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Dom-Sebastian Alexis, TheBBoyBallet
Dom-Sebastian “B-Boy Ballet” Alexis is a technically informed artist trained in various degrees of street dances, social grooves, and contemporary techniques. He holds a Dance BFA and Drama Minor from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) and is certified in Bartenieff Fundamentals.
From a young age, Alexis learned rhythm & groove from dancing to soul music with his mother. Prior to studio training, Alexis mimicked dancers from popular television programs like Soul Train. Alexis has had the privilege of providing lecture demonstrations and studio workshops in both the US and the UK.
In 2007, Alexis received the prestigious Street Dance invitation of becoming a RedBull BeatRider. In 2010, Alexis was selected to participate in the Forsythe Project at the American Dance Festival. And in 2012, Alexis became the first Hip-Hop instructor to ever teach at ADF’s Samuel H. Scripps Studios.
Alexis has made television appearances on local and national networks, and has performed on stage as both a contemporary and commercial artist. Although rooted in the south, Alexis has been fortunate to share his talents, skills, and knowledge in amazing cities across the globe. In his personal and professional life, Alexis lives by the code “teaching as a student and learning as a professional.”
Sharita Benson, by S. Benson
“You don’t have to be weird to be different.” While a marketing student at, North Carolina A&T State University, I was frustrated that retail clothing never accentuated my shape. I knew if I wanted better, I needed to make it. So in 2001, for my 21st birthday, I purchased my first sewing machine. With the knowledge I gained in my 8th grade home economics class, my fashion journey began.
While building a career in Corporate America and sewing in my free time, I decided to feed my passion. I was accepted in the Master of Fine Arts program in Fashion, at Savannah College of Art and Design. Then, after a move and a layoff, I decided to pursue my purpose full-time.
I started “by S. Benson” to be able to provide women with an option to be comfortable yet different. My designs adjust to your shape and hide imperfections without being obvious. We should be able look great, in all of our moment. I design “Plus Size clothing for Every Size and EveryBODY.” www.bysbenson.com
John Countryman, Piano/Actor
John Countryman, 24, starred in the North America touring company production of “Million Dollar Quartet,” a Tony Award-winning Broadway show about a get-together at the Sun Records Studio in Memphis, Tenn., on Dec. 4, 1956, of rock legends Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis. Countryman portrays Jerry Lee Lewis.
Countryman, who played piano and sang with a still active rock group, “The Dirty Names,” had auditioned for the role of Lewis, and understudied a short stint in Chicago. “I auditioned again but I hadn’t heard anything so I kinda thought nothing was happening,” he said. By then, “I had to get a job, I was working in a bank.”
He was on their honeymoon when he got the call making him the next Jerry Lewis. “It was crazy,” he said. “It was a dream come true. It was—you can’t imagine. I mean talk about changing your life around. But once, we all got together, this thing became like a family—like everybody looks out for everybody else.”
Countryman had been a fan of Lewis every since he started listening to the music when his mom played golden oldies. “That’s sort of how I got into all that kind of music,” he said. “You get a real sense of how rich it all is. It still rocks, and I love playing the music, being Jerry Lee. The killer. It’s just a great experience, an amazing show.”
Dance Project, based in the Cultural Center in downtown Greensboro, cultivates the field of modern dance in North Carolina, nurturing a community of artists, audiences, and students by providing opportunities for training, performance, collaboration, and employment. The organization has three main components: the NC Dance Festival (a statewide tour of NC dance), the School at City Arts (our community studio), and the Van Dyke Dance Group (our resident dance company).
Originally formed in 1974 in Washington, D.C. by Jan Van Dyke, the organization has been in operation in NC since 1989, inspiring, educating, and entertaining Greensboro and the state through these programs. Now led by Co-Executive Directors Anne Morris and Lauren Joyner, Dance Project believes that communities that have strong arts programs are stronger communities, and that dance training/experience helps to create smart, creative, empathetic, and involved citizens and community members.
Royal Expressions Contemporary Ballet
Princess Johnson is a dancer, choreographer,entrepreneur, and motivator. Her parents always sought out opportunities for her and her siblings to get on stage and use their talents. Princess always seemed to like dance the best, so she took a few lessons as a child, but most of her experience has been in choreography. She has choreographed dances since she was eight years old!
