Anna Barker was introduced to Pilates during college, as a strengthening and supportive tool for her dance career. She went on to receive her Pilates Mat Certification in 2009 and taught in Philadelphia and New York City for 5 years. Anna moved back home to Durham, where she received the Pilates apparatus/equipment certification at InsideOutBodyTherapies, and currently teaches at several local studios. She is fascinated by the healing and reconstructive elements of Pilates and has used the system to combat her own dance-related injuries. Anna is thrilled to share her movement experiences in her classes, while not taking herself too seriously!
Rohit Bulchandani was the captain and coach of North Carolina Di Tohr (formerly Gajjdi Jawani) and has taught Bhangra for 11 years to over 200 students at Natya Academy and Naach Masala Dance School. He also danced with KPGD, UNC Bhangra Elite, and Yale Bhangra during his competitive years. In addition to competing and coaching a music team from 2007 – 2018, he also has experience in live Bhangra, dancing and placing with Gajjde Gabroo and learning 2 years under Master Gurinderbir Chahal of PAU Agriculture University in Ludhiana. Rohit assisted in the early development of Learn Bhangra and is currently one of the lead instructors/content creators for the company.
Cristal Chinchayan was born and raised in Trujillo, Peru and has lived in the Raleigh area for the last ten years. She is trained in modern dance and Afro Peruvian folklore and has been training and teaching samba for the last several years. She serves as assistant director for the NC Brazilian Arts Project and currently travels throughout the east coast performing and showcasing Samba No pe´ at various festivals and events.
Lulu Diaz has a dance background in Ballet, Jazz, Modern and Ballroom dance. She started dancing Salsa when she was little, but it wasn’t until 2014 that she started learning Afro-Latin dances more formally. She is currently living in Chapel Hill, NC and she is the director of Baila Beats Academy, founded in 2019. Her goal is to help people heal and feel alive through dance.
Tracey Durbin recently moved to Durham from Portland, OR, where she has been an integral part of the Portland dance scene for 25 years. She has choreographed and taught for Northwest Dance Project, BodyVox Dance, Oregon Ballet Theater and Reed College. Most recently, Tracey was one of four choreographers chosen for the Northwest Dance Project ‘Chopin Project’ with acclaimed pianist Yekwon Sunwoo and she is also a featured artist in the book ‘Beauty Is Experience: Dancing 50 and Beyond’ published by Stance on Dance in 2017.
Rachelle Feldman grew up studying and performing ballet at Maryland Youth Ballet with national acclaimed teacher Hortensia Fonseca, and modern dance with Anne Waugh Allan among others . She also served as Ballet Mistress for Columbia Dance Theater and taught creative movement, modern dance, and ballet to children. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Dramatic Arts – Dance at the University of California, Berkeley where she received the Julia Payne Award for Dance Scholarship and Choreography. Rachelle danced for various modern choreographers in the San Francisco Bay Area and taught ballet and contemporary classes for adults at Shawl-Anderson Dance Center before moving to Durham in late 2016.
Laura Grant is a movement-based performer and educator based in Durham, NC. After 15 years away (in MN and NYC), moved back home to the Triangle in 2017. Laura has been mindfully moving since age 3, studying various modern dance, somatic, and improvisational forms, and performing as a professional contemporary dancer in NYC and Minneapolis. Laura holds an MS in Education from Bank Street College (NYC) with a focus on early development, as well as certifications in adult yoga, youth yoga, and infant developmental movement. She has been teaching students ages birth-adult since 2006. Laura’s movement and teaching practices are deeply intertwined and help her cultivate deep listening, empathy, embodied intelligence, compassion towards herself and others, curiosity, and a strong sense of play..
Jeanie “Marisol” Ibañez
Jeanie “Marisol” Ibañez has a life-long love of dance, studying ballet and dancing in musicals and summer stock while at university. She has choreographed and danced for the Kansas City and Orlando Lyric Operas, as well as for Epcot Center and other venues. Her flamenco and Spanish dance studies began in NYC at Ballet Hispanico. She has studied in Spain with Milagros Mengibar, Raphael Campallo, Isabel Quintero, and in the U.S. with Carlota Santana, Belen Maya, Anna Menendez, Carmela Greco, and others. Jeanie endeavors to share her enjoyment of the dance with her students.
Jessi Knight majored in dance at Duke University. She taught and performed in the Triangle before moving to Denver, CO to dance professionally with Cleo Parker Robinson Dance. After four years, Jessi moved back to NC, where she has continued to perform and teach at local studios and Duke University.
Emylice Landestoy hails from the Dominican Republic, where she trained from an early age in a variety of dance styles, including ballet, jazz, hip hop, modern and contemporary. She moved to NYC in 2011 and earned her BA in Dance with a minor in Exercise Science from CUNY Lehman College. While in college Emylice trained intensively in Katherine Dunham technique of Afro-Caribbean dance and was awarded numerous awards and scholarships. She performed and presented work in NYC and also worked as a Dance Specialist at the Y.
Laylianah Mahasin has been devoted to the art of Belly Dance for over 11 years. She has studied many styles of belly dance with world-renowned instructors, and is excited to share her knowledge and passion with her students. Laylianah emphasizes the importance of correct technique, while providing a fun and supportive atmosphere for students who are just discovering what amazing belly dancers they can be!
