Pre-Professional Dance Program
West African Level 4
Karen Thornton 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.
She has performed with companies such as the National Dance Theatre of Trinidad & Tobago, The Nanette Bearden Contemporary Dance Theatre, Dance/Brazil, Jubilation Dance Company, Cirque Folkloric Dance Company, Forces of Nature Dance Theatre Co. where she was a principal dancer for ten years and the African American Dance Ensemble under the directorship of Baba Chuck Davis, who is her dance father. Karen is also the co-founder along with Patricia Dye of PAKA Dance Company. Karen has danced as a cultural ambassador at the Centennial Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia. She has worked in collaboration with Rennie Harris Pure Movement, HTChen & Dancers, Ron Brown/Evidence Dance Co. Memphis Ballet, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Company and numerous dance companies from the continent of Africa such as Ghana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, and Senegal.
Horton Level 4
Freddie Moore New Jersey native Freddie Moore began his formal dance training at The Ailey School where he attended the Certificate and Scholarship Programs. Moore has danced with Ailey II, Donald Byrd/The Group, Forces of Nature, Gallman’s Newark Dance Theater, and Blue Mercury Dancing Company. He is the Founder and Artistic Director of Footprints Dance Company. During his 25-year career as a dancer and choreographer, Mr. Moore has amassed credits in musicals, national television shows, music videos, and documentaries. A master teacher of the Horton technique, he conducts artist-in-residence workshops in public and private schools and has taught throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, and the Caribbean. Mr. Moore has developed performing arts curriculum for schools and community-based programs and he works with churches around the world to develop liturgical dance ministries. He has received many honors for community service including commendations from the NAACP, the New Jersey Senate, the National Black Police Association, the Jersey City Community Outreach Team, and the Public Advocate for the City of New York. Mr. Moore is currently the Rehearsal Director for the Ailey Fordham Student Dancers (AFSD) and a Faculty Advisor in the Professional Division. In addition to teaching Horton at The Ailey School, he is also on faculty at the Hudson Repertory Dance Theater and the Educational Center for the Performing Arts.
Sabar Level 3
Born as Myrtle Primus, on the small island of Carriacou, Grenada in the Eastern Caribbean Islands, Mama Andara Koumba constantly felt the beat of Africa, synonymous with her own heart. It was that heartbeat that propelled her to study with the late Winston Fleary, director of The Big Drum Nation Dance which specialized in folk dances from Carriacou. Through these dances, the heritage of our African ancestral ethnic groups who were brought to the island are acknowledged and celebrated by the people. At the age of 17, she began training with the International African American Ballet, (IAAB) in 1979, where she was educated in the traditional songs and dances of the 13th Century Ancient Malian Empire. It was there that she met Baba Obara Wali Rahman, who would later be her spouse, director and artistic/ cultural partner. Following the departure from IAAB, Baba Wali formed a new folkloric dance company by the name of Sabar Ak Ru Afriq, (SARA), which focused on dances, music and culture from the Senegambian Region of West Africa. Within SARA, dance company, Mama Andara Koumba would exemplify the techniques of the Sabar dance styles along with the strategies needed to accomplish them. In 1991, senior elders Drs. Sarah and Scuddie Mcgee, Art Therapist and Psychologist, introduced both Mama Andara and Baba Wali to Mame Fatou Seck of Senegal W. Africa. Mame Seck became the grand elder of Sabar Ak Ru Afriq , later known as Drumsong Society. Under her supervision, both Mama Andara & Baba Wali were initiated into the spiritual practices of traditional healing from Senegal, known as Ndepp. Mame Seck, being extremely insightful, assigned her daughter Mame Oulimata Diop, to teach Mama Andara the songs and dances of the Ndepp. In 2003, Mama Andara began her residency at Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation teaching dance techniques from the Senegambia to youth of varying ages where she worked with students with little or no prior training of the Sabar. From 2001 – present, Mama Andara has taught dances within the NYC public school system while working as a certified educator. Her continual promotion of the power, beauty and strength within African culture is the nucleus of her driving force. Mama Andara strives to honor the legacy of her late Great Aunt Dr. Pearl Primus, Dancer, Choreographer and Anthropologist through her work onstage and in the community.
Horton Level 3
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.
Ballet Level 3
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.
Hip Hop & Commercial Dance Level 4