Sofía Forero was born and raised in Cali, Colombia. She studied at Joffrey Ballet School, The Taylor School as a scholarship student, and graduated from The Ailey School- Certificate Program- with Honors. She has performed pieces by Merce Cunningham, Paul Taylor, Alvin Ailey, Rena Butler, Earl Mosley, Darrel Moultrie, among others. She founded The Heraclitus Project in 2018 and has presented her choreographic work and productions in renowned venues, including, Ajkun Ballet Theater, Sony Music Hall, Dixon Place, Davenport Theater, Hudson Guild Theater, Union City PAC, Dance On The Lawn Festival, Hudson Valley Festival, and Greenpoint Gallery. Her work has been commissioned by AVA Gallery, Spoke The Hub, Arts On Site, Works On Water and the American Swiss Ballet Company.
Sofía is a GYROTONIC® Trainer, a Zena Rommett Floor-Barre® Certified Teacher, a Teaching Artist at Ballet Hispánico, and has given lectures about "Creativity in Dance and Choreography" to the creative team of Snapchat, in Silicon Valley. She is the author of the research book “Una Danza Para El Cambio Social'', after her development of a healing technique through movement and dance, in a local community of Colombia.
Paige “Queen TuT” Stewart grew up in Queens, New York. She has worked as a dance teacher at various public schools, dance schools and arts centers across the Tri-state area instructing youth, autistic children and mentally disabled adults in movement and dance. Diagnosed with lupus and rheumatoid arthritis at the age of twelve, she continues to move through these challenges, inspiring others and evoking passion through everything she does. She has performed in a wheelchair, crutches and with her cane to demonstrate to her audience that anything is possible. Paige has danced professionally for over ten years for musical artists including Nick Cannon, Fred Hammond, Lupe Fiasco, DMC & Ariana Grande. She teaches hip hop, step, dancehall & Afrobeat dance styles. Paige encourages her students to look within to manifest their “inner performer” while keeping hip hop and street dance history alive.
A Bronx native, Nathaniel Jervis began his dance journey at the age of 8 at Natasha’s Dance School (also in The Bronx) learning ballet, tap, and jazz. Nathaniel received a full scholarship to study with Alvin Ailey and the School of American Ballet, and went on to attend The Urban Assembly School for Performing Arts in Harlem, New York, also on a full scholarship. During this time he was simultaneously awarded full scholarships to train at Dance Theatre of Harlem and Steps on Broadway. Nathaniel subsequently attended The University of The Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As a teaching artist, he has taught K-12 students for over a decade in numerous public school settings throughout New York City. Nathaniel began his professional career performing works choreographed by Frederick Earl Mosely, Clifton Brown, & Alrick Thomas. He then started his own contemporary dance company, Nathaniel's Dance Collective, to further explore his choreographic inclinations. Nathaniel also has danced with AThomas Project, Kim Elliott Dance Company, and Alpha Omega Theatrical Dance Company, touring throughout the East Coast.
Zay P is a Bronx native and a professional creative director, choreographer, dancer and teaching artist. He works and tours regularly with many well-known hip hop artists. Zay P. also loves teaching students of all ages, and has worked in many public school and community center settings. He has led the Saturday Academy program for Accent Dance NYC at PS 246 in the Bronx and guest teaches for us throughout New York City and Westchester. Zay P’s ultimate goal is to inspire, motivate, and lead other creatives to be the best versions of themselves and to build their own creative platforms.
Fréyani Patrice is a teaching artist, professional dancer, and choreographer earning her Masters in Dance Education from Hunter College. She has taught dance at various public and charter schools throughout New York City as well as in several private studios, including IFE The Movement, Rikki Di Dance Studio, and Step it Up to Dance. As a teaching artist for Accent Dance NYC, she has taught African dance, step, and hip hop.
