Kevin Thomas, Lisa Ballo, Fabio Mariano, Miyesha McGriff, Karen Niceley, Leonard Perez, Danielle Pierce, Dorian Rhea, Kindred Spirit, Yosek Prieto, Emilia Sandoval, Abigail Taber, Noelia Warnette-Jones, Rickey Rhodes and Lauren Huyhn
Macy Berry, Zoey Matthews, Kaylan Banks, Micah Watson and Imajin Lias
Dr. Roy Bors-Koefoed, Marcellus Harper, Darren Isom, Jim Jenkins, Sherita Lee,
Michael Lofton, Dr. Monika Metzger, Beverly Robertson, Dr. Jessica Ruffin, Jonathan Scharff,
Derwin Sisnett, Cameron Smith, Kevin Thomas and Emily Waters
James R. & Anita Horne Jenkins Family Foundation, International Association of Blacks in Dance, Hyde Family Foundation, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, Arts Memphis and Tennessee Arts Commission.
We would also like to give special thanks to the following individuals and organizations:
Downtown Memphis Commission
(Please remain seated)
The Conservatory’s mission is to educate students about the craft of classical ballet, inspire students to develop an affinity towards art and culture, encourage students to express themselves with confidence and instill discipline as an effective tool for students to use in all facets of their daily lives.
The James R. & Anita Horne Jenkins Family Foundation, Dr. Roy & Lydia Bors-Koefoed, ArtsMemphis, James & Leslie Jenkins, The Hyde Family Foundation, The First Horizon Foundation, Methodist LeBonheur Healthcare, Tennessee Arts Commission and International Association of Blacks in Dance
Dr. Monika Metzger
James R. & Anita H. Jenkins, Todd & Kandice Henderson, Kenneth & Gloria Boyland, Dr. Rodric Miller, FedEx, Sherita Lee, Howard & Beverly Robertson, The River City LINKS C.O.A.C., Bianca Sweeten, and The City of Memphis
Cindy Ridley, Kelly & Kathleen Fish, Anna Colomb, Nat & Molly Akin, Anne Carriere, Jennifer & Patrick Danehy, Dr. Caitlin Hurley, Cathy Ross, Dr. Jessica Ruffin, Makita Surgeon, The Merck Foundation, BNSF Railway Company, Dr. Trenton & Vashti Watson, Brown Missionary Baptist Church, Alexis West, Ashley Parrot, and Norris & Annette Gray
Anonymous, Eric & Lori Robertson, Memphis Light Gas & Water, Adisa & Adrienne Jones, Cynthia Matthews, Pinnacle Financial Partners, Suzanne & Jon Scharff, William Townsend, Patricia Thomas, Intermodal Cartage Company, Inc., Karen Ware, Emily Waters, Memphis Music Initiative, Mikara Davis, Terri Freeman, Jack & Jill of America, Inc. – Memphis, TN, DeJuan & Joy Bowen, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee Community Trust, Kelinda Batiste, Joe’s Wines & Liquors, Dalton & Erika Blackwell, Sylvia Brown, Dwight & Brooke Dishmon, Toni Polk, Robert & D. Cameron Smith, De’Asia Thompson, Johnican Coleman, Barbara & Joy Doss, Floyd Tyler, Sonia Walker, Leah & Alistair Windsor, Robert & Shirley Turner, Enterprise Holdings Foundation, Jovie & Lora McGill Bridgewater, Carlissa Shaw, Jocelyn Henderson, Milandria King Hull, Keith Norman, Stephanie Isom, Elliot & Kimberly Perry, Michael Lofton, Dr. Jason & Natasha Johnson, Memphis Tourism, Melissa Azzi, Caren Flewellen, Sharon Devine Harris, Derek & Stephanie Johnson, Patricia Horne, Barbara Johnson, Erma Oliver, Robert & Mary Loeb, Jamie Mister, Rivera Johnson, Jimmy & Jan McElroy, Rhonda Neal, Anthony & Angela Nichols, Bathsheba Sams, Glenn & Linda Sessoms, Tish Towns, Commerce Center Broad Avenue, Melva Zanella, Elayne Perry, Buster’s Liquors, John & Laura Engbretson, Elsie Lewis Bailey, Eda Machado Seixas, Elaine Drew, Christopher Niceley, Tamieka Young, Shante Avante, Russell Vanderbilt, Jewish Foundation of Memphis, Michelle Studaway, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated
Belinda & Calvin Anderson, Lori Miller, Carolyn & Alexandra Greer, Karen Osborne, Kayce Williford-Randolph, James Boyd, John & Carol Miller, Gyasi & Wakenya Chisley, Holly Coleman, Ethelyn Williams-Neal, Carleigh Dunbar, Annette Hawkins, Mary Freeman, Trampas & Melissa Gunter, Nan & Béla Hackman, Clarence Halmon, Dr. Autry & Denise Parker, Linda Ivy-Rosser, Allegra Ham, Sandra Reed, Abby & Jack Phillips, Teresa Hughes-Findley, Marcus & Kimberly Jones, Dorian Spears, Brian Jobe, DeLois & Theophilus Leapheart, Marcellus Harper, Amber Hamilton, Mia & Paul Henley, Tsitsi Jones, John & Carol Miller, Jeanine Jones, Christina Rosenthal, Brian & Mitty Williams, Tiffeni Moore, Cassandra Savage, Patricia Walker, Tiffany Vertison-Cole, & The Assisi Foundation
We believe in the power of ballet and its undeniable ability to transform the lives of young people in any community regardless of whether their aspiration is the stage or the board room.
