Instructors

Meet the Instructors behind the mission

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SHONICA GOODEN

Shonica Gooden is a passionate, triple threat performer from Atlanta, GA. While Growing up in Atlanta, Shonica attended DanceMakers of Atlanta and Dekalb School of the Arts. She continued her training on a collegiate level at Point Park University where she received a BFA in Dance. Throughout the past 11 years, Shonica has had the privilege and honor of being a part of critically acclaimed shows such as Hamilton: An American Musical (Broadway), CATS (Rumpleteazer; Broadway Revival), Bring It On: The Musical (Broadway & 1st National), Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella (Broadway)  American Dance Machine (Sweet Georgia Brown; Joyce Theatre), National Tour of Matilda The Musical, Piece of My Heart,  FLY (La Jolla Playhouse), Memphis (Felicia, CFRT), Don’t Bother Me I Can’t Cope; (City Center), and Sister Act (Deloris; Music Theatre Wichita). TV/Film: Fosse/Verdon, Manifest, Almost Family, Ted 2 and The First Purge.

 

Shonica’s newest and greatest accomplishment is giving birth to her pride and joy, her baby boy Grant. Jeremiah 29:11 

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SAIDAH NAIROBI

Saidah Nairobi, an Atlanta native by way of Queens, NY, is an actor, best-selling author, licensed realtor, speaker, singer, & mentor, but she is most widely known as the professional dancer that blazed stages across the globe with musical icons such as Beyonce (I Am World Tour, Formation World Tour), Usher (OMG World Tour), Ciara, & Ne-Yo. Her dance memoir, Leap of Faith: The Journey of A Dream’ speaks on Saidah’s unorthodox journey from aspiring performer to becoming an inspirational global touring dancer. Saidah’s most recent work includes recurring acting roles on television series Step Up: Highwater and BounceTV’s Johnson as well as dancing in two upcoming major motion picture productions. Saidah also co-authored a newly released book titled, Possibilities Unlimited: Stories to Inspire You to Achieve the Impossible. Copies of Saidah’s books can be ordered online at www.nairobienterprises.com.

 

You can stay connected with Saidah by following her social handles - @saidahnairobi and @propertiesbysai. 

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JEFFERY DUFFY

Mr. Duffy received his BFA from The Juilliard School. He was brought in as a Consultant for Lisa Bing’s Leadership and Management Course at New York University’s School of Professional Studies. Jeffery has also taught at NYU Tisch School of the Arts; Cobb County Center for Excellence in the Performing Arts, Braswell Arts Center in Basel, Switzerland, MOVE(NYC), Spelman College, Atlanta Ballet School and Summer Intensives, Lou Conte Dance Studio, Impassioned Dance Center, British Academy of the Performing Arts, DanceMakerz of Atlanta, Central Gwinnett HighSchool, and Eglevsky Ballet. National
Tours: Charles Lee in HAMILTON (The Hollywood Pantages Theater); Ensemble Swing in HAMILTON Broadway in Chicago (CIBC Theater); Choreographer: First Deep Breath (The National Black Theater) written by Lee Colston. Fight Choreographer: The Color Purple (The Byers Theater). TV and Film: A Jazzman’s Blues (Netflix), Fox New Year’s Party with Steve Harvey; “HOPE” music video by Blood Orange. Mr. Duffy teaches and choreographs movement locally, nationally, and internationally with a world-renowned performance career. Princess Grace Fellowship Recipient; Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. “Top 25 to Watch” by Dance Magazine.

 

Certified GYROTONIC® Instructor currently taking new clients through his company, Cooperative Creative Labour.