Falosha Martin studied throughout her youth a wide range of dance styles, including West African dance, ballet, tap, salsa, capoeira, flamenco, modern, and jazz. She teaches, performs, and choreographs West African and other dance styles, and has performed with several professional companies, including Kow Teff, Harambee, Bambara Drum and Dance Ensemble, and the African circus company, Cirque Zuma Zuma. She also has had the honor of performing with Dance Africa, with the headlining company Wula, as the only American dancer representing Guinean dance. Falosha partners frequently with world-renowned percussionists, drummers, and other musicians, and has choreographed West African work for Accent Dance NYC, which features prominently in our Black History educational performances. Falosha also teaches for us at Webster Elementary School in New Rochelle through our comprehensive YMCA dance program, as well as with several of our partner schools in the Bronx, including PS 246, PS 226, and PS 140.
Kim Johnson is the Director of Educational Programming and Outreach of Accent Dance NYC. Kim is an experienced teaching artist, arts administrator and performing artist with a demonstrated history of working in non-profit organizations, especially in their work with the NYC DoE and arts placements in the NYC public schools. She has a Bachelor of Arts from Northwestern University and has extensive training as a dancer, particularly at the Ailey School. She has years of experience working as an administrator in the arts and in youth development. As an educator, she has taught all ages, from toddlers to adults. She is skilled teaching classes in dance, theater and Integrated Art Education, and through the years has been a teaching artist doing residencies in NYC Public Schools for Brooklyn Academy of Music, Alvin Ailey American Dance, LEAP, Center for Arts Education and Henry Street Settlement, and has been on the faculty at Bronx House School of Performing Arts since 2011. She has experience teaching several styles and curriculums in dance from creative movement, and ballet to contemporary. In theater, she has taught acting, musical theater, improvisation, storytelling and playwriting. She also has created and taught curriculums that integrate the performing arts with history, literature and poetry. She is a triple threat performer - dancer, actor, singer - who also directs and choreographs. She is currently a performing member of LEAP Artists Live!
Christie Coleman is a teaching artist, professional dancer and choreographer with a Masters in Education in Dance from New York University. Christie is a lead teaching artist and curriculum development consultant for Accent Dance NYC in connection with both its in-school dance residency program as well as its youth programming for the YMCA Christie was raised within The Coleman School of Dance and founded Illuminations Dance Company. In addition to the Coleman School of Dance, Christie taught dance at Achievement First Charter School in East New York, New Rochelle High School, and Sacred Heart University.
Andrea Ziegelman is the Executive and Artistic Director of Accent Dance NYC and the President of the Erwin and Isabelle Ziegelman Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Andrea was born in Detroit, Michigan and comes from a family of classically-trained pianists, cellists, singers, and violinists who held leading positions in professional symphonies and opera companies in the United States, Europe, and the former Soviet Union.
Along with the study of piano, Andrea pursued rigorous ballet training throughout her youth, enrolling after high school in the ballet department of the University of Utah. Andrea also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in French literature from the University of Michigan and attended Georgetown University School of Law and Columbia Law School. In addition to maintaining a law practice in Manhattan, and being appointed by judges to represent children in family law cases as their attorney and as guardian ad litem, Andrea continues to enjoy taking regular dance classes, performing, and teaching dance to children of all ages. As a long-time patron of the arts, Andrea started Accent Dance NYC with her fellow teaching and performing artists to bring the highest quality of dance education programming to school-aged children in New York City and in neighboring areas.
Lucía Jackson, the daughter of a jazz musician-father and painter-mother, began vocal and dance training in Madrid, Spain, studying dance at the Professional Dance Conservatory of Madrid while also studying music at the school of Musica Creativa. At the age of eighteen, Lucía returned to her birthplace, New York, after being accepted into The Alvin Ailey School. Lucía has been a lead teaching artist with Accent Dance NYC in connection with its comprehensive dance programming at the YMCA as well as in connection with its virtual education program Project Access. Lucia enjoys sharing her wide-ranging musical, theatrical and dance talents with her students, teaching and choreographing works which incorporate elements of ballet, modern, tango, flamenco, jazz, and contemporary movement. As a jazz singer, Lucía has performed with various well-known jazz bands in New York City as well as toured throughout Russia.
