GARY MAURICE LEWIS
Born and raised in St. Thomas, U.S.V.I., Gary Lewis has forged a singular career in Dance and Theatre in the United States and abroad since 1982. Lewis spent his summers in New York City studying at Dance Theater of Harlem Summer Intensives under the direction of Arthur Mitchell.
Lewis trained professionally at the Washington School of Ballet (TWSB), under the direction of and founder Mary Day. Known nationally and internationally. In 1989 Lewis made his professional debut as a company member of the Capitol Ballet. He had the opportunity to perform the critically acclaimed ballet “The River”, by Alvin Ailey. Lewis was then accepted at the Alvin Ailey American Dance School with a full scholarship under the direction of Denise Jefferson.
In 1997 Lewis joined the acclaimed Ron K. Brown EVIDENCE NYC. He went on to make his Broadway debut in the original cast of “The Lion King” on Broadway becoming assistant Dance Captain. Lewis also performed in the cast of “The Lion King National Gazelle Tour”
Other featured performances include the 1998 Tony Awards with The Lion King; the 2008 Middle Eastern Film Festival Opening and Closing Ceremonies in Abu Dhabi, choreographed and directed by Otis Sallid; and performances of FAUST and CARMINA BARANA with the Colorado Symphony. Gary Lewis has been rehearsal director for The Victory Dance Project since its premiere season.
ASSOCIATE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Christopher Jackson(associate director, dance captain) Maywood, IL He's a graduate of The Chicago Academy for the Arts Dance: River North Dance Chicago(apprentice), Ailey ll, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Theater: Kill Kill or Die!, Freedom the Musical, Disney's The Lion King National Tour, The Wiz(Broadway 40th Anniversary Concert), Dreamgirls the Musical(DTC). He is currently on faculty at The Ailey School and New York University. In 2008 danced for President Barack Obama at The Kennedy Center. He serves as judge and Master of ceremonies for National Dance Showcase Competition. He is excited to be apart of Victory Dance Project as an original company member.
Aika is a versatile dancer, trained in all disciplines of dance. She started dancing at the age of 13 in Osaka Japan. She has pursued many styles of street dance, Locking, Popping, Hip Hop and House. She later began her training in Contemporary, Jazz and Ballet. Upon arriving in NYC, Aika trained at Peridance Capezio Center and Broadway Dance Center.
She is also a member of Reaction Dance Company.
Aika has won in many battles and competitions, such as best 4 in a Locking 2 on 2 battle "GUDASUI", winner of West Japan university championship, MVP in dance competition "BUZZ STYLE."
Her other credits include: soloist in a musical "Sun & Seeds"(Japan), show "ESTADO INGRAVITTO" conceived by Ashlé Dawson who was top 4 of SYTYCD, MV of NY-based band Misterwives “Not Your Way”, Bulgarian pop star Alek Sandar “Let me do it”.
Ty Evans is a NYC bred performer who comes from a family of performers. As a child his hip hop skills were given a foundation by his aunt Mildred "Cherokee" Evans who provided him his first performance at the age of 11 in her talent showcase and continued to train him in her dance organization C.Y.P.A.O.
While continuing to perform in dozens of shows across the east coast as a teen Ty expanded his talents into theatre staring a lead an off Broadway musical named "License To Dream", working with Castillo Theatre and Dzul Dance Company. The following year working with choreographer Desmond Richardson for the All Stars Project 2012 Gala. Ty Evans currently trains and performs with performance crew D Solez, and Fiyah Dancehall Theater. As well as artistic directing, choreographing, and performing for various singers, artist, and groups. With no full-time institution for training, his passion for performing pushed him to travel NYC, learning from its talent, in which landed him to do theater on 42nd street. As well as work with choreographers Desmond Richardson and Tanisha Scott.
Tiffany began her professional dance training at the Harlem School of the Arts and Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School in NYC. At LaGuardia H.S., she performed works by Milton Myers, Adam Barruch, Sidra Bell, and Pedro Ruiz. Upon graduating from LaGuardia, she received the Dr. Randolph A. Goodman Award for Excellence in Dance.
Tiffany received her BFA in Dance from Florida State University where she performed works by Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Darshan Bhuller, and Gerri Houlihan. She attended the American Dance Festival in 2011 as the assistant to Gerri Houlihan and performed works by Gerri Houlihan, Ming-Lung Yang, Leah Cox and Trebien Pollard.