Princess continued to pursue her passion and developed her dance technique training by completing a dance degree at UNCG along with her Business degree as well as an internship with the Richmond Ballet in Richmond, VA. She taught classes at Triple Threat Dancenter in Winston-Salem and High Point and then went on to establish Royal Expressions Contemporary Ballet in 2009. Princess has choreographed four original ballets, has taught hundreds of students, and even led a team to bring world renowned ballerina, Misty Copeland to Greensboro, NC. This year she will be hosting Alicia Graf Mack of Alvin Ailey for an upcoming choreography project. She is a visionary and truly believes in the power of never losing your momentum.
In her spare time Princess enjoys being the wife of Shane Johnson, an aspiring preacher; taking walks; and reading books to continue to learn how to balance her work and personal life. She also has a desire to help others follow their passion through her consulting business simply titled “THRIVE!
Genre: Modern Ballet
Dori Staehle, Rock the Next Stage
Dori is the Founder & CEO at Rock the Next Stage. She is also a musician on a mission: To help talented teens and adults make an impact and earn a solid income. Dori has been in the music business for 16 years but she’s also helped many creatives start or grow their businesses. In addition to booking, management, and artist development, Dori offers business, performance, and ADHD coaching.
Dori is also a percussionist, drum therapist, inspirational and entertaining speaker, and author of the best-selling book, Find Your Divine Rhythm: A Creative’s Success Formula. She plays in the rockin’ band at her church and wherever she can. Life’s short! Might as well rock!
The Storytellers Band
What do you get when you combine the voices of bass and drums, interjected with soulful keys and narrated by the smooth sound of sax and punctuate it all with passion for music? Many, many musical stories told through the fresh and unique sounds of The Storytellers Band.
Why Storytellers? “Everyone wants to hear a good story,” says Gerard Moses, the group’s saxophonist and vocalist, “and a good storyteller captures the attention of everyone in the room.” The members of this phenomenal fusion group convey their unique stories as one melodious unit. Formed in 2009, The Storytellers stay true to both name and vision– whether bringing their unique interpretation to new and classic R&B songs or creating original music with fresh melodies and stirring messages. Using the unifying power of music to eliminate boundaries of age, race, gender and class, The Storytellers Band creates an experience that both entertains and enlightens.
Melding components of rock, blues, gospel, R&B and Latin flavors to forge a unique spin on contemporary jazz, the Storytellers sound has broad appeal. This versatile group has a sophisticated sound that has global appeal while maintaining the familiar feel of old friends. Whether in a packed-out venue or in a small and intimate jazz club, The Storytellers Band will leave a song in your heart and a thought in your mind – many lives, many stories, but one unifying love – music.
Dance Now Cry Later
“Tarayjah Hoey, Founder/CEO of Dance Now Cry Later LLC., was born in Shelby, NC. At a very young age she fell in love with music and her passion for dance had blossomed. She holds a B.A in Dance Education with a Minor in Theatre, International Honors, from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Tarayjah has been a Hip Hop instructor for “At Risk” children (K-8th grade) at Washington Christian Academy, taught Adult Dance Theatre Workshops at various intensive workshops, has taught internationally in China and Italy, and is a former Teachers Assistant for Hip Hop at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is also the National Vice President of Delta Chi Xi Honorary Dance Fraternity Inc. Tarayjah is an independent artist and travels up and down the east coast as a Hip Hop Choreographer. Her passion for dance is lived through her motto: “Dance Now Cry Later.” The Creative collective of DNCL is made up of various local Artists who are on a mission to Educate, Elevate, and Inspire the next generation of dancers around the world. “
Justin the BeLoved
Whether opening for Grammy-award winning artist Fred Hammond in front of thousands, or performing at a private party for a special event, Justin The BeLoved puts his heart and soul into every performance. He connects with the audience in a way that makes them wish the show would
Justin The BeLoved is a singer, musician and producer. His voice has poetically been described as
“coated in honey and kissed by the sun.” His prowess as a producer and performer shine on stage
through the use of his looper pedal, which he uses to build an entire track to sing to live. He has
produced multiple albums, including two of his own which are available on iTunes and Amazon. Over
the course of his career, Justin has gained a reoccurring role playing guitar every week on a major
college radio station in Greensboro, NC where he resides. He has also made multiple television
appearances, performed and hosted countless college events and traveled extensively performing
everywhere from the US to Dubai.