Elisa Toro Franky
Elisa Toro Franky is a professional dancer, teaching artist, and choreographer from Bogotá, Colombia based in New York City. Elisa has been a teaching artist with Accent Dance NYC since its inception, leading several of its programs, including at the Casita Maria Center for Arts and Education in the South Bronx. Elisa has performed in the majority of Accent Dance NYC’s educational performances as well as performed professionally with the New Jersey Ballet, FJK Dance, Dardo Galletto Dance, and with Christopher Caines Dance. In May of 2021, Elisa was invited to collaborate with El Puente Presente and a New York Philharmonic string quartet as part of the Bandwagon series. In September of 2021, she was a featured ballerina in Rhina Valentin's 'Sancocho' production, in celebration of the Hispanic Heritage Month at Lincoln Center Restart Stages.
Dannys Gonzalez, a native of Cuba, trained and graduated from the Cuban National Ballet School in Havana, and began his professional career in the Cuban National Ballet directed by the famed ballerina, Alicia Alonso. In 2009, Dannys became a soloist in the Ballet de Cuba Company. His classical repertoire includes major roles in Swan Lake, Coppelia, Don Quixote, La Bayadére, La Sylphide, La Fille Mal Gardée, Paquita and The Nutcracker. Dannys has toured internationally with “Ballet Revolucion” as well as with other dance companies. After moving to New York City, Dannys joined the Alvin Ailey School and thereafter performed with various ballet and contemporary companies throughout the United States. Dannys is an exuberant, passionate, and committed teaching artist and choreographer who celebrates each student’s individuality, artistry, and creativity. Dannys is on the ballet faculty of the well-known School at Steps on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. He also maintains an active dance teaching career for both adults and children at several studios in Connecticut and Westchester.
Dardo is from Cordoba, Argentina, where he began acting a the age of 12. Originally studying dance as a supplement to his acting, he gradually recognized it as his true passion and began to train intensively. Dardo graduated from a 3-year program at the prestigious school of dance, “Teatro General San Martín” in Buenos Aires, studying ballet, modern jazz and composition. He also studied at the “Teatro Colón” and coached with leading ballet masters of Argentina including Haichi Acamine, Enrique Lommi and Olga Ferri. After graduation, Dardo was invited to become a member of the world-renowed “Ballet Argentino”, directed by Julio Bocca, and toured with the company for one year. In late 2001, Dardo moved to New York City, and began performing with a number of U.S. modern and ballet companies.
Dardo is currently one of New York’s leading tango dancers and has created a unique method for teaching tango technique, combining elements of different dance disciplines and emphasizing the understanding of energy flow.
Mara Driscoll comes to New York from Boulder, Colorado, where she began her training at the Boulder Ballet. She also trained at the North Carolina School of the Arts and participated in workshops at Springboard Danse Montreal, Juilliard and American Ballet Theatre. Mara began her career at the Richmond Ballet and has since danced with Metropolitan Opera Ballet, FJK Dance, Dardo Galletto Dance, Armitage Gone! Dance and others. Alongside performing, Mara enjoys choreographing, teaching ballet, and teaching the GYROTONIC® expansion system. She has taught and designed workshops for the Young Artists' Exchange program and for Artists Striving to End Poverty. Mara holds a B.A. from New York University's Gallatin School for Individualized Study, where she focused on relationships between art, religion and society.
Steven Vilsaint was born and raised in Haiti and obtained a passion for dance at the age of 13. In 2014, Steven came to the United States to pursue his dream of becoming a professional hip hop dancer. Over the course of Steven’s career, he has performed alongside many well-known hip hop artists. Steven also performed for several years with a traditional Haitian dance company known as Ayikodans, and toured internationally with the company. Steven is a versatile artist, willing and able to learn new dance forms, and working collaboratively with professional ballet, tap, and other dancers. Steven currently is employed by the NYC DOE as a dance educator in Queens while continuing to teach for Accent Dance NYC, both at our partner schools and community centers in New York City and Westchester County.