From 2013-2014, Tiffany performed with the International Tour of West Side Story, directed and choreographed by Joey McKneely. While in New York City, Tiffany was a company member of Nathan Trice/RITUALS Dance Theater and she recently performed in "La Medea", directed and choreographed by Yara Travieso.
Pierre Jefferson, was born in Haiti. He is a choreographer and an international dancer who recently danced through out France. He has also danced for many big companies in Haiti such as Digicel and Ministère de la Culture, as well as dancing for Chris Brown and Lil Wayne.
I was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. I grew up doing competitive gymnastics for most of my childhood and was actually training for the 2016 Olympics. I realized that gymnastics wasn't my real passion and that dance had my heart. So at the late age of 16 I decided to pursue dance instead of gymnastics.I trained at local studios in Maryland focusing in mainly ballet, jazz, and lyrical. I knew dance was my calling when I was placing and/or winning dance competitions my first year.
I knew I had to move to the big apple to expand my dance horizon and get the best training I could find. So as soon as I graduated high school I moved In the middle of Manhattan and started the training program at Broadway Dance Center.Training under people such as Derek Mitchell, Phil Orisano, Jamie Salmon, and Neil Schwartz has improved my dancing tremendously. Now that my program is finished I want to take classes at other studios and continuing my growth as a person and dancer.
Major began studying dance at Decatur School of Ballet and Dekalb School of the Arts in Atlanta, Georgia. He continued his dance training and graduated from Point Park University and also trained at The Alonzo King Ballet School, The American Ballet Theatre, and was a fellowship student at The Ailey School. He has also performed with The Francesca Harper Project, Opus Dance Theatre Company and was a member of Ailey II under the direction of Sylvia Waters.
Mr. Nesby was also a member of Ballet Hispanico. He has performed in various musicals such as a regional production of Chicago and Apollo Club Harlem at the world famous Apollo Theatre. Mr. Nesby has also performed on television, commercials, and movies such as America’s Got Talent.
Marissa graduated from George Mason University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance. She received the Mason Achievement Award 2011-2015 and the Kevin Campbell Summer Scholarship in 2014. While at Mason she had the opportunity to participate in guest artist choreography including Mark Morris and Ulysses Dove under the direction of Alvin Ailey’s Hope Boykin. She has performed with local NYC companies including Impact Movement Collective, Jessica Gaynor Dance, and Vissi Dance Theatre, with which she toured internationally. She is a Certified Exercise Fitness Specialist and a ballet teacher locally on Long Island. This is her second year with Victory Dance Project.
Saleem Abdullahi- started dancing at the age of 14 at DeKalb School of the Arts (DSA) and McClendon School of Dance in Atlanta, GA. After graduating DSA, Saleem attended Fordham University/ The Ailey School’s B.F.A program. While attending Fordham/Ailey, he received scholarships to Dance Theatre of Harlem and The National Ballet School of Canada’s summer intensive programs.
Ailey allowed Saleem to train and perform works by world renowned teachers and choreographers such as Christopher Huggins, Nacho Duato, William Forsythe, and many more. Upon graduation, Mr. Abdullahi apprenticed with Complexions Contemporary Ballet before joining a small ballet company based out of New Jersey. Saleem has gone on and performed in regional theatre musicals, commercials, and freelanced with many choreographers. Currently, Saleem serves a guest teacher with many dance studios in the tri-state area and with Dance Theatre of Harlem’s DTB Outreach Program.
PETRA DUŠKOVÁ, DIS
Petra Dušková Dis is powerful and charismatic dancer originally from the Czech Republic. Back up dancer, soloist, company memer back at time with Pop Balet company/CZ. In 2013 graduated from dance conservatory called Taneční Centrum Praha/Dance Center Prague and got her diploma in dance - Dis.. After graduation 2013 in Italy recieved 2years full scholorship for Certificate Program at Peridance Capezio Center from Igal Perry. She graduated from Peridance Capezio Center in 2015 and got her certificate. Since 2008 she had chance to travel the world with World Dance Movement and be as an assistant to Michele Assaf, Desmond Richardson, Bruno Colinet. She was an assistent to a Cheryl Copeland mean while she was setting a piece for Alvin Ailey school in 2015. After graduating from Peridance she have been working with Forces Of Nature Dance Theater, Abarukas, Azul Dance Theater, Zen Space dance company and Victory Dance Project.