We are on a mission to inspire the growth and diversity of ballet and with your continued support, we can do just that! Join us!
KEVIN THOMAS (Founding Artistic Director) 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 numerous ballets including, The Nutcracker, Tarantella, Agon, Who Cares, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Don Quixote, Consort Lessons, 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 and Ballet Master for New Ballet Ensemble & School and has choreographed for Opera Memphis, Hattiloo Repertory Theatre, New Ballet Ensemble, Orpheum Theatre, Flint Institute of Music, University of Utah, University of Memphis and Collage Dance Collective. Mr. Thomas is a 2017-18 National Visiting Fellow at the School of American Ballet.
MARCELLUS HARPER (Founding Executive Director) 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 among 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 worked 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 is the 2011 recipient of the Memphis Urban League Young Professionals’ Change Artist Award in recognition of his achievements towards “positive community influence and unwavering commitment to the arts”. Marcellus holds a Bachelor’s degree in non-profit administration and performing arts and serves on the boards of Tennessee Association of Dance and the Historic Broad Avenue Arts Alliance.
ABIGAIL TABER (Teacher), a native of Memphis, TN, began her classical training at River City Ballet Company under the directorship of the late Carlton Lee Johnson. During her training she danced in various productions such as, The Wizard of Oz, as Dorothy, and A Christmas Fantasy, where she danced the lead as Abby. Abigail is a former Nubian Theater Company member, led by John L. Sullivan, where she has performed in various works such as Umoja Kamaru, Uniquely Us, and The People Could Fly. Abigail has also performed in “Black, White, and Red All Over”, “The Blues and Sunday Morning”, both works of Dr. Erma L. Clanton, Opera Memphis’ “Treemonisha”, Harrell Theatre’s “Aida”, and “Rent, a Tribute to Jonathan Larson”. Abigail danced as captain of the Marching Crimson Piperettes of Tuskegee University where she received her B.S. in Biology. She has also served as co-choreographer of the Spiritual Lights Praise Ensemble at New Sardis Baptist Church and has danced with Bridging Souls Productions and the Collage Dance Corps.
KAREN NICELEY (Director of Community Engagement & Teacher) attended the Jones-Haywood School of Ballet and later received her BFA in Dance Education at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Karen’s professional credits include work with Dance Theatre of Harlem, Michael Mao Dance Company, Metropolitan Opera, Cirque Du Soleil, Keith Lee’s Dance Theatre of Lynchburg and the Broadway National Tour of The Color Purple.
Prior to relocating to Memphis in spring 2021, Karen taught dance, Vinyasa yoga and creative movement in more than 100 schools throughout the five boroughs of NYC. As a result of decades long work with The Leadership Program, Karen is recognized for her ability to utilize social emotional learning, anti-bullying best practices and restorative justice models to implement transformative youth development programs that combine academics and dance technique.
As the Community Engagement Manager for Collage Dance, Karen works to broaden the organization’s in-school dance education program, Turning Pointe, by fostering relationships with Memphis area schools. She also works to cultivate a vibrant adult dance community through program development at the new Collage Dance Center and dance exposure opportunities in Memphis and beyond.
