Kezia Rolle, Executive Director/Founder of the Jacksonville Centre of the Arts Pre-Professional Dance Program and dance instructor at the Young Women’s Leadership Academy. She has worked as an adjunct dance teacher at LaVilla, Bolles, Virtue Arts and Science Academy as well as an Associate Professor of Dance at Jacksonville University. 41 years ago, Kezia began training at the Academy of Dance under the direction of Donna Freyburg. She is a graduate of Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, 1988. While at DA she was a performer in show choir and dance theatre. After graduation, she accepted an arts scholarship for dance and vocal music at Jacksonville University and received a BFA in 1992. Her career as a professional dancer/singer includes Busch Gardens (Tampa), and Walt Disney World (Orlando) where she performed in “The Magical World of Barbie”, “Beauty and the Beast”, “Mickey’s Starland”, “The Diamond Horseshoe”, Christmas parades, the Super Bowl XXXIX as a showgirl for Patti LaBelle and Tony Bennett, and many convention shows. At Disney she made history many times over as the only African American singer dancer on the property during her three and a half year stay. She was not only a performer in stage shows, but also did conventions shows in the states and abroad for Disney. While in Orlando, Kezia also was a dancer for the Orlando Magic Basketball Team ’94 and the Citrus Bowl as a half time soloist. Her choreography credits include the Jacksonville Jaguar half-time, fashion shows for the Player’s Wives at Super Bowl XXXIX, the Ritz Theatre, Jack and Jill Beautillion for the past 15 years, choreographer for the YMLA/YWLA Cotillion, a pageant coach for Miss Virgin Islands America who competed in Miss America Pageant (2013) as well as for many others, the local Director for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority’s “Chocolate Nutcracker” and “The Soulful Nutcracker”, 2012 and 2013. Her modeling and acting career includes projects for Sprite, Denny’s, Bud Light, Carnival Cruise Lines, Nations Bank, University of Pittsburgh, and Publix. Florida Premier of the Oprah Winfrey Magazine Tour, Screen Actors Guild (SAG), Leadership Jacksonville Class of 2003, the Onyx Arts and Letters Award for the Florida Region, named as top 25 for Women on the Move in Florida by ONYX magazine, and proudly accepted the title of Top 10 Most Beautiful Women in Jacksonville named by Jacksonville Magazine in 2015. Kezia is passionate about helping people pursue their dreams. Her spirit of cooperation and helping young people is not only an encouragement for our community’s youth, but also serves as an example for her students wherein 100% of her dance school graduates are recognized with awards, scholarships, and jobs around the world. She is a mother of Kaila Justice and Dylan Rolle as well as a proud Mother of Jack and Jill of America, Jacksonville Chapter.

Christa “Fatoumata” Sylla has been sharing the joy of cultural dance with the Jacksonville, Florida community for over 12 years. In 2005 Christa began her professional teaching career with both Cathedral Arts Project and Jacksonville Centre of the Arts’ Pre-Professional Program. In late 2007, she traveled to Guinea, West Africa to study with directors and performers from international renowned companies Gbassikolo and Ballet Djoliba. In addition to continuous study of varying Afro-Dance styles, Christa also served as choreographer for the musical Majigee, which made its debut at Boomtown Theatre in 2005. She wrote and directed her own dance production with members of her company called Mande!: The Evolution from Barefeet to Blue JeansMande! made its debut in 2006. Christa’s dance skills have been featured in numerous music and instructional videos including “Chasing Rainbows” by King Britt, and “Tinkanyi 5 & 6” with master instructor Moustapha Bangoura. Christa has formed international dance relationships with Afro-Dance companies in Port Au Prince, Jeremie, and Jacmel, Haiti as well as in San Jose and Limon, Costa Rica. She frequently travels to both countries for instructional and choreography work.

