Christopher Broughton, born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, Chris began dancing at the age of 11 and has never looked back. Under the instruction of Paul and Arlene Kennedy at Universal Dance, he soon became a member of The Kennedy Tap Company where he received the national NAACP ACT-SO Award, twice. He now travels worldwide both as a soloist and with Jason Samuels Smith’s A.C.G.I., Rasta Thomas’ Tap Stars, and Dorrance Dance. Performances include New York City Center’s Cotton Club Parade; Juba! Master’s of Tap & Percussive Dance at the Kennedy Center; and Broadway’s Tony & Astaire award-winning production After Midnight. Christopher owes his sincerest gratitude to his sister, Chantel Heath, who introduced him to the world of dance, Tonie Nicholas, son of the legendary Fayard Nicholas, and Paul and Arlene Kennedy; without whom, he wouldn’t be where he is today.
Elizabeth Burke (Rehearsal Director/Dancer) is a Chapel Hill, North Carolina native who spent eleven years under the direction of her mentor, Gene Medler, in the acclaimed North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble. Burke has been with Dorrance Dance since the company’s inception in 2010-2011 and when not working with the company, enjoys dancing with Bessie Award winner Nicholas Van Young’s SoundMovement Dance Company and teaching and choreographing occasionally. She is an alumna of the School at Jacob’s Pillow and holds two bachelor’s degrees from Marymount Manhattan College.
Warren Craft is a New York City tap dancer who has trained in ballet with both American Ballet Theatre and the School of American Ballet. As a tap dancer he has been a member of Brenda Bufalino’s New American Tap Dance Orchestra, Max Pollak’s RumbaTap, and the Tap City Youth Ensemble, and has worked with Ayodele Casel, Derick K. Grant, Michelle Dorrance, Jason Samuels Smith, Barbara Duffy, Michela Marino-Lerman, Dormeshia Sumbry Edwards and Jared Grimes. He has performed at City Center, Lincoln Center, Dance Theater Workshop, and Central Park’s Summer Stage and toured with Tony Waag’s Tap City on Tour. Warren has been featured on the cover of Dance Spirit Magazine and in the Dance Magazine article, “Child Prodigies in Dance.” The definitive history of tap, Tap Dancing America, claims that Warren “has reincarnated the elegant tap dancing style of Fred Astaire.” While The New York Times calls him “a New Wave hoofer…with killer feet. [t]here’s a burgeoning maturity in his sound, an adult patience that pays off.” He is also the drummer for singer/songwriter Michael Ferraiuolo and is working on his own solo music.
Karida Griffith is from Portland, Oregon! Stage: Cirque du Soleil’s Banana Shpeel, Radio City Rockettes, Black and Blue (Henry LeTang & Dianne Walker), NY City Center’s Fall for Dance Festival, Sinatra (Des MacAnuff & Casey Nicholaw), Spoleto Festival USA, CTFD Gala (Randy Skinner), CREATIONS (Producer), NYC Tap Festival, Jacob’s Pillow. Television: Boardwalk Empire (HBO), Tony Awards, The Today Show. Companies: Dorrance Dance, Cotton Club Sophisticated Ladies, Barbara Duffy & Co, and the Children’s Theatre Company (Board of Directors). Karida loves teaching students of all ages, and is currently on the Tap Faculty at Broadway Dance Center. (www.karidagriffith.com)
Carson Murphy has had the fortune to travel the world tap dancing and working with incredible artists. Recent performances include dancing with Dorrance Dance at the acclaimed Spoleto Festival in South Carolina, with the Hip Tap Project in France throughout fall 2013, ‘The Buster Brown Celebration’ with Michela Marino-Lerman at Swing 46 in NYC, ‘Focal Point’ with SoundMovement dance company at the Alvin Aliley Theater in NYC, with Sarah Petronio at the Soul to Sole Tap Festival in Austin, Texas, at Jacob’s Pillow, the Dancespace series at St. Mark’s Church and the Chicago Human Rhythm Project as a member of Michelle Dorrance’s “Dorrance Dance”, as well as dancing with the phenomenal Sarah Petronio, Leela Petronio and Nicholas Young in Sarah’s “Jazz in Motion”, in Les Ulis, France.