Karen is also co-founder of Gritty Cherries, Inc., a non-profit art production company that serves as a springboard for emerging artists of all types, providing venues and producing special events for charitable organizations with a variety of artists who collaborate together under one roof and a specific theme while bringing high quality training in the arts to underprivileged youth through their arts education program Gritty Cherries Arts Education.
YOSEK PRIETO (Teacher) began his ballet career at the age of 10 at the Escuela Vocacional de Arte in Pinar del Rio, Cuba studying the history and fundamental elements of ballet, French, dance repertoires, modern dance and gymnastics. At the age of 15, he began studying at the world-renowned Escuela Nacional de Ballet in Havana, Cuba where he continued his studies of ballet, contemporary dance, folk dance, ballroom dance, duo classic, dance methodology and the history of dance. He participated in many productions with noted instructors and choreographers such as Alicia Alonso, Ivan Tenorio, Alberto Alonso, Gustavo Herrera, Pedro Consuegra, Maria Rovira and Jorge Amarante. In 2000, he joined the Ballet Nacional de Cuba and danced with that company for 5 years, participating in numerous productions, international festivals, and tours under the direction of Alicia Alonso. In 2005, Yosek joined Ballet de Monterrey in Monterrey, Mexico where he continued to expand his repertoire and international experience. In 2009, Yosek moved to the Memphis, Tennessee where he now shares his knowledge and experience as a ballet instructor.
MIYESHA MCGRIFF (TEACHER) is a Kansas City, Missouri native. She trained at the Kansas City Ballet School where she was a company apprentice for the 2006-2007 season. She then attended and graduated from the University of Missouri – Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Dance, May of 2011. After graduating, she danced at Dallas Black Dance Theatre II for the 2011-2012 season in Dallas, Texas. She then went to dance with Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Company for the next four seasons. In the summer of 2014, She relocated to New York to pursue her dance career. Since she has moved to the Big Apple, she has danced with a few project-based companies and continues to grow in her artistry. In 2017, Miyesha joined Collage Dance Collective of Memphis, TN as a company member.
NOELIA WARNETTE-JONES (Teacher) is a native New Yorker, that has been dancing since the age of seven. She is a graduate of the Alvin Ailey American Dance School Certificate Program, where she trained professionally in dance. She furthered her education in dance and received her Bachelors of Fine Arts Dance from Marymount Manhattan College in NYC. In the year 2000, she moved to Memphis to be an Adjunct Professor at the University Of Memphis Dance department teaching Modern and beginner Ballet and Jazz. While residing in Memphis she was a Memphis Grizzlies NBA Dancer for eight years. Noelia furthered her experience with dance through Musical Theatre and her first debut was HairSpray with Playhouse On The Square in 2008. Her credits include: Ragtime, Footloose, Legally Blonde, Miss Siagon, Color Purple, Mary Poppins, Rock of Ages, Tuck Everlasting, Mama Mia, Pricilla, Dream Girls, and Cabaret. She was Dorothy in The Wiz, Deena in Dream Girls, and Vanessa in In the Heights at The Hatillo Theatre. At Theatre Memphis she played Diana Morales in a Chorus Line, and Shrek the Musical. Noelia is a full time Shelby County School Dance teacher and absolutely loves teaching children.
LISA ALFERI BALLO (Teacher) is a classical ballet dance teacher, who trained on scholarship with the Pennsylvania Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and the Cleveland Ballet schools. Her career as a professional dancer began with Cleveland Ballet, under Dennis Nahat, where she rose to principal dancer during her 10 year stay. A few of her favorite roles were: Odette/Odile in Swan Lake; Swanilda in Coppelia; the lead in Balanchine’s Square Dance and Terpsichore in Apollo. For one year she also danced with Fort Worth/Dallas Ballet, under Paul Mejia, performing in many of Balachine’s ballets. Then, while being semi retired, she danced with both the Sandra Organ Company and Dominic Walsh Dance Theater in Houston, Texas. She first began teaching for Gilbert Rome and Margo Marshall in Houston, and later Vitoria Vittum, High School of Performing and Visual Arts, and at the School of Houston Ballet. Mrs. Ballo now lives in Memphis, Tennessee where she is teaching company class for both Ballet New Ensemble and College Dance Collective.