Erica Johnston trained in her early years with Deanna Doty at the Champaign Ballet Academy. She performed soloist and principal roles with the Champaign Urbana Ballet in many full-length productions including The Nutcracker, Coppelia, and Swan Lake. In 2010, Erica wasawarded the Presidential Scholarship from Butler University to pursue her BFA in Dance Performance. As a first year student at Butler,Erica won the “Outstanding Freshman Dance Major” award, and in subsequent years received multiple departmental honors and scholarships. She has studied with the Joffrey Ballet, Paul Taylor Dance Company, and LINES Ballet under renowned teachers such as Ruth Andrien, Susan McGuire, Alonzo King, Maurya Kerr, and Sandrine Cassini.
In addition to performing in many classical ballets at Butler, she appeared with select members of Butler Ballet in a production of Paul Taylor's Le Sacre du Printemps: The Rehearsal staged by Susan McGuire, as well as the world premier of Gustavo Ramirez Sansano's En Camino. She graduated from Butler University in May 2014. Some of her most recent professional credits include Harlem Live! At the Apollo and a performance with the Harlem Creates Music Festival at Riverside Park. Erica also freelances as a costume designer and has designed and/or worked wardrobe for many companies including Jose Limon, Complexions, the Ailey School, Mook Dance Company, and Marymount Manhattan. She runs her own business under the title "Pointe Creations".
Danilo started dancing at the age of 12 in the community program Diversidança in Brazil. Under the guidance of Rodrigo Cândido, he won multiple awards and was invited to join the traditional Estúdio de Ballet Cisne Negro. After graduating from the Escola do Teatro Bolshoi in Brazil, Danilo worked as a contemporary dance teacher in Estação Cultural Rio do Sul and created pieces for Cia das Artes, Bolshoi, and Diversidança.
Among numerous awards, he won the Fidifest and for two years, the best dancer award in the Goiás International Festival, a major dance competition in Brazil. In 2016, he was selected from 700 dancers to perform his own original choreography at the Tanzolymp Gala in Germany, sharing the stage with dancing legends as Olga Smirnova. In New York City, Danilo performed as an awardee in the Allen Fields Gala and is elated to be part of the Victory Dance Project.
Rachel Neitzke (Philadelphia, PA) has gained much of her training through Koresh Dance Company and is an original member of the Koresh Youth Ensemble. She received her BFA in dance from The University of the Arts and also trained at Joffrey Ballet School as a Jazz/Contemporary Trainee. She has had the opportunity to perform works by Milton Meyers, Andrea Miller/Gallim Dance, Mark Haim, Douglas Becker, Jesse Zarritt, Sidra Bell, Meredith Rainey, Roni Koresh, and Tommie Waheed-Evans. This is Rachel’s first season with Victory Dance Project.
Born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, Larah Pamplin is now a dancer and teacher in New York City. A graduate of Pace University’s BFA Commercial Dance Program, she recently finished dancing in the cast on Holland America Cruise Line’s ms Eurodam. Larah has assisted choreographers such as Rhonda Miller at dance conventions and has work-shopped with Michael Rooney and Jackie Sleight. She has performed on camera for the New York Film Academy and New York City Salon. Larah is a co-founder/choreographer of the choreographic dance show EMERGENCE, an opportunity for Pace University students to perform and choreograph. You may have seen Larah perform at half time during many San Antonio Spurs and Silver Star games. Since graduating Pace University, Larah hopes to be able to share her knowledge of the industry with young students.
Hayley began studying dance at International Ballet Theater in Kirkland, Washington. She continued her training at Pacific Northwest Ballet, Alonzo King Lines Ballet, San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, Pittsburgh Ballet Theater and a fellowship student at The Ailey School. Hayley has performed works from Maurice Hines, Michael Thomas, Vernard Gilmore, Christopher Huggins and Jeffrey Page. She was selected to perform Memoria with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in Seattle at The Paramount Theater and in New York for their City Center season. Hayley was an ensemble dancer at the Grand Ole Opry with the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. She has also made an appearance as a featured dancer on Law and Order C.I.