Love & Valor
Love & Valor is a Americana – flavored indie band based out of Burlington, North Carolina. Known for their unique ability to cover popular songs from the likes of Johnny Cash, Mumford and Sons, Coldplay, The Band, and Foster The People, they are now using their creative skills to write and produce their own compositions. Their first video release, Truly Dear, is now available.
The word on Love & Valor is getting around. Their Youtube video “Truly Dear” is gaining more and more viewers every day – 11,000 plus and counting! Truly Dear on SoundCloud has logged over 85,000 listeners as of June 2016 with more adding daily! They have been featured on popular websites such as TheAbsolute.com, TheMusicNinja.com, IHeartMoosiq.com and TheHypeMachine.com.
Each member of Love & Valor is uniquely talented as a writer and singer. They all compose music and share in the process of helping each other create an arrangement that signifies their sound. During live performances they all share the spotlight singing, playing multiple instruments, and helping with background vocals.
When you see them live you will agree that their performances are full of fun and intimate inspiration. Keep an eye on Love & Valor… it’s not every day that you get to see a shooting star!
Steven Messina, Messina Dance Company
Steven Messina is the owner of Messina Dance Co. He conducts weekly classes in Greensboro and Durham with the mission to share authentic representations of cultural dances through classes & presentation: Casino, Son Cubano, Rueda, Afro-Cuban Folkloric, Kizomba, & Bachata.
Sarah Muelbauer, Pianist
Sarah Muehlbauer is currently pursuing both her Master of Music degree in Piano Performance and Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Music Theory at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She studies piano with Dr. John Salmon at UNCG and holds a graduate assistantship as an instructor of undergraduate class piano and choral/instrumental accompanying. She will perform her MM degree recital in April 2017 at UNCG. Originally from Minnesota, Sarah earned her Bachelor of Music degree in Piano at Illinois Wesleyan University where she studied piano with Dr. Kent Cook and was a recipient of the Loran & Frances Cornwell Music Scholarship and Cyril B. Fervert Endowed Scholarship. At IWU, she graduated with honors and was inducted into the Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society in 2015.
At summer programs and other lessons, she has worked with pianists William Wolfram, Awadagin Pratt, Enrico Elisi, Yoshikazu Nagai, Katherine Faricy, Paul Wirth, Ursula Oppens, and many others. Sarah studied abroad in Vienna, Austria in 2014 through IES Abroad and with Frances Zazzara at the Vienna Conservatory. She has performed at the University of Cincinnati’s CCM Art of the Piano Festival, Eastern Music Festival (finalist in solo competition), the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., in parts of New York City, International Chamber Music Academy (Bulgaria), Illinois Chamber Music Festival, and with the Illinois Wesleyan University Civic Orchestra as a winner of the 2012-2013 Concerto-Aria Competition. Sarah has given 5 solo degree recitals, with her undergraduate senior recital being designated as an Honors Recital. Additionally, she currently teaches piano privately in Greensboro through the UNCG Community Arts Collaborative/Private Lessons Program and formerly taught during her undergraduate study in the IWU Piano Preparatory Program.
Penn-Griffin School for the Arts’
Penn-Griffin School for the Arts’ Dance Program, under the direction of Amelia R. Byrd, encompasses students in 6-12th grade. Students begin majoring in dance in 7th grade and if there is a strong interest and ability to continue studies in the high school, students must audition to be accepted to be a part of the high school dance program. Throughout the entire school year, students understand, identify, and apply movement skills to dance; use a variety of thinking skills to analyze and evaluate dance; understand cultural, historical, and interdisciplinary skills in dance; understand and use choreographic principles and processes; and identify, understand, and apply performance values. Students study ballet, jazz, modern, and tap as well as choreography and improvisation. Students have opportunities to work with regional and national guest dance artists as well as participate in two major dance concerts throughout the school year: in the fall and spring semesters.