Joshua Abbott is a 2015 graduate of Jacksonville University with a BFA in Dance. Joshua is also a former student of Jacksonville Centre of the Arts, where he’s been dancing since the age of 8. Joshua has trained in Ballet, Tap, Modern, Jazz, Hip-Hop, and West African. He also have been awarded several scholarships to train at various schools such as: American Ballet Theatre (New York), The Joffrey Ballet (New York), The Florida Ballet, and the Orlando Ballet. During his summer training he’s had the opportunity to be trained by world re-known teachers such as: Lupe Serrano, George De la Pena’, Rossana Serravali, and Brian Reeder. Joshua also had the opportunity to attend several summer intensive workshops with various guest artists such as: Complexions with Desmond Richardson (New York), Tap workshop with Arthur Duncan (Jacksonville, Florida), and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre with Tracy Inman (New York). As being a well-rounded dancer, Joshua had many opportunities to perform for his community: The First Coast Nutcracker 2005-2013, Cinderella Ballet, Sleeping Beauty Ballet, Holiday Pops with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, United Negro College Fund Tribute to Lionel Richie, The Black Expo, which he was awarded the 2013 Grand Prize in the Gospel Competition. Other awards include: 1st place in dance at the ACT-SO (Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics), 2011 Regional Competition, 2nd place Silver Medal Winner (out of 45 dancers) at Nationals in Los Angeles CA., 1st place Regional and Statewide winner at the Omega Psi Phi Talent Hunt 2011, and Mr. Senior Legacy 2013. Joshua is currently the Modern/Ballet/Tap/Stretch and Conditioning instructor at Jacksonville Center of the Arts

Marlon Smith is a native of Jacksonville, Florida. Hip-Hop is where the heart is for Marlon. His style is a fusion between smooth grooves and intricate moves transforming himself into an ultimate powerhouse performer. He has trained in the styles of Hip Hop, Contemporary, Modern, and Ballet with Kollage Dance Troupe, Incorporated (FSU-Tallahassee, FL), A Rhythm Nation (Jacksonville, FL), A Kavin Grant Productions (Jacksonville, FL), Spectrums Entertainment Group (Jacksonville, FL), Systematic/Illite Dance Crew (Jacksonville, FL), Cooper Morgan Dance Theater (Jacksonville, FL), and Megamind Productions LLC. (Jacksonville, FL). Marlon is the Co-Director of i-Move U-Move workshop series and is active with Diamond Squad & Wreckless Dance Crew. He has been a guest choreographer for Lavilla SOTA and the Jacksonville Shark Attack Dance team for 3 years. He has taken 1st class athletics Hip Hop Competition Team to World’s Competition 2015. Marlon currently instructs at Jacksonville Centre of the Arts under the direction of Kezia Rolle as well as Mia Bella Academy of Dance.

Trenton Shakespeare is a 4th year Hip Hop instructor at JCA. He has trained with many talented local choreographers in Jacksonville such as Kavin Grant and Julie Williams. His energy driven, sharp, hard hip hop is loved around the city where he has produced works that has been seen in Orlando at World’s Dance Competition, World of Dance Orlando, and in Paris, France. He continues to improve and dance for WreckLess and Diamond Squad while bringing awesome workshops through his company i-Move U-Move.

Kris Danley is a native of Selma, AL and has been dancing since the age of 16. In 2010, Kris received a full talent scholarship to FSCJ where he was a part of their Danceworks Company. While attending FSCJ he was accepted into Jacksonville University where he received his BFA in Dance In May of 2014. He has studied under the direction of artists such as Bernard Gaddis, Lana Heylock, Suzanne Saltmarsh, Talani Torres, Rebecca Levy, Bj Sullivan, Brian Palmer, Jennifer Muller, Frederick Bratcher, Cari Coble, Stephanie Martinez, and many more.

Val Salnikov was a member of well-known companies Kirov Ballet and Mikhailovsky Theatre in Russia. Val performed in Germany, Russia, Italy, Finland, Spain, and throughout the United States of America. Val taught Ballet at the University of South Carolina, Columbia Music Festival Association, South Mississippi Ballet Theatre, Houston International Ballet Academy, and other known schools for Classical Ballet. Val has successfully collaborated with Wynton Marsalis in the U.S., Mstislav Rostropovich in Europe as well as other internationally respected dancers, choreographers, and musicians from around the world for nearly three decades. Since 2011, Val has served as a Ballet Master Instructor with Jacksonville Center for the Arts and with the Jill Stanford Dance Center. Since joining GIBC, Val has served as Artistic Director and Producer of “From Russia with Ballet”, “The Nutcracker”, and “The Golden Gala”. For more information about Val click here.

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