Carson has also performed with and for – Ted Levy, Leela Petronio’s Hip Tap Project, Max Pollak’s “Rumba Tap”, Barbara Duffy and Company, Katherine Kramer, Mable Lee, Michela Marino-Lerman, Nicholas Young’s SoundMovement, Chloe Arnold’s “Syncopated Ladies”, Tap City, Josh Hilberman, Sarah Savelli, Ayodele Casel, was a part of the original recreation of Harold Cromer’s “Opus One”, toured the U.S. with Broadway’s “42nd Street”, has been seen dancing on Times Square’s JumboTron and has been featured in Dance Spirit Magazine.
Carson is endlessly inspired by these artists and many more, and is eternally grateful to spend her life teaching and dancing. Carson is the owner and Director of Sound Movement Pilates and Gyrotonic ® in Larchmont, New York. www.soundmovementny.com
Claudia Rahardjanoto, born and raised in Berlin, Germany, started dancing professionally at the age of nine at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. Named one of “25 To Watch” by Dance Magazine in 2010 and featured on the cover of Dance Teacher Magazine in 2011, Claudia has danced with and learned from Andreas Dänel, Sven Göttlicher, Dianne Walker, Ted Levy, Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, Michelle Dorrance, Derick Grant, Brenda Bufalino, Roxane Butterfly, Andrew Nemr, Barbara Duffy, Jane Goldberg, Jared Grimes, Max Pollak, Michael Minery, the late Harold ‘Stumpy’ Cromer, and the legendary Mable Lee, amongst others. She is grateful to be able to share her passion and love for tap dance through her performances and teaching worldwide.
Brazilian tap dancer Leonardo Sandoval is quickly gaining a reputation in the tap world for his musicality and for adding his own Brazilian flavor to tap. He began his dance studies at age 6 in Piracicaba (São Paulo State), and received further training in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Los Angeles, and at the School at Jacob’s Pillow. In Brazil, Leo co-founded the Cia Carioca de Sapateado in Rio, with the aim of bringing tap dance to a wider audience in Brazil by incorporating Brazilian rhythms, music, and dance styles into tap.
In 2014, he moved to New York, and became a member of Dorrance Dance, as well as an artist in residence at the American Tap Dance Foundation. He is also involved in many solo projects as a dancer and choreographer. Leo recently premiered Music from the Sole, an evening-length show created with American bassist and composer Greg Richardson. Excerpts from the show were recently presented by the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, and at the Rhythm in Motion festival in New York, prompting the New York Times to praise Leo’s “spontaneous aura” and “rousing” choreography.
Leo’s artistry is rooted both in America’s great tap dance heritage, and in Brazil’s rich rhythmic, musical, and dance traditions, with additional influences from jazz and contemporary dance.
Byron Tittle has been dancing since the age of 7 in his hometown of New York. Starting with tap and ballet, he soon grew to enjoy the different genres and aesthetics in the entire realm of dance. He began tapping with the American Tap Dance Foundation’s Tap City Youth Ensemble, where he met Michelle Dorrance. Continually taking her master classes and workshops, he joined the company in 2013 and has been consistently involved since then. Commercially, he has danced for Janet Jackson and Nicki Minaj but feels most at home on stage with Dorrance Dance.
Gabe Winns Ortiz, 26, was born and raised in San Diego, CA. He started dancing at the age of 11, and his love for the art form has continued to grow ever since. He has toured worldwide with the critically acclaimed stage show Tap Kids, and since moving to New York City he has worked with various companies, including RumbaTap, Dorrance Dance and Swing FX. He also directs his own group called the Students of Sound, and teaches at the American Tap Dance Foundation. Television credits include America’s Most Talented Kids (2002), America’s Got Talent (2011), and FakeOff (2014).
Nicholas Van Young (Co-Choreographer/Creator/Soloist, ETM: The Initial Approach) a New York-based dancer, choreographer, musician and master teacher, began his professional career under Acia Gray and Deidre Strand with Tapestry Dance Company in Austin, TX, eventually as a principal dancer and resident choreographer. Since moving to New York, he has performed with Manhattan Tap, RumbaTap, Dorrance Dance, “Beat the Donkey,” has toured as a drummer for Darwin Deez and spent almost a decade performing with STOMP. Nicholas recently premiered his dance company “Sound Movement” and is currently collaborating with Michelle Dorrance on a new world of dance ad music featuring innovative and unique tap dance instruments of Young’s own design.
