreographing the world premiere musical Marley, based on the life and music of Bob Marley.
Kevin can currently be seen writing thesis papers at SUNY Empire State College. A former soloist with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Kevin is also an alumni of the Martha Graham Dance Company. He made his Broadway debut as the standby for the sexy Horses in the Broadway revival of Equus. His other theatrical credits include Broadway National Tours of The Lion King, The Color Purple, and Shrek the Musical. He has been seen regionally in the Kennedy Center’s all-new mounting of Ragtime and Paper Mill Playhouse’s revival of A Chorus Line. Also an accomplished singer, Kevin has had leading roles in concert versions of Once On This Island and a recent all African-American production of The Music Man. He lives in Brooklyn with his husband, Cameron, and in the midst of writing his first book.
Renee Monique Brown
Renee was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio and is a graduate of Ohio State University. A former member of Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Renee has worked with such notable choreographers as Dianne McIntyre, Ulyses Dove, Talley Beatty, Donald Mckayle and many others. While with DCDC, Mrs Brown toured the US extensively, as well as Germany, France And Russia. A crossover into Musical Theater, Renee was seen as Shug's understudy in the 1st National Tour of The Color Purple starring Destiny's Child, Michelle Williams. Favorite credits include: Broadway's " All Shook Up", Thoroughly Modern Millie(1st National Tour), Cinderella (Eartha Kitt's understudy), Joseph...Dreamcoat, starring 2nd Gen Osmonds, and Harlem Song, directed by George C. Wolfe.
Vernon is a singer, composer, musician, recording artist and actor who worked closely with Whitney Houston (stars in her music video,”You Give Good Love”) and has worked with jazz legend, Nancy Wilson. With his groups, (“The Vernon Bush Group” and “VSOUL”), he has opened for artists as Gladys Knight, Stanley Jordan, Mickey Hart, Michael Franti & Spearhead, and has toured all over the world. He is a member of the highly imaginative a cappella group, Sovoso, and is a featured vocalist with the Glide Ensemble Choir at the world-renowned Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco (as seen in movie, “The Pursuit of Happyness”). The son of a prominent Baptist minister in New York City, he grew up in a church community and has been singing from the time he could walk. He directed his first choir at the age of 15 and works with several choirs as a musical director. A passionate and consummate voice teacher and coach, Vernon has taught professional performers and aspiring singers privately in New York, Los Angeles, London, Holland, France, South Africa, and San Francisco and conducts popular Gospel Sing-A-Longs and workshops.
Brigette is artistic director/choreographer of B. Dunn Movement, dance educator and performing artist. She holds an MFA in choreography from the California Institute of the Arts and a B.A. in dance from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Brigette is an Assistant Professor of Dance at CSU, Northridge. Her work has appeared at the Bootleg Theater (L.A, CA), REDCAT (L.A, CA), Miles Memorial Playhouse (Santa Monica, CA) and Multicultural Arts Center Cambridge (Camb, MA,). Performance credits include: dance captain /dancer swing with the 1st National U.S. Tour of The Lion King (2001-2010) and the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble (1996-2000).
Andrea Siedel Duron
Andrea trained in the National Ballet School of Mexico with ballet masters, Sonia Castañeda, Giselle Colás and Joaquín Banegas. She has danced and choreographed in Mexico for Compañía Nacional de Teatro, Compañía Titular de Teatro de la Universidad Veracruzana, Danza Efímera, Grupo Génesis, Compañía de Ópera de la Universidad Veracruzana, México. She has danced classical repertoire and original pieces by contemporary Mexican and international choreographers: Emmanuelle Lecomte, Rocío Sagaón, Elena Jordán and Jorge Chanona. She has been a ballet teacher since 1979, and has done research regarding the theme "Natural Pedagogy and Skill Transfer of Movement" in alliance with the Department of Cognitive Science of the Central European University. Her Aretha Franklin Ballet is currently being performed in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Jayson is a multi-instrumentalist, percussionist & drummer specializing in Pan African percussion and drums, with a special emphasis in Afro Cuban folkloric, Ghanaian, Yoruba, Jazz, hip Hop, Brazilian, Flamenco and Middle Eastern music. He has performed and toured worldwide with many groups, including Iyeoka Okoawo Group. Jayson has been a special quest with John Nava Latin Jazz Collective, Anaseli Middle Eastern Ensemble, Samurai Gypsy Flamenco Jazz emsemble, Diva Latina and the Easter Island Noki Collaboration, bringing together performers from Chile, Easter Island, Peru, Spain and the U.S. The founder and director of the Ashe Ensemble, he has performed and recorded with the Legendary Babatundi Olatunji and the Drums of Passion Ensemble, recorded and toured with renowned Chilean artist, Viviana Guzman, performed with legendary Brazilian artists, Airto Moreira and Flora Purim, Jazz artist Renee Wilson, gospel and soul artist, Vernon Bush, Jazz artist, Hannibal Lakumbe, Brazilian jazz singer, Claudia Villela, Alegria Latin Jazz Ensemble, Jackeline Rago and the Venezuelan project, Danjuma.