Killian Manning has been teaching dance to people of all ages since 1988. She first taught, performed, and choreographed in Boston, where she was a member of Susan Rose and DanceWorks, serving on the faculties at Radcliffe, DanceWorks and the Boston Conservatory. As Artistic Director of killianmanning/
Hannah Nicole Marr, from Raleigh, NC, is a College and High School graduate of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA). She is a company member with local dance companies ShaLeigh Dance Works and OM Grown Dancers. Hannah choreographs and teaches for studios and schools around the area, and is on faculty for the OM Still Growing Company, as well as the TRAIN pre-professional program at Threehouse Studios. Hannah has been honored to perform works set by Doug Varone, Paul Taylor, Martha Graham, Wayne McGregor, Juel D. Lane, and many more.
Nicolette (Nicki) Miller
Nicolette (Nicki) Miller studied ballet, tap, and jazz as a young girl and later focused primarily on ballet and modern. She studied at the Virginia School of the Arts and at the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Conservatory of Music and Dance. Nicki has performed with several Triangle-area dance companies, including ShaLeigh Dance Works.
Anthony (AJ) Nelson, Jr.
Anthony Nelson, Jr. (“Ay-Jaye”) is a Durham performer, choreographer, and instructor. He began his dance training at Hillside Performing Arts High School and has since branched out, broadening his movement vocabulary and technique with a focus on modern movement, release technique, hip-hop, and jazz influenced styles. Ay-Jaye has performed works for Chris Grant, renowned choreographer for Beyoncé, Christian Von Howard of The Von Howard Project New York, ShaLeigh Dance Works (Jazz at Lincoln Theatre NY), and has performed around the Triangle with various independent dance organizations. He continues to instruct, perform, and create art to build deeper bonds and uplift his community.
Kathleen O’Melia started tap dancing at the age of 12 with her teacher and mentor Gene Medler. She is an alumna of the North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble and an active member of the Southern Open Rhythm Collective Leadership group. She loves sharing her passion for tap with her students.
Steven James Rodriguez Velez
Steven James Rodriguez Velez hails from Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, where he began his movement studies with the martial arts. While a student at the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras, he studied ballet, jazz, and contemporary dance intensively and performed and choreographed with HINCAPIE and ANDANZA dance companies. Steven came to the Triangle area in 2015 and has been teaching both children and adults at local studios. He performs with several area dance companies, including Black Irish, Blackbox Dance Theater, and OM Grown Dancers.
Isabelle Sanchez originally began her dance studies at Beckley Dance Theatre in West Virginia. She continued her training in Durham, North Carolina with the Durham School for Ballet and the Performing Arts under the direction of Boleyn Willis-Zeger where she starred in countless storybook ballets. Isabelle was also accepted to attended summer training programs at the prestigious American Ballet Theatre and Ballet Arizona. She has performed as the corps de ballet with Charlotte Ballet Company and received leading roles with the Charlotte Ballet Academy. Her favorite dancing roles include Polly in Pineapple Poll, Wendy in Peter Pan, the title role in Cinderella and Little Mermaid, and lead soloist in Yamato. She has been invited to work alongside choreographer Tracey Durbin at the ADF Samuel Scripps Studios on various choreographic projects and as a guest artist in the Wake Forest Dance Festival in the cast of Danzon, choreographed by renowned choreographer Pedro Ruiz. She also has studied and performed a variety of contemporary repertory rooted in the research of Shaga and the Gaga Movement Language as well as William Forsythe’s Improvisation Technologies under the direction of ShaLeigh Comerford.
Jenae Selden is a Multimedia Performing Arts BFA graduate from Lehman College. In 2017, Jenae was awarded the Joan Miller Legacy Award for her exemplary vision, leadership, dedication, as well as her academic and creative efforts. She is a former company member of Herbert H. Dance Company. Jenae performed in numerous dance festivals in NYC, including MODArts Collective Thread in February 2019.
Nischitha Shetty is a well-known Bollywood choreographer in the Triangle. Her experience spans over 20 years, and she has been teaching dance for the last 10 years. She was introduced to Indian classical, folk and Bollywood dance styles at a young age. Her passion for Bollywood kept on growing because of the versatility it offers. She choreographs and performs regularly at various events – from small private parties to big international festivals. She likes to incorporate different dance styles like Indian folk, Indian classical, contemporary and hip-hop into her dance routine. She works well with adults, children and dancers of all levels. Her classes are clearly structured, well researched and fun!
Jose Velasquez grew up dancing, but it wasn’t until high school that he attended his first hip-hop class. Largely self-taught since then, he has had the honor of opening for several big events, including The Gospel Choice Awards in Atlanta, 102 Jams Super Summer Jam, KC and Jojo and New Edition, and more.
Erika Bianca Vinson
Erika Bianca Vinson began performing hip-hop with Pamoja Dance Company at The University of Georgia. She continued her training with Culture Shock Chicago NFP, through which she met and began touring with recording artist Kid Sister. She has performed in several music videos, international festivals, and on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon (NBC). Erika has been an EC Behavioral TA in Chapel Hill for the past two years. She has been a dance teacher for five years and a kids’ dance instructor for one year.
Lori has always had a passion for dance and fitness, so dance fitness was a natural fit. Lori has been teaching dance-inspired fitness classes since 2010. She is an AFAA (Athletics and Fitness Association of America) certified group exercise instructor and she holds speciality certifications in Barre Above and Balletone fitness. When she is not dancing, Lori works as a math education specialist, serving students in grades K – 12.
Stephanie Blackmon Woodbeck
Stephanie Blackmon Woodbeck is a dance artist and teacher based in Hillsborough, NC. Stephanie has been teaching babies through adults for over 15 years and is certified to teach Yoga, Pilates, and the Progressing Ballet Technique. She earned her BFA in dance from UNC Greensboro and her degree in massage therapy from the Swedish Institute College of Health Sciences in New York City. She is a passionate performer, choreographer, and teacher. Follow her movement explorations on social media at @namastephnc and at www.namastephnc.com.