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JAMAL WHITE

Jamal White (Birmingham, AL) was raised in Atlanta, GA and began his training at and Dance Makers of Atlanta under the direction of Denise and Lynise Heard. He studied as a scholarship student at Ballethnic Dance Academy, Virginia School of the Arts and trained in intensive programs at Kirov Academy of Ballet, Nashville Ballet, Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance, Dance Theatre of Harlem, and London Contemporary Dance School. In 2011, Mr. White received a B.F.A. in Dance Performance from Southern Methodist University, since he has performed works by choreographers such as Nicolo Fonte, George Balanchine, Dwight Rhoden, Alvin Ailey, Stijn Celis, Richard Siegal, and Hofesh Shechter. He has also performed in Rasta Thomas' Rock the Ballet, Missouri Ballet Theater, Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, Alvin Ailey II, Collage Dance Collective, and currently BODYTRAFFIC. Jamal has made creations at Southern Methodist University, Dean College, London Contemporary Dance School, Troy University , BODYTRAFFIC, Deeply Rooted Youth Ensemble and The Ailey School. Jamal has also taught and created for many arts exchange and outreach programs in the United States and abroad such as Steps on Broadway, Trinity Laban Conservatory of Music and Dance, and the Ailey School. He’s had the pleasure of creating a new work for Company D; A Memphis based contemporary dance company for adults with down syndrome.

 

Jamal is currently on the ballet faculty at Celebrity Dance Convention, Artistic Fellow at BODYTRAFFIC, one of the founding members of The Black Artists Dance Collective, and studying at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in the M.F.A Choreography program.

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AMBER JACKSON

Amber Jackson, is an artist who recently opened the production of The Devil Wears Prada in Chicago where she also closed the TONY AWARD winning production, Hamilton: An American Musical. She is a native of Atlanta GA, who found her love for the arts at an early age and began training for a professional dance career. In 2011, Amber made her TV debut on “So You Think You Can Dance” which started her journey in entertainment. She not only has a passion for performing but also for teaching and giving back. When given the opportunity she joined the renowned dance convention “NYCDA” touring around the U.S. Traveling became her life and she soon went on to join Rasta Thomas’s “Bad Boys of Ballet” touring internationally. After a few years on the road she returned to NYC where she made her Broadway debut with “
Wicked the Musical”, furthering her love for theater, dance, music and acting. I’m 2019, Amber landed her first speaking role on Netflix’s hit series, “Soundtrack” a Joshua Saffron original and more recently made a guest appearance on STARZ hit show, “Power Book III”.

 

Her TV credits include: “Nashville”, “American Idol” “The Talk”, “The Late Late Show with James Corden”, Good Morning America, and the “Video Music Awards”. Moving forward, Amber hopes to spread inspiration, love, and hope through art.
 

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BRIONNA WILLIAMS

Brionna Williams is a multifaceted dance artist, teacher, and choreographer - currently based in Atlanta, GA. She has trained intensely in a variety of styles including ballet, modern, tap, jazz, hip hop, contemporary, improvisation and heels. She graduated from the Dekalb School of Performing Arts High School. In 2010, Brionna booked her first professional job as a featured dancer in the Tyler Perry's “For Colored Girls” film.  She received  her B.F.A in Dance Performance and Education  from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia in May 2015. As an undergrad, Brionna performed original works of Ronen Koresh, Mark Caserta, Douglas Becker, Sharon Eyal, Robert Battle, Sidra Bell and many others. Post grad she took on the responsibility of Rehearsal Director at the University of the Arts during their 2015-2016 school year and worked as an independent contemporary artist with choreographers such as Kurt Haworth, Katherine Stark and Janice Rosario And Company. 
Brionna is currently represented by Xcel Talent Agency and since then has appeared on Step Up: Highwater, Empire, CW Legacies, P-Valley, Ellen DeGeneres and has toured with musical artist Ciara and Ne-Yo.

 

Brionna teaches open contemporary fusion & improvisational dance classes and is a first company member with Komansé Dance Theatre.