FÁBIO MARIANO (TEACHER) was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and started dancing when he was 14 years old. Trained by Helfany Peçanha and Natalia Valdanini, he joined the first and most traditional dance school in Brazil in 2010, Maria Olenewa State Dance School, belonging to Theatro Municipal of Rio de Janeiro. He was taught by renowned Brazilian and Russian teachers from Kirov Ballet. He graduated in five years after skipping grades for his good development. While a student, he worked in a contemporary company for 2 years. Also, he performed in big productions with the Ballet Company of Theatro Municipal of Rio. He was a member of the Youth Ballet Company of Rio, directed by Dalal Achcar and Mariza Estrella, where he experienced performing pieces of renowned choreographers. After graduated, he joined the Corpo de Baile Campos dos Goytacazes (RJ) in 2014, where he performed many pieces as a soloist in the classical and contemporary repertory. He also choreographed a contemporary ballet for the company, which was very well received for the public. For the 2016/17 season, he joined Atlantic City Ballet, in NJ and performed soloist and leading roles in full-length ballets as The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker and Carmen. Mr. Mariano moved to Memphis, TN and joined Collage Dance Collective as a company member in 2017.
DORIAN RHEA (TEACHER) A south side, Chicago bred artist, Dorian Rhea has been an active participant in community-based arts and education for the past decade. He has performed and choreographed pieces for recording artists like Silentò & Chance The Rapper, while using his art as a tool for activism and reformation by working alongside the Obamas on the ‘Healthier America’ initiative. His works have been featured at venues such as The Chicago Theater & The Museum of Contemporary Art. He has held residencies at The Joffrey Ballet Chicago as well as The American Rhythm Center, and facilitated world-class workshops at Roosevelt University, Chicago State University, and Wilbur Wright College. From working with charitable arts programs in public schools across the city, to providing free performance training under the non-profit ‘Happiness Club’, Dorian continues to encourage, build, and support reputable opportunities and networks that give back to the communities who invest so much into the future.
LAUREN HUYNH (Teacher), born and raised in Plano, Texas, began her training at the Hathaway Academy of Ballet. She was later awarded the Nordan Fine Arts Scholarship at Texas Christian University (TCU), where she graduated with a BFA in Ballet and Modern Dance, as well as a minor in General Business. During her time at TCU, she was selected to travel to Rwanda to continue TCU’s long-term relationship with Godelieve Mukasarasi and the SEVOTA Institute, was awarded the TCU Mission Statement Scholarship, and received the Senior Legacy award honoring her antiracist work and activism. She has performed choreography by George Balanchine, August Bournonville, Darrell Grand Moultrie, Francesca Harper, Jennifer Archibald, Gabrielle Lamb, LeeWei Chao, Adam Barruch, among others. Lauren has attended summer programs at BalletX, Oregon Ballet Theatre, and Joffrey Ballet as well as Alonzo King LINES Ballet and Dance Theatre of Harlem on full scholarships. During the spring of 2021, Lauren joined Bruce Wood Dance as an Apprentice. Ms. Huynh is eager to inspire and grow in her first season with Collage Dance Collective as a professional company artist and ballet teacher.
RICARDO RHODES (Teacher) was born in Boston, Massachusetts where he trained at the Boston Ballet. Mr. Rhodes was accepted to the Sarasota Ballet in 2007 and promoted to Principal in 2012.
Mr. Rhodes has performed many lead roles which include Ashton’s La Fille mal Gardée, Symphonic Variations, Les Patineurs, Birthday Offering, Scènes de Ballet, Monotones II, The Dream; Balanchine’s Stars and Stripes, Apollo, Diamonds, Emeralds, Rubies, Serenade, Allegro Brillante, Theme and Variations, Who Cares?; Bintley’s ‘Still Life’ at the Penguin Café; Fokine’s Les Sylphides; Napoli Act III (After Bournonville); MacMillan’s Concerto; Nijinsky’s L’Après-midi d’un Faune; Robbins’ Fancy Free; Tuckett’s Spielende Kinder, Lux Aeterna, Changing Light; Wheeldon’s The American, There Where She Loved; Wright’s Summertide and Giselle among others.
Ricardo has performed internationally in galas in Japan, Panama, South Africa and Ethiopia. He Has guested with Dance Yanowsky, Festival Ballet Providence, Chattanooga Ballet, Urban Ballet Theater and ProjectionDance.
