Celebrating 30 years as an independent female in the performing arts world, Pew Arts & Heritage Dance Advance Awardee, Jaye Allison holds an MFA from Ashwood University, attended Philadelphia College for the Performing Arts (UARTS), and completed a UMass at Amherst certificate in Arts Management. Her training includes: Philadanco, the Ailey School, Rod Rodgers Dance Company, the Performance Institute, and Broadway Dance Center where she was awarded a scholarship. Her teachers included the best in the modern, jazz and tap dance arena, including; Frank Hatchett, Maurice Hines, Hinton Battle and Cecilia Marta. She has trained generations of students in the Delaware Valley and continues to inspire children in the performing arts.
Michaela has trained at various schools including Center Stage, Princeton Dance and Theater, Princeton Ballet, the Rock School, Alvin Ailey, and the Royal Danish Ballet under the direction of Vivi Flindt. She was accepted into Alvin Ailey's Pre Professional Fellowship Program where she trained in West African, Horton, Graham, Ballet, Tap, and Pointe technique. Michaela obtained her Bachelor of Arts in International Management from Franklin University Switzerland where she had the opportunity to serve as Vice President and President of the University’s dance group, Lugano Street Dance. Since moving to the Philadelphia area, Michaela has participated in many shows including The Outlet Dance Project, the Come Together Festival, and more. She currently is a member of Ujima Dance Theater under the direction of Shana El.
Chania Garner trained at various dance studios in Philadelphia and Delaware and joined the Delaware Contemporary Dance Theater at age 21. Her favorite performance to date was when she had the honor of dancing at the International Association of Blacks in Dance conference and she has worked professionally with Anthony Burrell and Christopher Huggins. She greatly enjoys training and teaching the acrobatic arts and has already made her mark on the kids at SSPA!
A Philadelphia native, Pam started a dance performance career at the age of sixteen, when she joined Tap Team Two & Company, under the direction of Robert F. Burden, Jr. Throughout the next 22 years of her own performance, choreography, artistic direction and community arts leadership projects in Philadelphia, the work consistently leads back to percussive dance education. Her first job as an 18-year-old teacher was leading the tap program at Chestnut Street Dance Academy (now Urban Movement Arts) in downtown Philadelphia. In the twenty years since then, she has honed her craft by leading hundreds of classes and directing performing arts programs, for people of all ages, at studios, recreation centers, universities, summer camps, public schools, private schools, festivals, conventions and more on the East Coast. As the artistic director of Take It Away Dance, her choreography has been consistently presented at major venues in Philadelphia and New York, most recently at Symphony Space: Stam-Pede. Her first original jazz composition for tap dance was published in the Philadelphia Real Book, 1st Ed. and 2nd Ed. (2017, 2018). Due to her community-building work in the Philadelphia tap scene and her founding of The Philadelphia Community Tap Project, she has been invited to speak about tap dance and jazz music in Philadelphia, on a variety of nationally-syndicated programs, including Articulate (WHYY) and The Arts Desk (WRTI), and she was recognized in the May 2017 issue of Dance Teacher Magazine. For more, please visit www.pamelahetherington.net.
Tyra hails from Northern New Jersey and is currently a dance major at Temple University. She continues to hone her teaching craft at multiple dance studios in the Philadelphia area. She is the 2018 winner of Mx. Everything.
Liliana Ruiz was raised in Mexico City and started dancing classical ballet at the age of six. When approaching her 13th birthday, she was asked to perform professionally in Culiacan Sinaloa (Mexico). Ever since, Liliana has been actively performing, choreographing and studying a diversity of dances, including flamenco. Her flamenco master teachers in Mexico include Chunny Amaya, Winny Amaya, Cristobal Reyes, Cristina Aguirre, and Mario Maya. Liliana studied classical Spanish Dance with Milagros and Pilar Rioja. Her notable dancing credits include performances in Carmen with opera singer Placido Domingo at the Auditorio Nacional in Mexico City, Premier Club with Julio Iglesias, Noches Españolas (Spanish Nights) with the “Poeta de Granada” (Granada Poet) Manuel Benitez Carrasco. Her experience allowed her to choreograph and participate in plays such as Cyrano de Bergerac by Roberto Sen and Don Juan Tenorio by Gonzalo Vega at the Teatro Helénico, Los poetas que hablan tan alto by Ricardo Brust at Teatro San Jerónimo, and El rey de los gorilas at the Teatro de los Insurgentes. Ms. Ruiz served as Artistic Director for the Centro Asturiano dance ensemble for ten years. This group performed at the magnificent Palacio de Bellas Artes, and had the honor to perform a few times for the King Juan Carlos I of Spain, his wife Queen Sofia, and Prince Felipe of Asturias. Liliana Ruiz taught at the Spanish Academy of Dance Rioja for a few years. She then created her own dance school/company Suspiro Español, which performed twice a year at the Teatro Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. When Liliana moved to the United States in 2000, she joined the company New York Express, and performed throughout the New York Metropolitan area. Shortly after, Liliana started to dance with local companies and in theatres in NY and Philadelphia, such as the Cashama Theatre (Broadway), the Wilma Theater, the Painted Bride, the Suzanne Roberts Theatre, the Annenberg Center, and the Kimmel Center at the International Festival of the Arts. In the USA, Liliana continued her flamenco studies with masters such as Raquel Heredia, Rosario Toledo, Almudena Fernandez, Juana Amaya, Chiqui de Jerez, Antonio Hidalgo, Isabel Bayón, Angel Atienzo, Pilar Ortega, Manuela Rios, La Meira, and Inmaculada Ortega. Ms. Ruiz has performed Classical Spanish dances with the two-time Grammy Award-winning pianist Peter Nero and the Philly POP’s at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, as well as with the Atlantic Bay Symphony, the Pottstown Symphony, the Tulsa Symphony, and the NJ Patriots Symphony directed by Dan Spalding. She also performs with the band La Revancha throughout the USA including NYC, Los Angeles, San Diego, Cleveland, and others.
Mr. Anthony holds a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design from Rutgers University and currently works as a freelance artist and designer. He has been an integral part of our after school program and has served as Program Manager since 2019.
Ben Rosen is a pianist, bass guitarist, and composer working in a variety of genres. A graduate of the Peabody Institute where he studied composition with Michael Hersch, Ben continues to use his Classical training to compose notated music, though with an increasing interest in writing for improvisers that reflects his work as a performer. Initially studying Classical piano with Marcantonio Barone, Ben has spent years developing a voice as an improviser in jazz and avant-garde settings, working with groups such as his duo Surface Destroyer (with trumpeter Daniel Levine), Siris JuJu (with members of the Sun Ra Arkestra), and Nick Millevoi’s Desertion Trio. Since high school, Ben has also played bass guitar with rock groups and singer/songwriters, including The Chairman Dances, Bird Watcher, Off The Orchard, and Snagwing. As an educator, Ben draws on years of experience teaching all ages and styles, as well as his current studies with Robert Durso of the Tabuman approach to piano technique and pedagogy.