Ephrat “Bounce” Asherie, a 2016 Bessie Award Winner for Innovative Achievement in Dance, is a New York City based b-girl, dancer and choreographer. As artistic director of Ephrat Asherie Dance (EAD) she has presented work at the Apollo Theater, FiraTarrega, Jacob’s Pillow, New York Live Arts, Summerstage, and the Yard, among others. Ephrat has received numerous awards to support her work including a Kevin Spacey Artist of Choice Award, a Mondo Cane! commission from Dixon Place, a Creative Development Residency from Jacob's Pillow and an Extended Life Residency from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Her first evening length work, A Single Ride, received two Bessie nominations in 2012 for Outstanding Emerging Choreographer and Outstanding Sound Design by Marty Beller. Ephrat has worked and collaborated with Doug Elkins, Rennie Harris, Bil Irwin, David Parsons, Gus Solomons Jr and Buddha Stretch, among others. She is on faculty at Wesleyan University and Broadway Dance Center and is a founding member of the all-female house dance collective, MAWU. Ephrat earned her BA from Barnard College, Columbia University in Italian and her MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where she researched the vernacular jazz dance roots of contemporary street and club dances. For more information please visit www.ephratasherie.com.
Derick K. Grant (Co-Choreographer/Creator/Soloist, The Blues Project) is a performer, choreographer, director who has an established career that spans over three decades. Under the direction of Tony Award winner, George C. Wolfe, he was an original company member and Dance Captain for Bring In ‘Da Noise, Bring In ‘Da Funk at both The Public Theater and on Broadway and starred in the role of ‘da beat for the first National Tour. Mr. Grant created the critically acclaimed show Imagine Tap!; his choreography has been featured on Fox’s hit series So You Think You Can Dance; and he has performed and recorded with Grammy Award winner Dan Zanes. Mr. Grant was the recipient of the Princess Grace Award for Upcoming Young Artist and The Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Featured Actor, two Los Angeles Ovation Awards for choreography and Best Ensemble Performance in Noise/Funk, and was most recently recognized for Best Choreography for Imagine Tap!. He is currently a corporate Tap spokesperson for SoDanca and continues to transform and inspire dance communities around the world.
Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards (Co-Choreographer/Creator/Soloist, The Blues Project) is known for setting high standards in the world of Tap Dance. Tap coach to the king of pop Michael Jackson over the course of 11 years, she received a Bessie Award for her featured performance in Jason Samuels Smith & Company at the Joyce, and an Astaire Award for Best Female Performer for her featured performance in Broadway’s After Midnight. She is currently on the board as the Tap Advisor for Dance Magazine and was the official Tap Spokesperson for Capezio being featured in their international advertising campaign. Performances include Tony award winning productions on Broadway such as After Midnight, Black and Blue and Bring In Da’Noise, Bring In Da’Funk; International Tour of Bring in Da’Noise, Bring in Da’Funk (dance captain/principal dancer/understudy to the lead role); national tour of Wild Woman Blues; and Debbie Allen’s SAMMY (the life and times of Sammy Davis Jr.). She most recently performed as a special guest at NJPAC with Grammy Recording Artist and fellow After Midnight star Fantasia. Mrs. Sumbry-Edwards was also nominated for Best Actress for the starring role in “The Rise and Fall of Miss Thang” (Lavender House Films) that toured film festivals nationwide. Other notable film credits include “TAP” with Gregory Hines; Spike Lee’s “Bamboozled” (Assistant Choreographer/actress); and “The Rodgers and Hart Story: Thou Swell, Thou Witty”. Mrs. Sumbry-Edwards’ choreography has been featured in national and international stages as well as in Michael Jackson’s music video “You Rock My World”; and in weekly shows at the world famous Cotton Club in Harlem.
Donovan Dorrance (Music Director) hails from Chapel Hill, NC where he studied piano, guitar, drums, and voice before attending The University of North Carolina for a B.A. in Philosophy. After singing in an a cappella group, drumming in an indie-rock band, and receiving a degree fit for waiting tables for the rest of his life, Donovan moved to Brooklyn to assist his sister’s company and pursue his passion for music. In his spare time, Donovan composes music with Gregory Richardson for Dorrance Dance, takes online business courses, and is occasionally published in his UNC professors’ books in the field of philosophy.