Amelia Renee Byrd (Memphis, TN) began her studies in dance at Peggy Holden Armstrong’s School of Dance. Upon graduating high school, Amelia continued her studies in dance at The University of Memphis; obtaining a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Theatre and Dance and a Bachelor of Professional Studies in Dance Education. Amelia graduated from UNCG receiving a Masters of Fine Arts Degree in Dance/Choreography and has worked as an adjunct lecturer in ballet and modern dance at NC A&T and UNCG. Amelia also performs and tours with JOYEMOVEMENT; a North Carolina based dance collective.
Claire Ramsey, Stories with Claire
I started storytelling before I could write or even read. My parents, who were big recyclers, kept a good-size box of scrap paper next to the table in the breakfast room in our upstate New York house (see Biographical Links on the Links page.) Mother often recalls how I would take a generous handful of paper, sit at the table, and draw picture after picture after picture, as fast as I could. When I was in high school (that age where you try to find out what to do in life and get it wrong) I thought that meant I should go into art. It was not until graduate school, with my first class in storytelling, that I realized that what I had been doing was telling stories. Training in theater from childhood through college, storytelling classes and workshops, together with seven years as a children’s librarian and extemporaneous storytelling experience as a bard in the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) have all expanded my story repertoire. I learned how stories open the mind to new ideas, new cultures, to the way other people think.
Spontaneous: An Improv Show
The Guilford Technical Community College Theatre program presents “Spontaneous: An Improv Show,” a short-form improvised extravaganza featuring actors and musicians creating art — without a script — based on audience suggestions.
Kristina Szelkowski, Storyteller
Kristina Szelkowski is a professional turned storyteller. She is an artist, avid adventurer, and continual student. Kristina refined her storytelling skills with a BA in Communication Studies from UNC Wilmington. Where she fell in love with the storytelling classes there. Kristina specializes in trickster tales where the characters are larger than life and full of joie de vivre. She ran story time at Barnes & Noble and has been known to tell tale at any provocation. With a gift for gab Kristina is returning to storytelling after her emancipation from the corporate world. She has been enjoying her latest adventures and has never embraced life more willingly!
Alexandra Joy Warren, JOYEMOVEMENT
A duet of ballet dancers from the Winston-Salem Festival Ballet, a professional dance company under the direction of founder and artistic director, Gary Taylor, committed to excellence in the performing arts and providing extraordinary performances that are accessible and enjoyable.
It is our mission to Create and Inspire, Engage and Excite our audiences, as they experience the Art of Dance.
Our funding is achieved through The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, The Winston-Salem Foundation, and Corporate and Individual Sponsorship.
As a Funded Partner of the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, WSFB has partnered with the Winston-Salem Symphony, Piedmont Opera, Reynolda House and the Hanesbrands Ballet in Cinema Series as well as Make a Wish, Take the Lead, Arts for Life and Ronald McDonald House.
Keith L. Williamson, Poet
Keith’s story inspires those individuals who desire to take a step towards living a life of purpose and victories. His message ignites a thought in your mind, lights a fire in your soul and puts pep in your step.
Keith promotes positive community growth. Currently he hosts and organizes a monthly Faith Poetry
Meetup and Greater Christian Meetup, as well as an annual Youth Positive Rap Contest. He can be seen
around town at different open mic events. His next upcoming event will be at Artapalooza at Revolution
Mill on April 1.
speaking awards through the organization.
Patrick Rowe/Art Alliance
Art Alliance was formed in 1998 with the mission of providing quality visual art experiences at affordable prices for adults and children. Local and regional artists, well trained in their fields, teach these creative classes and workshops, which range from pottery and sculpture to drawing and painting. In collaboration with other community and arts organizations, Art Alliance strives to meet the art experience needs of Greensboro’s diverse community.
