Kevin Thomas, Artistic Director
Kevin Thomas began his dance training with Ecole Superieure de Danse du Quebec in Montreal, Canada, and has danced with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Cleveland/San Jose Ballet and the Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) in New York City. He joined DTH in 1995 and was promoted to principal dancer in 1999. With DTH, Mr. Thomas' credits include leading roles in The Prodigal Son, Dialogues, The Four Temperaments, Othello, Adrian (Angel on Earth), A Song for Dead Warriors, Troy games, Equuis and Dougla. He has performed leading roles in, The Nutcracker, Tarantella, Agon, Who Cares, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Don Quixote, Consort Lessons, Concerto K622, and Aureole. Mr. Thomas has made guest appearances with the Royal Ballet in London, Complexions Contemporary Ballet in New York and Fleming Flindt and Peter Schaufuss in Denmark. He has also appeared on Broadway in The Phantom of the Opera. Mr. Thomas has served as Artistic Coordinator for New Ballet Ensemble & School and has choreographed for Opera Memphis, Hattiloo Repertory Theatre, New Ballet Ensemble, the Orpheum Theatre, Flint Institute of Music, University of Memphis and for Collage dance Collective. Mr. Thomas serves on the advisory boards for the Orpheum Theatre, Memphis Art Park and Overton Performing Arts High School.
Marcellus D. Harper, Managing Director
Marcellus Harper has an expansive background in project management and event production. He has worked as a Program Analyst for the Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA). He was amongst the first seven employees of the TSA Taskforce mandated by Congress to create and develop the agency and federalize our nation’s transportation security infrastructures. Prior to his work with the TSA, Mr. Harper worked as a Project Coordinator for Marriott International's corporate marketing department, where he was directly responsible for the development and implementation of several industry events for the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League. Mr. Harper has done project coordination work for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Harvard University coordinating special projects to assist research and treatment work for HIV/AIDs patients in Africa. Mr. Harper was a Meyerhoff Scholar at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) where he studied biology and theatre and was a double national medalist in the NAACP’s ACT-SO Program in biology and oratory. Marcellus serves on the board of directors for Gritty Cherries, Inc., a New York arts cartel, and has managed production for several Gritty Cherry events. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in non-profit administration and performing arts.
Shalishah “Petey” Franklin, Director of Marketing
Petey Franklin, a Los Angeles, California native, moved to Memphis, Tennessee in 1996 where she studied fine art at Overton Creative & Performing Arts High School and later acquired a B.A. in journalism and advertising at The University of Memphis. Ms. Franklin served as Marketing Director for NIA Artist Collective, a Memphis area art group dedicated to the cultivation of black artists. Ms. Franklin has exhibited in more than 20 art shows throughout the country, as well as curated six art exhibitions for the organization. She is a recipient of an Urban Art Commission award for her public art project, “Hopes and Dreams,” which now permanently resides on the Dave Wells Community Center in North Memphis. Ms. Franklin has earned a reputation for producing first-rate events in Memphis that fuse art, fashion, music and innovative design. Her events have become widely recognized as a unique exposition of Memphis area musicians, performers and visual artists. Ms. Franklin is a graduate of the Leadership Academy Fellows Program, nominated as a high-potential and emerging leader. She is a Change Artist Award Recipient, awarded for positive community influence and unwavering commitment in the area of the arts by the Urban League of Young Professionals. Most recently, Ms. Franklin was featured in the Rediscover: Memphis web documentary produced by Fremantle Media for MSN.com and named one of Memphis’ Top 20 Under 30 in the Memphis Flyer’s annual list of individuals “who will forge Memphis' future.”