DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION AND HUMANITIES
Chris Berry is an actor, director, professor, and dialect coach. He received his BFA in Acting from North Carolina A&T (‘08) and his MFA in acting from Brown University/Trinity rep (‘11). He serves as the President-elect of the Black Theatre Network As the Vice President of the Black Theatre Network, he has planned two national conferences, Black Theatre: Unapologetically Black (Winston-Salem, 2019) and Black Theatre: Radical Longevity (2020, Postponed until 2022). He has also planned the Black Theatre Network’s online event Black Theatre Week.
Prior to becoming the acting Director of Education, he served as the Program Director of the Black Arts Institute, a partnership between the Billie Holiday Theatre and Stella Adler Studio of acting. His dialect coaching work includes P-Valley (Starz), The Hot Wing King (The Signature Theatre, Off-Broadway), Heels (Pre-Production, Starz). As an actor, he has had the pleasure to work at The Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, Playmakers Repertory Company, The National Black Theatre, Trinity Repertory Company as well as many others.
YAA PROGRAM MANAGER
Karen Thornton (West African instructor and Dance Africa PPTP Director) hails from Brooklyn, New York and proud of it. She started her dance training at the age of five after seeing a production of Swan Lake which inspired her. She has started dance at the Clark Center for Performing Arts, Broadway Dance Center (New York & Japan), Steps, Martha Graham School, Dance Theater of Harlem, Brooklyn College, and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center where she was a merit scholarship recipient and a member of the Alvin Ailey 3rd Company.
RONALD K. BROWN,
BRIANA REED (Ballet 3 instructor)
ELENA COMENDADOR (Ballet 4 Instructor)
FREDDIE MOORE (Horton Modern 3 & 4 instructor)
COURTNEY COCHRAN (Ballet 4 Instructor)
M. Primus-King (AKA) Mama Andara Koumba (Sabar Level 3 Instructor)
Charles hails from South San Francisco, CA. He started dancing with tap at Schumacher’s School of Dance and later began to expand his dance experiences at the ODC School in San Francisco, The Rites of Passage Program in Oakland, California, and the Howard University Dance Major Program. After receiving his Bachelors from Fisk University, he attended The Ailey School for four years. Charles has culminated training in Ballet, Jazz, Horton, Haitian, Hip Hop, and Graham techniques.
He has worked with known artists such as Ephrat Asherie, Kim Bears-Bailey, Darshan Bhuller, Hope Boykin, Clifton Brown, Jacqulyn Buglisi, Thang Dao, Amy Hall, Francesca Harper, Jonathan Lee, Ray Mercer, Earl Mosley, KT Nelson, Troy Powell, Tiffany Quinn, Matthew Rushing, Luis Salgado, Kathy Smith, and Latanya D. Tigner, Deborah Vaughan, and Brenda Way. This is Charles’ first season with Evidence.
Shaylin was born in Lanham, Maryland trained at Duke Ellington School of the Arts under the instruction of Charles Augins and Katherine Smith. She obtained a BFA in Dance with a concentration in choreography and performance from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2019. While in North Carolina, her choreography was featured in the National Black Theater Festival (Winston Salem, NC 2019).
Ms. Watson is a recipient of the Evidence dance workshop series Beth Young Scholarship and has also received scholarships to intensives such as American Dance Festival and University of North Carolina School of the Arts. She has performed works by Choreographers such as Clarice Young, Ronald K. Brown, T Lang, Christopher Huggins and Marcus White and Shen Wei. Shaylin is going into her second season with Ronald K. Brown Evidence a Dance Company.
BABA WALI (Sabar Level 3 instructor and Musician)
Throughout his years as a Master Journeyman artist he has had the opportunity to be a student of many Great Masters of African Music, Drum, Dance and Spiritual Sciences as well as Black Theatre and has always sought ways and means of bringing the light of that knowledge into our African American Communities. To his credit he has written and directed several African choreo-drama’s that were produced at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, La Mama’s Theatre and the Museum of Natural History in years gone by and has several recordings to his credit. He has made significant contributions to the development of DanceAfrica from its inception to the present as well as performing on stages National and International throughout the years. For the past 25 years he has been a distinguished member of The DanceAfrica Council of Elders. Baba Obara Wali Rahman Ndiaye Brings over 45 years of Teaching African Drum, Music and Dance experience to the table for the benefit of our Communities.