Patrick Rowe has worked as a professional production potter for more than 20 years. Currently he is working with wood fired, functional stoneware and porcelain. He also works as a production potter for hire in the Seagrove area and across the state. In this capacity he produces thousands of pieces each year suited to the individual design standards of each shop. He has experience working with many different types of clay and firing processes. Patrick is the Studio Manager at Art Alliance of Greensboro where he also teaches adult and youth pottery classes and workshops.
Jennifer McIntyre, Painter
I am a formally trained oil painter who also appreciates acrylics and mixed media. While I thoroughly enjoy painting representationally, my true to form style is abstract and expressionistic. I have been painting (and drawing) all my life. While inspiration can truly come from anything, I am most inspired and influenced by intangible elements, such as the wind or the Autumn season, and feelings, like grief, rapture, or joy.
Fire & Ice, Ice Sculpture
Alan L. Romano, CEC, CCE, ACE, AAC is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY with a degree in Culinary Arts and also a degree in Hotel/Restaurant Management from Westchester Community College in Valhalla, NY.
A native New Yorker, Al has worked in many different types of food service and has over 35 years of experience. Some past positions were Executive Chef of Citicorp North America in New York; Executive Chef at the Danville Regional Medical Center in Danville, VA; Executive Chef at Bermuda Run Country Club in Bermuda Run, NC; Chef -Instructor at Wilkes Community College, Wilkesboro, NC; the Director of Dining Services/Corporate Chef at Homestead Hills Retirement Community in Winston-Salem, NC.
In 1999, Al started Fire & Ice, a company specializing in ice sculptures, manufacturing crystal clear block ice for carving and food styling for film and photo which has won many awards also. Chef Romano has many television and radio credits for cooking, ice carving and just being funny. He has logged hundreds TV hours and is regularly on Fox 8 doing some kind of cooking or “Deal or Dud” segment. He has done some ice sculptures and food design (and has a small part in it) for the National Lampoon movie “Pucked” which was released in 2006 Staring Jon Bon Jovi.
For the past 14 years he has been a full-time Chef Instructor at Guilford Technical Community College where he has been an adjunct Instructor for 10 years prior.
Al is very active in the American Culinary Federation (ACF) holding many office position. And has taught at least 3 Chef and Child classes every summer for the past 20 years. With either cooking, Ice sculpting or Charity motorcycle rides. Chef Al is very active inthe community with charity events and many Veteran causes to name a few.
He is one of the few Certified Executive Chefs (CEC), Certified Culinary Educators (CCE) and Certified Culinary Examiners (ACE) in the area. He has been inducted into the American Academy of Chefs in 2002 (the honor society for the ACF.) Al has won numerous medals and awards including Chef of the Year in 2001 and 2004. In 2012 he has won “The Cutting Edge Award’ from The American Culinary Federation which honors professionals for the service and contributions to the culinary profession. Al was also honored the same year with an award from the American Academy of Chefs for dedication and contributions to the Academy.
Al resides in Winston Salem, NC with wife Stacey and his dog “Princess”. He has two daughters that are working in the food service and two stepsons which have worked in it also. When he’s not teaching, cutting ice, or with his family, Al loves to ride his Harley or shown off his 75 Corvette Stingray.
Chef Albert Schmid, GTCC
Albert Schmid is an author, chef, & educator with over 30 years experience in the food service industry and in the classroom. Chef Schmid is the Director of Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management at Guilford Technical Community College (GTCC) in Jamestown, North Carolina.
Before joining the GTCC team he was the Director of Hotel – Restaurant Management, Beverage Management, Event Management & Hospitality Management at Sullivan University’s National Center for Hospitality Studies (NCHS) in Louisville, Kentucky. In 2010, the Sullivan University Academic Rank Committee granted Chef Schmid the title of Professor. Schmid was a member of the NCHS faculty for 17 1/2 years. He has guest lectured at Purdue University and Western Kentucky University.
Chef Schmid took a Bachelor of Science from Charter Oak State College in New Britain, Connecticut and a Master of Arts in Gastronomy from the University of Adelaide in South Australia with a dissertation titled, The History of Beer in Recipes in the United States. He also earned continuing education credits from University of Wisconsin – Madison, Purdue University, and the Culinary Institute of America. Chef Schmid holds 12 professional certifications.