Karen Niceley attended the Jones-Haywood School of Ballet of Washington, DC. and later received her BFA in Dance Education at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Karen’s professional credits include work with: Dance Theatre of Harlem, Michael Mao Dance Company, Koresh Dance Company, Metropolitan Opera, Cirque Du Soleil, and the Broadway National Tour of The Color Purple. Karen is an instructor of Vinyasa Yoga and recently started her own company Niceworld Movement. She is also a Co-founder of Gritty Cherries, Inc., a non for profit production company. Karen currently teaches dance, yoga and empowerment workshops for various community based organizations and schools in New York City, while guest teaching, choreographing and performing with Keith Lee Dances of Lynchburg, VA and Collage dance Collective of Memphis, TN.
William Briscoe begins his dance training at the Repertory Dance Company of East Harlem at age 10. He went on to further train at LaGuardia High School of Music and the Performing Arts. He later received his BFA in dance from The Juilliard School. Mr. Briscoe became a leading member of Aszure Barton & Artists in 2003. He performed with Mikhail Baryshnikov's for Hells Kitchen Dance for 2 seasons. Toured with Robert Battle's Battleworks. He joined the abcdancecompany in St. Polten, Austria and Geneva, Switzerland. Briscoe has danced for Oui Danse; Kyle Abraham In Motion; Vogue Evolution; Chicago Dancing Festival; and Roger C. Jeffrey. Currently, he's on dance faculty at Adelphi University. William has performed with Victory Dance Project since its beginnings.
Martell Ruffin (Chicago, IL) founded by Pierre Lockett began his formal dance training at the Joffrey Ballet Chicago in 2009. Later he attended “The Chicago High School for the Arts” (Chiarts) under the direction of Lisa Willingham, former dancer of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. Mr. Ruffin has attended dance intensives at Joffrey Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Complexions, and received first place in the all-city NAACP ACT-SO Competition 2011 while dancing in Chicago. From 2013 Mr. Ruffin has trained on Scholarship at the Ailey school. He has performed works by Lisa Willingham, Earl Mosley, Darrell Grand Moultrie and Matthew Rushing among others.
Member of Eleone Dance Theatre, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, and is currently a member of Camille A. Brown & Dancers
Compania Nacional de Danza, Dresden Ballet, Opera Ballet de Lyon, LA Dance Project and The Jessica Lang Dance Company
Company member Ailey 11, Dallas Black Dance Theater, and Philadanco. the Merropolitan Opera, The Rockettes, Shuffle Along on Broadway
Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane company, Spiderman on Broadway, Princess grace Award recipient, Super Fly The Musical, City Opera
The Metropolitan Opera, Philidanco, Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, HBO's Boardwalk Empire, American Hustle, American Dance Machine 21, on Broadway in After Midnight and Shuffle Along
2012 winner of the French 'So You Think You Can Dance, STEPS on Broadway and the Westchester Ballet, choreographers such as Derek Mitchell, Vienna InternationalBallet Company
She has performed works by Darrell Moultrie, Francesca Harper, Ursula Payne and David Parker, Good Morning America, in music videos by Hettie Barnhill, a Bollywood featured film "ABCD"
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from The Juilliard School, Arias Dance at Jacob's Pillow, Springboard Danse Montreal and the Gaga Intensives, Performed the works of Pina Bausch, William Forsythe, Ohad Naharin, Jose Limon, Merce Cunningham, Jill Johnson, Andrea Miller, Alex Ketley
Amazing Grace (Bank of America theater,) Carnival (Goodspeed,) West Side Story (West End). Opera: Enchanted Island, Armida (Met Opera,) Aida (LA Opera.) Carmen (Arizona Opera.) Film: Something New. Companies: Philadanco, Jazz Antiqua & The Lula Washington Dance theater
Studied with the Dance Theater of Harlem and the San Francisco Ballet. A memeber of Ailey Dance Theater, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Shen Wei Dance Arts, Sidra Bell Dance New York, Post:Ballet, and Alonzo King/LINES Ballet, and Bill T. Jones' FELA!, Hamilton The Musical
The Lion King, In The Heights, Heat Wave:The Jack Cole Project at the Queens Theater, and Jennifer Muller/The Works from 2003-2013