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WENDELL GRAY

Wendell Gray II is a dance artist, choreographer, and educator currently based in Brooklyn. Since moving to the city, he has worked professionally with choreographers such as Tere O’Connor, Joanna Kotze, Pavel Zustiak, Jordan Demetrius Lloyd, Maria Bauman, Jonah Bokaer, I-Ling Liu, Christal Brown, Esther Baker- Tarpaga, J Bouey and more. In late fall of 2021 he received the STUFFED Artist in Residence at Judson Memorial Church. He was also a Work Up 6.0 Artist at Gibney Dance in Spring 2020. Additionally, he has shown work at the University of the Arts, Movement Research at Judson Church, Center for Performance Research, Chez Bushwick, La Mama Galleria, Capezio ACE Awards, and Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance. He has set work on companies such as Michiyaya Dance, Pennsylvania Ballet II + Philadanco II, and Periapsis Music and Dance. As an educator, he has taught classes at Mark Morris Dance Center, SUNY Purchase, NYU, Eisenhower Dance Detroit, Southeast Alabama Dance Company, and more. Wendell is a BFA graduate of the University of the Arts (15’) under the direction of Donna Faye Burchfield was raised in Atlanta, GA where he trained at Dekalb School of the Arts and Dancemakers of Atlanta.

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RAIANNA C BROWN

Raianna is a Choreographer, Creative Director, and founder of Komansé Dance Theater. She exhibits the dynamism of the modern young professional through her multidisciplinary work. Komansé Dance Theater intentionally integrates technology and the arts into the design of their performances, previously working with the GT Industrial Design School and the GT Invention Studio to integrate projection mapping and 3D printed costumes into their shows. Komansé’s shows center on the narratives of marginalized people, using technology to amplify the performance. Their most recent live- production was created in partnership with Covenant House, a homeless shelter servicing at-risk youth. Raianna is currently working as Creative Director and Choreographer on the Permanent Project,  a multidisciplinary art experience that activates works by Black artists in museum collections. Permanent Project is a partnership between Komansé Dance Theater and The African Diaspora Art Museum of Atlanta. Raianna has worked as co-director and lead choreographer on the most recent iterations of the Permanent Project in collaboration with the Coca-Cola foundation, the Elevate Festival, & The High Museum of Art. Raianna’s other accomplishments in the world of dance include choreographing commissioned pieces for the NAACP, the Atlanta Mayor’s Office, Grammy-nominated artists, and international dance companies, and also dancing alongside Shakira and Jennifer Lopez in Super Bowl Sunday LIV and dancing with Beyoncé in the 2022 Oscars performance. Outside of dance, Raianna has taken her industrial engineering knowledge into the field of software development, serving as the lead software developer for Lean consulting firm CMB Global Partners.

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TERESA JADE WILSON

Graduate from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA with a BFA in Dance Education. Throughout her journey at The University of the Arts, she was invited to perform with Philadelphia’s West African Dance Company, Kùlú Mèlé African Dance & Drum Ensemble, by Emmy Award nominated choreographer Jeffrey Page, and has performed works created by Pearl Primus (restaged by Kim Bears-Bailey). In the years, Teresa has assisted with the production of Jazmine Sullivan’s London Performance, performed in Debbie Allen’s Brothers of the Knight, Sir Rosevelt, Step Up:High Waters, HBO’s The Watchmen, BET’s American Soul, HBO Max’s Doom Patrol and the Triumph Awards. She then toured internationally with recording artist Keith Sweat as the dance captain, as well as completed two Las Vegas Residencies. Since touring, she set sail with Norwegian Cruise Lines as a singer and dancer for Broadway’s After Midnight. She is now back home performing with City Gate Dance Theater and choreographing for and performing with The Tap Rebels, who just represented the United States at the World Expo 2020 in Dubai, United Emirates. In addition to performing, this Atlanta native loves teaching and choreographing for studios across the metro Atlanta area including her home studio, DanceMakers of Atlanta. 

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MAJOR NESBY

A multidisciplinary creative, Major started his career as a dance artist performing works by Alvin Ailey, Nacho Duato, Robert Battle, Francesca Harper, Kyle Abraham, and many more in New York City and on global stages. A graduate of Point Park University, Major also works as a producer, director, host, and correspondent. In 2020 he created/founded NEON a platform under GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) that centers Queer Black narratives across the African Diaspora through media. He has also worked with platforms such as  HBO and Google. Aside from working in several industries, Major continues to teach movement and choreograph both domestically and internationally. 

