Collage employs a network of 25 professional dance artists. Our dancers are classically-trained and central to advancing the company's mission. They are the vehicles for the choreography we present and produce; they dance the stories that resonate with audiences; and they transform the lives of young people through outreach and training. Collage is proud to work with some of the world's best and brightest dancers.
Mark Burns, former soloist with the Dance Theatre of Harlem, has danced leading roles by choreographers such as George Balanchine, Alonzo King, Alvin Ailey, John Alleyne, Dwight Rhoden and William Forsythe. Burns began his training at the Joffrey School of Ballet, then went on to study at the School of American Ballet. Burns also holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from New York University. Mark has also been a guest artist with Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Ballet NY and Brooklyn Ballet. In addition to Collage Mr. Burns is currently working with Janusphere, Maryland Youth Ballet, Balethnic and Flint Youth Ballet.
Anthony Burrell, a Philadelphia, PA native, began his training at Point Breeze Performing Arts Center at the age of twelve. He later studied at various institutions including Philadanco, Pennsylvania Ballet, the University of the Arts, and The Ailey School. As a dancer and choreographer, Mr. Burrell worked with artists including Beyoncé, Destiny's Child, and Rihanna and is featured in several commercials, videos, and feature films. He was also a member of Ailey II and is a national gold-medalist of the NACCP ACT-SO Competition in Dance. Mr. Burrell first joined Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre in 2000 and worked with the company until 2009. Mr. Burrell began working with Collage dance Collective in 2010.
Matthew Van Buskirk was introduced to performing arts at an early age. He studied modern, contemporary and ballet at the Newtown High School of the Performing Arts in Australia. He has extensive training under the the Royal Academy Of Dance (R.A.D) and Cecchetti syllabuses. Matthew has worked with the Ajkun Ballet Theatre Company, touring both nationally and internationally. He performed many classical works including Raymonda, Swan Lake and Romeo and Juliet. He has also worked with Northern Ballet Theatre in New Hamspire, Huntington Ballet Theatre in Long Island, under the direction of Christopher Flemming of New York City Ballet and the Berkshire Ballet in Pennsylvania, under the direction of Kelly Barber. Mr. Van Buskirk began working with Collage in 2010 and also currently works with the Janusphere Dance Company in New York.
Darius Crenshaw was born in Detroit and raised in Cincinnati, where he attended the School for Creative and Performing Arts. At the age of fourteen he began his professional dance career with Cincinnati Ballet. After graduating high school Darius moved to New York to attend the School of American Ballet, under the tutelage of Stanley Williams, Andre Kramarevsky, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and Peter Martins, to name a few. He received the coveted Mae L. Wien Award for the student with outstanding promise and performed principal roles in the school’s workshop performances. The following year he joined New York City Ballet where he was a member for eight years. In 2005, Mr. Crenshaw moved back to Cincinnati and was hired as a soloist with Cincinnati Ballet. The following year he moved to Los Angeles where he was cast in the film King Bolden working with choreographer Hinton Battle. He also worked with Los Angeles Opera and performed as a principal dancer with Los Angeles Ballet. He has appeared on Broadway in The Color Purple and most recently he was the assistant dance captain for the Broadway touring company of The Color Purple. Darius began working with Collage in 2010.
Jenelle Figgins is a native of Washington, DC where she trained at Jones Haywood School of Ballet and Duke Ellington School of the Arts under the direction of Sandra Fortune-Greene and Charles Augins. She received scholarships to attend Dance Theatre of Harlem Residency at the Kennedy Center/ Summer Intensives and Springboard Danse Montreal. She is a graduate of SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance which she received her BFA Cum Laude in May of 2011 on partial scholarship through the Adopt-a-Dancer Program. She has also studied with Arthur Mitchell, Lorraine Graves, Ami Shulman, Lowell Smith, Kazuko Hirabyaski, Kevin Wynn, Betti Jane Sills, Rosanna Seravalli, Taina Morales and Alexandra Wells. She has performed works by Paul Taylor, George Balanchine, Twyla Tharp, Nora Reynolds, Emily Molnar, Kevin Thomas, Hinton Battle, Ja’Malik, and Sidra Bell. Jenelle began working with Collage dance Collective in 2011.