Jessica Raaum Foster
Jessica has performed around the Bay Area with theatre companies such as American Musical Theatre of San Jose, Theatreworks, The Willows Theatre Company, Broadway by the Bay, and 42nd Street Moon. In 2006 she received a Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award for her portrayal of Annie Oakley in "Annie Get Your Gun" at Foothill Music Theatre. Jessica has also been featured in many regional commercials and industrials, as well as her latest film "The Wisdom Tree". Jessica has produced two albums, "Unity" and "Merry Little Christmas," and is currently working on developing a fun and educational video series about anatomy. Her company, "VocalTone," incorporates Pilates techniques into performance instruction. www.JessicaRaaum.com.
Mindy is a New Yorker that has been dancing since age five. She was trained by ballet master Madame Gabriela Taub-Darvash and Alvin Ailey American Dance Center. She has performed in numerous Broadway, Equity and International productions including Will Ferrells’ “You’re Welcome America, A Final Night with George Bush,” Metropolitan Opera’s Romeo & Juliet, Stomp!, Aida, Forum, Sweet Charity, Chicago and the Academy Awards. A dancer in Jubilation! Dance Company, Alpha Omega, Theatrical Dance Company and Clive Thompson Dance Company, she can be seen flying around the country with Marvel Appearances as The Xmen’s Storm.
Aliyah Bent Hassan
Aliyah was born and raised in San Diego, California. She started dancing at the Ballet Conservatory under the direction of Ms. Paz Soriano (R.A.D. Syllabus, French and Cuban technique). Many years later, she relocated to the Lemon Grove Arts Complex where she received much of her ballet training under the direction of Teresa Wells. She performed in many L.G. Arts productions and became a company member of Mirabile Ballet at the age of 14. She was a staff teacher, choreographer and featured performer with the San Diego Civic Youth Ballet. Ms. Hassan has also received recognition for her talents with offers from the Alvin Ailey summer and year round programs in New York and the Deeply Rooted Dance Co. in Chicago. She has been featured and starred in many productions such as the Snow Queen and Sugar Plum Fairy from the Nutcracker Suite and many other notable roles throughout her dance career. She is a principal dancer and the rehearsal coach for LaDiego Dance Theater.
Elayne "Muscle" Jones
Elayne is an 88 year young, world-class concert timpanist with a career that spans close to half a century. She attended Juilliard School of Music in 1945 as one of three (the only African American and the only woman) chosen to receive the prestigious Duke Ellington scholarship. In 1949, Mrs. Jones gained national attention as the first African American to be hired by the New York Opera and the first to hold a principal position in a major symphony orchestra in the United States. In 1962, she was invited by world-renowned maestro Leopold Stokowski to play in his American Symphony Orchestra. From 1950 through the early 1970’s, Mrs. Jones was the most sought after freelance musician in New York City and played under the leading conductors of our time including Duke Ellington, Leonard Bernstein, and Kurt Adler. She was also a founding member and the president of New York City’s first, fully integrated Symphony of the New World. The mission of this organization was to right the wrongs in hiring practices in major symphony orchestras. In 1972, Mrs. Jones beat out 40 other musicians for the position of timpanist with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. In 1998, Mrs. Jones retired from the San Francisco Opera orchestra. She conducts lecture demonstrations for children and adults in schools and community centers. Grown Women Dance Collective is honored to have such a cultural treasure share her talent and wisdom with us.
Halili Knox is thrilled to make art with the Grown Women Dance Collective! A performing artist and Emmy nominated television host, Halili made her national debut on HGTV as co-host of “Double Take”, and currently produces and hosts original programs for San Francisco Government Television. She has appeared in numerous professional productions and staged readings throughout the Bay Area, including The Story (Pat Johnson), Fabulation (Mother, Ensemble) and The Amen Corner (Sis. Moore) (in association with Project 1Voice) at Lorraine Hansberry Theater; And Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi (Chorus) at Cutting Ball (Bay Area Critics Circle Award, Best Ensemble); and Chasing Mehserle (Willie) at Intersection for the Arts. Halili is a Company Member at Oakland-based Ubuntu Theater Project where she most recently appeared in The Gospel of Loving Kindness (Miriam, Martha, Ensemble). In addition to stage and screen work, Halili has performed locally and internationally as a jazz and blues vocalist.
