SOLE Defined SOLE Stepz Arts Education Programing
SOLE Stepz Arts Education promotes positive self-expression, using percussive dance (tap and body percussion) as a tool to educate, foster collaboration, and ignite creativity. Our interactive assemblies, workshops, and residencies teach movement qualities and historical information connected to tap dance and body percussion, enhancing students' ability to develop their movement expressions and interpretations. The R.E.M.I.X is an action-packed, rhythmic rollercoaster, that explores the five elements of percussive dance (rhythm, energy, musicality, improvisation, and our x-factor). This immersive performance experience intertwines Hip Hop music, Tap Dance, and Stepping, creating a safe space for students to become both dancer and musician. Speak Up is a 45-minute virtual interactive educational and rhythmic performance utilizing tap dance, stepping, and body percussion to explore the contributions of John Lewis. Speak Up by SOLE Defined is catered for school aged youth grades K-12 taking students through three specific points in the Civil Rights Movement, section 1: Who is John Lewis, section 2: Good Trouble, section 3: The Lewis Effect. Speak Up was commissioned by Young Audience of Eastern PA and New Jersey and PGAHC.
The SOLE Stepz ® residency embodies collaboration, teamwork, and the importance of self-expression. Students' learning outcomes include ways to create choreography, musicality, learning elements of percussive dance, and basic music concepts. Promoting fun and learning through the performing arts, SOLE Grooves teaches basic movements rooted in tap dance and body percussion. Students learn artists lead choreography, creative ways to combine steps, and present their own expressive choreography.
Creative Director for Rhythm Is Our Business
In 2019 I was approached by Quynn Johnson, The Kennedy Center's Local Dance Commission Project awardee, to support the cultivation of a project titled Rhythm Is Our Business. "Rhythm Is Our Business" is a dance film focused on the legacy of African American female tap dancers whose contributions (many unknown) to tap dance have inspired and impacted audiences today. Historically, tap dance has elevated male and white female tap dancers, placing women of color in the background. Today, that narrative has shifted, and female tap dancers of color are gaining visibility-headlining performances, creating new works, and producing their own festivals globally. Rhythm Is Our Business celebrates the vital impact of master female practitioners while furthering the conversation of what's next for tap dance. I was brought in as a Collaborator, Creative Director, and Choreographer.
As the Creative Director cultivating a project to preserve the histories and contributions of women in tap dance in the midst of a global pandemic held an enormous responsibility. This project provided income to artists, crew, and collaborators who have been out of work for 12+ months. It was the first time back in a studio and on stage for many of us. The complexities of curating this project enhanced my skills, appreciation for the performing arts community and provided a lifelong experience for those who participated. RIOB is the first fully commissioned woman-led percussive dance work by the Local Dance Commissioning Project.
The Collaborative Growth Project
I have the priviallage of being an artist collaborator, curator and co-faciliatotor of The Collaborative Growth Project. The Collaborative Growth Project is designed for Arts for Learning Maryland (formerly Young Audiences of Maryland) roster Teaching Artists who are invested in transforming their Teaching Artist practice to include an anti-racist lens while advancing and unpacking their own held beliefs and biases. We believe the best way for us to move forward is to work together: Teaching Artists sharing, unpacking, and investigating the work together. Arts for Learning Teaching Artists will work collaboratively to re-imagine their practice. This could mean working on material from the ground up or investigating, questioning, and unpacking current work to explore how it can be transformed.