Shoko Tamai is a classically-trained ballet dancer who has performed with leading dance companies in various venues around the world. Since early childhood, and in keeping with Accent Dance NYC's own mission to promote multiculturalism, Shoko has studied various dance styles, including ballet, classical Japanese and Chinese dance, jazz fusion, African, Middle Eastern and Indian dance. Shoko’s period of study with Jamie H.J. Guan, martial arts trainer for the Beijing Opera, initially ignited in her a burning passion for martial arts.
Shoko studied at the Central School of Ballet (London, UK), The American Academy of Ballet (NYC), The Paris Opera (France), and The Madrid Ballet School (Spain). She has performed with many well-known dance companies, including Dance Theater of Harlem, Tokyo Ballet, and Cirque du Soleil, and has performed at venues including London’s Royal Opera House, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, The Theatre Royal in Glasgow, Lincoln Center, and Jacob’s Pillow, among others. Shoko has competed internationally, receiving the Solo Seal award from the Royal Academy of Dance in London, a Gold Medal in the New York Ballet Competition (American Academy of Ballet) and was a Finalist in The World Ballet Competition. Shoko was invited to represent Ninja Ballet at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe as part of the 77th International Choreographer’s Festival with Dance Forms Professional in 2019, and was nominated for a New York Innovative Theater Award for Outstanding Choreography for her work in “The Tempest”, directed by Owen Thompson, at the Plaxall Gallery in New York City. Her work has been featured in numerous publications, including BroadwayWorld, Dance Enthusiast magazine, Metro US, and TimeOut New York.
Accent Dance NYC and Ninja Ballet have collaborated closely on several projects, including an exhibition of dance for college students, educators, and administrators at Boricua College in New York City. Shoko also has participated in other educational programming, including Accent Dance NYC's virtual educational performance series, Project Access, as both a performer and as a teaching artist.
A native from Córdoba, Argentina, Agostina Mocibob began her dance studies at Estudio de Ballet Sanda Recedo and then moved to Buenos Aires to study at the world-renowned Instituto de Arte Teatro Colón. Agostina thereafter moved to New York City to continue her studies at The Alvin Ailey School and with Dardo Galletto. Agostina has danced professionally as part of the Table of Silence, directed by Jacqulyn Bulgisi and performed at The Lincoln Center Plaza, as well as with the Ajkun Ballet Theater, the Benjamin Briones Ballet Company, Dardo Galletto Dance, the Enoble dance company, and the Calpulli Mexican dance company. She is a teaching artist for Accent Dance NYC in connection with both its adult and youth development programs with the YMCA as well as a teaching artist for Ballet Hispanico.
A native of Puerto Rico, Alonso dedicated his early life to the study of martial arts. At the age of 17, Alonso moved to New York City and studied on scholarship at the Alvin Ailey School. Alonso has performed professionally with many well-known dance companies, including Ballet Hispanico, Armitage Gone!, New York Theater Ballet, the Deborah Abel Dance Company, the Metropolitan Opera ballet company, and Dardo Galletto Dance. Alonso also started a not-for-profit entity, Alonso Guzman Dance Inc. to help promote understanding and appreciation among people from the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Alonso has appeared in many of Accent Dance NYC’s educational and professional performance initiatives, and also participates regularly in its open-access dance workshops.
Monica Deane is the Chief Operating Officer of Accent Dance NYC.
Monica possesses an astonishingly diverse set of skills, including in the world of dance as a choreographer, company director, and professional dancer, and in business, leading and growing organizations in media, technology, management, educational programming, and communications. Monica also epitomizes the heart and soul of our mission to inspire the younger generation to move, dance, and dream. We are thrilled to bring Monica into our Accent Dance NYC family!⠀