Alicia Janelle Graf is a native of Columbia, Maryland. Ms. Graf is a former principal dancer of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Dance Theatre of Harlem, and member of Complexions Contemporary Ballet. Her guest appearances include Alonzo King's LINES Ballet, the Balanchine Celebration at Central Park SummerStage, the Vail International Dance Festival, and the Fashion Rocks Awards with Andre 3000 and Beyonce at Radio City Music Hall. In addition, Alicia graduated magna cum laude with honors in History from Columbia University and interned with JPMorgan Chase and Essence magazine. She is currently a guest writer for several dance publications including Dance Magazine, Pointe Magazine, and Dance Spirit. In 2007, Smithsonian Magazine named Alicia one of 37 young American innovators of the arts and sciences. Ms. Graf is a recipient of the Columbia University Medal of Excellence, an award given each year to one alumnus who has demonstrated excellence in their field of work. In 2008, she had the honor of delivering the keynote address to the graduates of Columbia University's School of General Studies. Alicia is a master's degree candidate in Nonprofit Management at Washington University. She is currently the Pre-Professional Dance Program Coordinator at Center of Creative Arts (COCA) and the Assistant Director of COCAdance. Ms. Graf began working with Collage in 2005.
Paunika Jones is a native of Miami, Florida. She is an alumna of New World School of the Arts in Miami, Florida, where she studied ballet, modern, tap and jazz dance. She has trained under the direction of Ursino Deville, Linda A. Rodgers, Yayi Vega, and Beatrice Leverne, and studied at the Ailey Shool and the Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) School's summer intensive programs. Ms. Jones was invited to join DTH's Dancing Through Barriers Ensemble in 1996 where she remained for two years until she was accepted into the professional company in 1998 as an apprentice and ascended through the ranks to become a principal dancer. Ms. Jones has performed leading roles in John Taras's "Firebird", George Balanchine's "Serenade" and "Four Temperaments", Geoffrey Holder's "Dougla", Arthur Mitchell, Augustus van Heerden and Laveen Naidu's "South African Suite", and Robert Garland's "Return". She has worked with the legendary Donald McKayle, various representatives from the Balanchine Trust and Michael Smuin, to name a few. Ms. Jones' professional company experience include: Dance Theatre of Harlem, Oakland Ballet, Columbia City Ballet, Complexions Contemporary Ballet and Ballet Noir. Ms. Jones began working with Collage dance Collective in 2005.
Jaime Kotrba grew up in Manton, Michigan, and started her training with Betsy Carr at Dance Arts Academy in Traverse City. She continued her training at Interlochen Arts Academy under the direction of Sharon Randolph. After graduation she moved to New York to study with Dance Theatre of Harlem and joined the Dancing Through Barriers Ensemble. In 2004, she joined the Dance Theatre of Harlem Company and toured nationally and internationally dancing works by George Balanchine, John Taras, Michael Smuin and Geoffrey Holder among others. She has also worked with BalletMet Columbus under the direction of Gerard Charles and Janusphere Dance Company with Darion Smith. She has also performed with Les Grands Ballet Canadiens de Montreal, WillowOak Contemporary Ballet, and Viewpointe Dance with Helen Heinman. Ms. Kotrba began working with Collage in 2005.
Brandye Lee Co-Founder of B2 Movement for Change, is a dancer, teacher, and choreographer. For several years she was a featured dancer in the national Gazelle Tour of Disney's Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, "The Lion King." She has an ongoing guest artist relationship with The Dance Theater of Lynchburg, directed by Keith Lee (Lynchburg, VA), as well as Collage Dance Collective, directed by Kevin Thomas (Memphis, TN). Ms. Lee is currently a faculty member at her dance alma mater, the newly named Jones-Haywood School of Dance, and she has been a judge for The Washington Post Music & Dance Scholarship Awards. Ms. Lee graduated from Sidwell Friends School and Jones-Haywood School of Ballet in Washington DC, and subsequently earned a degree (cum laude) in economics and Afro-American studies from Smith College. Upon successful completion of her degree, she spent three seasons as a dancer with Ailey II, the second company of cultural ambassador, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. During her tenure, she served as Ballet Instructor for the acclaimed AileyCamp in Kansas City, Kansas. It is through teaching that she enjoys giving back a portion of which she learned as a scholarship student at Jones-Haywood, Dance Theater of Harlem, The Ailey School, and through international exposure at Rosella Hightower Centre de Danse Internationale (Cannes, France). In 2008 she received two awards: The Woman of Excellence Award from Asbury United Methodist Church in Washington, DC; and The Delta Sigma Theta Award for Outstanding Emerging Artist, presented by the Federal City Alumnae Chapter in Washington, DC. Through her holistic wellness company, B2 Movement for Change, she continues to find unique and powerful ways to serve God and her community.