LEONARD PEREZ (Teacher), from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, has trained in Spanish dance with the Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater and in ballet and modern dance at the Ruth Page School of Dance. He has studied on scholarship at Northeastern Illinois University and has been awarded full scholarships to summer intensive programs at Dance Theater of Harlem, The Ailey School, River North Dance Chicago, Thodos Dance Chicago, Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, and The Ruth Page School of Dance. He danced with Milwaukee Ballet II during the 2015–2016 season and has performed works by Ron de Jesus, Michael Pink, Septime Webre, Randy Duncan, Ruth Page, Lee Wei Chao, Ilya Kozadayev, Brian MacDonald, Victor Alexander and Spanish dance duo Angel Rojas and Carlos Rodriguez. Leonard has performed in the Chicago Dancing Festival, Jacob’s Pillow International Inside/Out Dance Festival, Dance for Life Chicago, and St. Louis’ Spring To Dance Festival. He has also danced professionally with Dayton Ballet where he performed works by Gina Patterson and Jiri Kylian and Indianapolis Ballet where he performed works by Joshua Bergasse and George Balanchine. This is Leonard’s third season with Collage Dance Collective company artist and ballet teacher.
EMILIA SANDOVAL (Teacher) is a California native and received her formal training at Deane Dance Center in Sacramento under the direction of Barbara Crockett and Allyson Deane. She continued her studies with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre in their graduate program and spent summers at San Francisco Ballet School, Ballet Austin, Alonzo King Lines Ballet, Gaga USA, and Nederlands Dans Theatre on Full Scholarship. Emilia was a member of NB2, Nashville Ballet’s official second company, for two seasons prior to joining Ballet Memphis. This is her first year as a ballet teacher with the Collage Dance Conservatory.
Kindred Spirit, under the direction of, is a traditional West African drum and dance inspired company, operating with a heightened interest in examining the psyche, body, and spirit through an African centered worldview. Kindred Spirit strives to cultivate respect for traditional forms, foster cultural exchange, effect social justice, engage in community building, and promote healing through the medium of drum and dance.
Focused on the region of West Africa, Kindred Spirit are dedicated to the preservation, education, and presentation of traditional West African drum and dance culture. We seek to expose the rich heritage of these forms and the people who practice them, by also creating and presenting traditional dance and music inspired from these regions. While this is a celebratory and cultural expression of our history, it is, more importantly, a means to by which we heal from colonization and slavery.
Joey Guthman is a lighting designer and undying lover of the performing arts. His designs have been seen around the world, and he is thrilled to bring his work to Collage Dance Collective. In the concert dance world Joey designed the rolling World Premiere of Benjamin Millepied’s Bach Studies at the Theatre Des Champs Elysees in Paris and the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami. He is the resident designer at Los Angeles’s MashUp Contemporary Dance Company. Other work in his native Los Angeles includes productions at The Getty Villa, Pasadena Playhouse, REDCAT, Rockwell Table and Stage, California Repertory Theatre, Pomona College, Occidental College, University of LaVerne and many more. Joey has toured internationally with LA Dance Project, and nationally with SITI Company, Kronos Quartet, Kristina Wong, and Brown Box Theatre Project. BFA: Emerson College. JGuthmanDesign.com
WILBURN BONNELL (LIGHTING DIRECTOR/PRODUCTION MANAGER) is a NYC-based lighting designer. New York credits include: Luft Gangster (Sheen Center); Half Moon Bay, Comes a Faery, In Fields Where They Lay (New Ohio); Mr. Irresistible, Project: Lohan (La MaMa); Caucasian Chalk Circle (Theatre Row). Regional: Satchmo at the Waldorf (Wallis); Deathtrap and White Christmas (Engeman); Orpheus in the Berkshires, A Dixon Family Album and Becoming Sylvia (Williamstown). Broadway Assoc./Asst. LD for: Head Over Heels, Fully Committed, The Visit, Newsies (& Nat’l Tour), Elf Nat’l. Tour, Ghost Nat’l. Tour, The Performers, The Anarchist, Jekyll & Hyde. Eight seasons as Lighting Supervisor of Williamstown Theatre Festival. Wilburn is an alumnus of Vassar College and proud member of Local USA-829, IATSE. www.bonnelldesign.com
Collage has a bold vision and a powerful plan to position our non-profit organization as a national leader in dance education and a beacon of inclusivity in ballet. Can we count on you this giving season, to move ONE step closer?