Toshi Reagon and BIGLovely was founded in 1996. The band has performed at numerous concerts, Festivals and events including Central Park Summerstage NYC, Melbourne International Arts Festival, Clearwater Great Hudson Revival, Afro-punk, and many, many more. The current touring band for Dorrance Dance's The Blues Project includes Fred Cash, Juliette Jones, Allison Miller, and Adam Widoff. For more information, visit http://www.toshireagon.com/biglovely
Aaron Marcellus (Vocalist) was born and bred in Atlanta, GA and has been entertaining crowds across the world for 16 plus years. A singer, writer, musician, tap dancer, and an actor, Marcellus is a consummate entertainer with a signature sound. He’s shared the stage with Gospel and CCM greats like: Israel Haughton, Salvador, Mary Mary, Donnie McClurkin, Kim Burrell, TobyMac, Michael W. Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman, Anointed, Ted & Sheri, Rachel Lampa, and Karen Clark-Sheard. In 2004 Marcellus ventured into Pop/Soul, taking a bold step to break into this new genre by auditioning for the world-renowned talent competition, American Idol. During Season 11 he rose to semi-finalist status (top 24) on American Idol, garnering a standing ovation during his televised performance in Hollywood. In the summer of 2012 Marcellus was a featured artist on the “Idols World Tour” sponsored by the US Armed Forces for American troops and was also one of the select Idol contestants featured on a tour through England, Italy, Holland, Germany, France, Korea, and Japan. Marcellus has been featured in a new pilot show for NBC, in a Chapstick commercial and at a tribute performance for R&B recording artist, Chrisette Michele. Marcellus can be found hosting a weekly musical act at NYC’s Duane Park and singing all over New York City– directing showcases, tap dancing, acting, serving as a vocal coach and directing The Marcellus Music Ensemble, a new and powerful collection of voices that help to comprise the Marcellus Orchestra!
Composer and multi-instrumentalist Gregory Richardson (bass) was born in Tucson, AZ and learned Rhythm and Blues at an early age from a family of church musicians where everyone could play at least a little piano and everyone was expected to sing. He went on to study music at Bard College and settled finally in New York City where he has been living and creating ever since. Richardson tours around the world with the band Darwin Deez and gigs around New York with the trio Analogue Experimental and with Damian Quinones y su Conjunto, playing Son, Salsa, Jazz, Cumbia, and Boogaloo. In recent years he’s found a second home with the tightly-knit New York City tap dance community, performing with SoundMovement Dance Company, The Institute for the Rhythmic Arts, and The American Tap Dance Foundation. He has composed and performed in several shows with Dorrance Dance, including Myelination, SOUNDspace, ETM: The Initial Approach, ETM: Double Down at the Jacob’s Pillow festival, and Delta to Dusk.
Toshi Reagon (The Blues Project Composer & Music Director) has been described as “a talented, versatile singer, composer, producer and musician with a profound ear for sonic Americana— from folk to funk, from blues to rock” by critic/blogger Eva Yaa Asantewaa of InfiniteBody. “She masters each of these genres with vocal strategies that easily spiral and swoop from the expressively sinuous to the hard-charging, a combination of warmth and mischief.” While her expansive career has landed her comfortably in residence at Carnegie Hall, the Paris Opera House, and Madison Square Garden, you can just as easily find Reagon turning out a music festival, intimate venue, or local club. Her dance and theater collaborations include work with Urban Bush Women, Jane Comfort and Company, LAVA, and two operas with her mother Bernice Johnson Reagon and Robert Wilson. Reagon has been the recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFTA) award for Music Composition and The Black Lily Music and Film Festival award for Outstanding Performance. She is a National Women’s History Month Honoree and is the 2010 recipient of OutMusic’s Heritage Award. In 2011 she received a Stonewall Honors Award with her partner J. Bob Alotta. Toshi founded the festival Word*Rock*& Sword: A FESTIVAL Celebration of Women’s Lives.(www.toshireagon.com)
Ryan P. Casey
Starinah "Star" Dixon
Jose "Boy Boi" Tena
Matthew "Mega" West
Joseph C. Wiggan