Heather-Brooke Malone received her training at The Baltimore School for the Arts under the direction of Norma Pera, Stephanie Powell, and Tony Wilson. Upon graduation she went on to dance with various companies such as Ballethnic Dance Company in Atlanta, GA, Lake Erie Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Oakland Ballet, Nashville Ballet, and Dance Theatre of Harlem’s second company “Dancing Through Barriers”. While dancing with these companies Heather performed in various ballets such as Balanchine’s Western Symphony and Square Dance, Dwight Rhoden’s Glory Fugue, Paul Taylor’s Company B, and Agnes De Mille’s Three Virgins and a Devil. She enjoyed dancing in classics such as Marie in The Nutcracker, a Woodland Fairy in Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Paquita. Heather was the first African American Marie in Oakland Ballet’s The Nutcracker. With these various companies Heather has been able to tour around the country and while with Nashville Ballet had the opportunity to tour in Argentina for three weeks. Heather began working with Collage in 2011 and currently also works with Bowen McCauley Dance and Dissonance Dance Theatre. She is also currently pursuing her degree in Psychology and Dance at Towson University.
Steven Melendez was born in New York City and began his ballet training as part of the LIFT Scholarship Program at Ballet School New York at the age of 7. Later, he studied at the School of American Ballet and attended summer intensive programs with the San Francisco Ballet Academy, Houston Ballet Academy and Kaatsbaan International School. In 2001 Steven joined New York Theatre Ballet as an apprentice and in 2006 was promoted to principal. While there he performed leading roles in choreographies by Fredrick Ashton, George Balanchine, John Butler, Agnes DeMille, Donald Mahler, Antony Tudor and others. Steven was invited to Buenos Aires in 2006 as a Guest Soloist to perform with Ballet Concierto, directed by Inaki Urlezaga. His repertory there included Carmen (Alonso), Don Quixote (Baryshnikov), Symphonic Variations (Ashton) and Borodin (Ariaz). While performing with Ballet Concierto, Steven traveled extensively performing in international ballet galas and festivals in Argentina, New Zealand, Thailand, Venezuela, Ecuador, Estonia, Spain and Italy. In 2007 Steven joined the Vanemuine Theater Ballet Company in Tartu, Estonia, as a Principal dancer. Steven began working with Collage in 2007. He is also a principal artist (on leave) with The Ballet Company of Yokohama and New York Theatre Ballet. Steven is a protégé of international ballet master David Howard.
Marc Spaulding is Co-Director of F.I.V.E. (Fore I’m A Versatile Entertainer). He began his dance training at the prestigious Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, DC. He received a BFA in Ballet Performance from the University of the Arts. His performance credits include: Dreamgirls National Tour, Westside Story International Tour, Broadway revival of “Equus”, feature film “Hairspray”, the NBC “Today Show”, SNL, Raven-Symone, Philadelphia Dance Company, Feature film “Bolden” and Donald Byrd/The Group. Marc began working with Collage in 2011.
Dion Wilson is a native of Baltimore, Maryland. Mr. Wilson graduated from the Baltimore School for the Arts and received his BFA from S.U.N.Y at Purchase College. Dion is proud to be in his third touring season with the award winning Broadway Musical, The Lion King. Mr. Wilson was a member of the Philadelphia Dance Company (Philadanco), the Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre where he performed many principal roles.
Mr. Wilson has trained at Point Park College and the University of the Arts. Mr. Wilson has toured extensively throughout the United States, Europe and Asia, performing in more than 20 countries and 40 states. He has performed in Walt Disney World, both Florida and Paris. He has worked with many well-known choreographers, and performed famous ballets such as, George Balanchine's Tar-n-Tella, Merce Cunningham's Duets, Tally Beatty's Southern Landscape, and the world's most seen ballet Revelations by Alvin Ailey to name a few.
Mr. Wilson was a featured guest artist with The Asheville Civic Ballet, The Jones-Haywood School of Ballet, Spectrum Dance Theater, Creative Outlet Dance Theatre of Brooklyn, Baltimore Dance Tech, Wylliams/Henry Dance Theatre, Opus Dance Theater, choreographer Debbie Allen in Pepito's Story at the Kennedy Center, and The International Dance Festival in Hong Kong. Dion received the opportunity to work with Beyonce Knowles for the Robin Hood Foundation benefit, was a featured artist at the International Arts Festival in Spoleto, Italy and most recently worked on the creation of the Fela Kuti Project, choreographed by Bill T. Jones.
Mr. Wilson is a recipient of the Princess Grace Foundation Fellowship award in 1999 and two Maryland State Arts Council awards for Solo Dance Performance.
As a choreographer Mr. Wilson's works have been performed by/at: The Debbie Allen Dance Academy, Perri Dance, Ailey Dancers Resource Fund Project, Aaron Davis Hall (commissioned), Spoleto Festival Italy, Towson State University, and many others. Mr. Wilson began working with Collage in 2006.