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JAZMIN CRUMLEY

Jazmin Crumley is a professional vocal coach, vocalist and mentor whose roots are held in the city of Ellenwood, GA.  She began singing in church at the age of 2 and since then, her relationships with God and music have become a major part of her life.  Even as a child she had a powerhouse sound that grasped the undivided attention of everyone who heard her voice. At age 15, Jazmin began classical voice training and was accepted into DeKalb School of the Arts where she continued her training, majoring in Vocal Performance and minoring in Visual Art. While attending this prestigious school she also began developing her performance skills in multiple musical genres including Gospel, R&B/Soul, Broadway show-tunes and Opera. Further, she made her acting debut as a lead in musical productions such as Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado, and Abbott and Bissell’s The Pajama Game.

In 2012, Jazmin completed her undergraduate studies at Georgia State University’s School of Music, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Management with a focus in Vocal Performance. Simultaneously, while in her sophomore year of collegiate studies, her career as a professional background vocalist began. Since that time, Jazmin has traveled the world and has shared both the stage and studio with some of the music industry’s top artists including, Kirk Franklin, Donald Lawrence, Musiq Soulchild, Monica, Anthony Hamilton, Erica Campbell, Avery Sunshine and many more. She worked on both the NAACP Image Award winning soundtrack and on the television set of Oprah & OWN Network's hit tv drama, "Greenleaf" for multiple seasons, BET  Network's drama series, "Boomerang", MTV's "Nick Cannon Presents Wild'N Out" and worked as a member of the house band for the 34th Annual Gospel Stellar Awards, 20th Annual Super Bowl Gospel Celebration, both The 2018 and 2019 BMI R&B/Hip Hop Awards honoring Janet Jackson and Brandy. Jazmin now serves as the Vocal Director and Contractor The Stellar (Gospel Music) Awards and Black Music Honors. She has had vocal arrangements featured on Lifetime's EMMY nominated "Robin Roberts Presents: MAHALIA", The EPIX Docu-series "By Whatever Means Necessary" and has been a featured vocalist for those projects as well as on networks such as STARZ, PBS, television commercials and more! 

 Upon obtaining her degree, Jazmin founded The Outlet for Vocal Expression, LLC, where she currently works as a professional vocal coach, arranger & vocal producer in Ellenwood, GA with vocalists, artists and background vocalists all over the world. She is a Vocal Health Instructor certified by The Music And Arts Healing Institute, Voice Teacher Certified by New York Vocal Coaching and has had  much success in her years of instructing. “The Outlet” provides a comfortable, uplifting environment for singers, from beginner to industry level, to receive quality vocal training. Her expertise continues to open many doors, allowing her to do what she loves and help others to grow and do the same.

 

Her ultimate goal is to share the love and message of Christ through music and mentorship. She hopes to inspire everyone she comes in contact with to be who God created them to be and pursue every dream He has placed in their hearts. 
 

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CeCe Tor

Cece Tor is a Liberian American professional choreographer and dancer. Her career in dance began at the age of 16 where she trained in jazz, ballet, African, hip hop, and tap. Her love for her African culture lead her to focus on the modern and traditional styles of Africa and the diaspora. She has traveled and trained in Nigeria, Ghana and in Liberia.

 

Her credits include television and films such as “Step up” the series, HBOs “Eyes on the prize,” and is a principal dancer in the much anticipated “Black Panther 2.” She has also shared the stage and screen  with artists such as Yemi Alade, Drake, Teyana Taylor, Jessie J, to name a few and was the official choreographer for Chop Vegas 2021 and Afronation festival US 2022. She hopes to continue spreading her love of culture through dance, and bringing awareness to the talent and beauty that Africa radiates.

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Jasmine Wilde

Business & Wellness Consultant

Education: Middle Tennessee State University

B.A. Liberal Arts / Writing

Processional Credits

Tours: Rihanna Loud tour, Home and Home Jay Z and Eminem tour, B.o.B Japan tour, Shooting Stars tour, Paramore UK tour +

Shows: BMI urban music awards, MTV video music awards, Perez Hilton‘s one night in Chicago, The Grammy nominations concert +

TV: Mindful Meditation with Miss Wilde

• Reiki Practitioner
• Sound bath and meditation facilitator  
• Ultrasound Boutique owner