Obara Wali Rahman Ndiaye since his early years of study continues to be a pacesetter in the world of African Arts and Sciences. He proficiently plays a variety of traditional folkloric instruments, sansa, kalimba, mbira, tambin (flute), conga drums, djembe, djun djun, kutiro and bougarabou, tama and the sabar drum orchestra. Over the last 10 years or so he has been working with Youth in School and community settings to bring the rich cultures of Africa into their lives for personal growth, artistic appreciation of World cultures and heritage. Rahman has been active
Percussionist and Composer Rasaan ‘Talu’ Green’s performances include ones with Fela! on Broadway, the Brooklyn Nets, Sousatzka the Musical, and MAZE, along with band collaborations with Ms. Patti Labelle, Ms. Lauryn Hill, The Roots, Aloe Blacc, and Estelle. Green has performed globally in Africa, North America, Australia & New Zealand, and Europe. He is a resident musician with Chop & Quench and Resura Arkestra, and provides musical arrangements for dance companies and master workshops throughout New York City. He holds a BFA in Music from Long Island University.
Lisa was born in the Bronx and brought home to Brooklyn two days later. She grew up there, and began commuting to Manhattan when she was eleven, to study dance with The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre and eventually attended her beloved alma maters, High School of Performing Arts (now called Laguardia High School of Music and the Performing Arts) and The Juilliard School, where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Theatre.
She enjoys a career in acting, on stage and in television and films. Lisa has guest starred on network episodics including, CBS’s Bull, Elementary, Madam Secretary, Law and Order SVU, Saints & Sinners, The Quad and Notorious. Among her stage performances: on Broadway, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, Jubilee at Arena Stage, Reparations, The Billie Holliday Theatre, Richard III, The Delacorte Theatre, Heliotrope Bouquet, Playwrights Horizons, Earth & Sky, Second Stage. Her starring film credits include, Tyler Perry’s Medea’s Family Reunion, HBO’s A Lesson Before Dying, Disappearing Acts, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, The Sin Seer, Having Our Say:The Delany Sisters First Hundred years, Christmas Wedding Baby, First Impression, and A Christmas Blessing.
Lisa faithfully posts her vigorous healthy mind/spirit/body fitness lifestyle practice on social media, encouraging daily self care as a way to a more loving, empowered and vibrant community. She shares her passion for wholeness health, fortified by spiritual truth and a consistent daily practice, as a keynote speaker all over the country, educating and inspiring audiences. Formerly an Artist in Residence at the Harlem School of the Arts and currently on staff at The Freeman Studio of Acting and The Youth Arts Academy of The Billie Holiday Theatre in New York, Lisa offers private acting coaching as well as masterclasses for college theatre students and professionals.
Lisa is the joyful mother of two stunningly loving, highly creative and intelligent people.Baba Wali was born in 1947 and has been involved in the Performing Arts since the age of three. As a child he performed at Church socials, community and school talent shows singing and dancing into his teen years…For the Past 50 years or more his focus has been in the realm of African Traditional Arts, Cultural Dance ,Music and Philosophy.
CHERIE CORRINE RICE
Cherie Corinne Rice has served as the Head of Voice and Speech at the Professional Performing Arts School in Manhattan since 2014. Rice also holds Voice department faculty appointments at the Graduate Acting Program of Columbia University, the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, and the Southeastern Summer Theatre Institute.
As a dialect director, Rice has coached productions for Audible.com, Long Wharf Theater, Huntington Theater Company, Lyric Stage Company, Capital Rep, California Shakespeare Festival, NYC Fringe Festival and Lean Ensemble Theater in South Carolina.
Rice is most known for her acting work on the Pop Network/Hulu comedy series, Nightcap. Her stage work includes Red Bull Theater’s White Devil Off-Broadway, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis’ Romeo and Juliet, The Winter’s Tale, and Othello; Viola and Sebastian in Twelfth Night at Trinity Rep in Rhode Island. Rice continues to build her directing credits including “Night’s Dream” an adaptation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Exit The King by Eugene Ionesco.
This winter she will adapt and direct Romeo and Juliet for a live virtual performance. Rice is a graduate of the Brown University/Trinity Rep MFA Acting program and UC Berkeley’s Theater and Performance Studies program.
Everyman Theatre 2020-2021: Berta, Berta! in the role of Berta Broadway: Anges in The House That Will Not Stand, Spring 2017 Reading at Manhattan Theatre Workshop; The Narrator in A Season to Unravel, Signature Theatre’s workshop production. Regional Highlights: Chell in Detroit ’67, McCarter Theatre and Hartford Stage; Cass in Well Intentioned Whited People Barrington Stage; Beneatha in A Raisin in the Sun (Arkansas Rep), Fannie Lou Hamer/Coretta Scott King in All The Way St. Louis Rep; and as Camae in The Mountaintop Vermont Stage and Baltimore Center Stage. Television: Season 6 Homeland Showtime Season 3 of I am Homicide Discovery ID.
Voice over and commercially she has been involved with campaigns for Reckitt Benckiser, Golden Corral, Mercedes Benz, and Pandora.
Teaching: Lincoln Center Education, Harlem School of the Arts, The Conservatory for the Dramatic Arts of Film and Television, and The Acting Studio. She is a Hermitage Artists Fellow and just finished writing her first commissioned production of Freebird: The Early Life of Sarah Vaughan for NJPAC Education Assemblies Program.