Daniel began his dance career in California at the San Diego Creative School of Performing Arts. Soon after Graduation, he went to New York to accept a scholarship at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. By 1997, Mr. Marshall became Artistic Director of the San Diego Contemporary Dance Ensemble. During this time, he set several pieces including “Blessed Assurance”, which received the 1997 Tommy Award for Best Male Performer/Choreographer. In 1999, become a member of the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, and become one of the premiere dancers. In 2001, Dance Magazine named Mr. Marshall one of its “25 to Watch”. Mr. Marshall has set ballets for Vineland Regional Dance Company and South Dayton Ballet. Mr. Marshall Received National Choreography Award NE in 2002. In 2006, Mr. Marshall set work on San Diego Dance Theater and directed “Cats” The Musical for San Diego Junior Theater. He is now Artistic Director of LaDiego Dance Theater and The Dance Conservatory.
Michael currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Dance and the Director of Alabama State University’s BFA/Dance Program. Medcalf’s early training in dance began in high school at Cleveland School of the Arts (Ohio). As a scholarship student, he attended the University of the Arts, The Philadelphia School of Dance Arts (Philadanco), The Chautauqua Institute and the Ailey School in New York City. In 2013, Medcalf graduated from The University of Iowa with a Master of Fine Arts degree in dance. Highlighting his professional performing career is his work as a soloist and principal ensemble member of the Denver based Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble and his very own Cleveland Contemporary Dance Theatre, The Greene/Medcalf Movement Project, and his current endeavor, Michael Medcalf/Inventions, an avenue for solo performance exploration.
Cathleen Riddley is proud to be a part of this important project. She has performed in numerous Bay Area theaters including African American Shakespeare Company, SF Playhouse, Marin Theatre Company, Central Works, ACT, TheatreWorks, Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, and Center Rep. Cathleen is a proud member of AEA and TBA, an Associate Artist with AlterTheater, and a PlayGround company member. She is an alumna of The Juilliard School, a certified ASL Interpreter and has an MA from the U Penn. A current project close to her heart is working with incarcerated men in San Quentin in their violence prevention program called No More Tears/Healing Circle.
Christina Gonzales Sanchez
Christina danced for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ballet Hispanico of NYC, Complexions Contemporary Ballet (under the direction of Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson) and Buglisi/Foreman Dance (under the direction of Jacqulyn Buglisi, former Martha Graham principal), touring and teaching extensively throughout the U.S. and abroad. Christina is currently a member of UCSB’s resident dance company, Santa Barbara Dance Theater and teaches Modern Dance technique at Westmont College. Christina resides in Santa Barbara, CA is married, and has two beautiful girls.
Victor Temple is an internationally known dancer, choreographer, and teacher. He has been Artistic Director of New World Ballet since 2005. He has danced with the Dance Theatre of Harlem, Cirque Du Soleil, American Repertory Ballet, Oakland Ballet, Alabama Ballet, New Jersey Ballet, Honzhou Song and Dance Group, Shanghai Ballet, and the Central Ballet of China. While living in China, a gold medal was won for the Asian Choreography Competition. Mr. Temple was the first Westerner to hold a position as a member of the Chinese Dancers’ Association as a liaison of western dance styles. He choreographed the opening of the China and Hong Kong reunification ceremony and was honored with a statue of his likeness at the theater entrance of the Arts University of Mongolia in recognition of his accomplishments.
Jacinta founded Jacinta Vlach/Liberation Dance Theater (LDT) in 2007. The company strivesto explore contemporary social issues and bring them to life through dance, theater, and dialogue. Race relations, gender inequalities, cultural differences, and marginalized communities are the core subjects of LDT’s work. Drawing upon movement from Modern, the Latin/African Diaspora, and Urban Vernacular, LDT aspires to create a strong voice and new aesthetic for dance artists. Through collaboration and individual narratives, LDT brings personal stories to the stage in an attempt to spread awareness and healing to diverse peoples.
Aifa Walking Tree
Afia Walking Tree, for over 25 years, she has served her destiny as visionary director of her brainchild, Spirit Drumz, an international organization that prioritizes women & youth of all cultures to utilize African
Diasporic drumming, dancing and story-telling to activate empowerment & healing. While her own message has inspired multitudes over the years, she has been moved by her beloved colleagues: Queen Hollins, Zemaya Martinez, Jules Stept, Elizabeth Bourbion, among others. Her holistic humanist approach is evident in her affirmation-based-sound-powah-transpersonal-workshops and energizing performances. She is called a luminary trailblazer because of her innovative and joyful approach to envisioning, awakening, & freeing our collective voices.