What’s Going On – Creative Team & Company
The Creative Team
Vincent E. Thomas, dancer, choreographer and teacher, received his MFA in Dance from Florida State University and a BME in Music from the University of South Carolina. He has danced with Dance Repertory Theatre (FSU), Randy James Dance Works (NY/NJ), EDGEWORKS Dance Theater (DC) and Liz Lerman Dance Exchange (MD). His choreography has been presented at various national and international venues including DUMBO Festival (NY), Velocity Festival (DC), Modern Moves Festival (DC), Philly Fringe (PA), Edinburgh Fringe Festival (UK), Barcelona and Madrid, Spain, Avignon, France, Athens, Greece, Bari, Italy and Copenhagen, Denmark. He was selected as one of eleven choreographers from around the world to convene for the 2005 Omi International Dance Collective and served as the guest mentor for the 2007 Dance Omi residents. Vincent is a recipient of a 2009 Best of Baltimore Choreographer Award, 2009 Baker Artist Choice Award (B Grant), a 2009 Metro DC Dance Award for Outstanding Overall Production (for his new work Witness), several Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Dance Awards, a 2008 Kennedy Center Local Dance Commission Project Award, two 2006 Metro DC Dance Awards for Emerging Choreographer and Outstanding New Work (for his evening length work the Grandmother Project). He received rave reviews for his performance of Come Change (2012) and iWitness (2014) in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. Vincent was the Movement Coach/Choreographer for Everyman Theater’s Brother’s Size by Tarell Alvin McCraney in Baltimore, MD (2012) and Mosaic Theatre’s Unexplored Interior by Jay Sander in Washington, DC (2015). His work We Hold These Truths… was selected for the 2012 National ACDFA Festival at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Vincent was awarded the 2011 – 2012 Towson University Student Government Association Faculty Member of the Year. He is a 2014 – 2015 NextLook Artist for the University of Maryland College Park and Joe’s Movement Emporium, a 2012-13 American Dance Institute Incubator Artist (MD), a 2016 Baker Artist Award finalist, an Urban Bush Women BOLD Facilitator, faculty member for the UBW Summer Institutes (NY and LA) and Professor of Dance at Towson University (MD).
is a former principal dancer with The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. He has performed in several Broadway productions, including A Chorus Line, Bob Fosse’s Dancin’, Reggae and Bubblin’ Brown Sugar. He served as Resident Dance Supervisor for The Lion King – Los Angeles Production. He has worked on several productions with Debbie Allen and The Debbie Allen Dance Academy, The Lula Washington Dance Theater, The Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, The Duke Ellington School of the Arts, The Dance Institute of Washington as Instructor. He has recently been awarded The Legend of Dance Award presented by The Black College Dance Exchange. He is now Professor of Jazz Dance at American University and an instructor at The Washington Ballet @ Thearc.
formal training began in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she majored in Modern Dance and Vocal Music with various modern, jazz and voice instructors at the school for Creative and Performing Arts. In those early years, she performed with the Cincinnati Opera. Further studies in modern dance and creative movement led Ms. Soumah to expand her interest to Early Childhood Education at the University of Cincinnati. In 1992, she began her extensive study of West African Dance under the tutelage of Aidoo Holmes, Founder/Artistic Director of Wose Dance Theater. With Wose, she had the privilege to study and tour with some of the best African artists of the National Ballet of the Republic of Guinea, Moustapha Bangoura, Mabinity Bangoura, Legendary Fadiba Olare, Djembe Fola Mamady Keita and Yamousa Soumah.
began his dance training in his senior year of high school and has since been affiliated with companies such as Morgan State Modern Dance Ensemble, Baltimore Dance Project, Howard County Ballet and many other dance projects. He was featured in a duet by Alexis DeVance, which was presented at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts during the American College Dance Conference in 2014. His outstanding performance with his duet partner won the Outstanding Student Choreography Award from the American College Dance Conference and Dance Magazine. The following year, his choreography was chosen to showcase at the American College Dance Conference. He is very excited to be a part of What’s Going On and cannot wait to hear the audience response to the company’s hard work with this captivating project.
holds a BA in Dance, a BA in English and a Masters in Divinity. A former member of the Chuck Davis African American Dance Ensemble and Liz Lerman’s Dance Exchange, Ronya-Lee has travelled extensively performing and choreographing. Her work has been commissioned by Duke University, PG Community College, PG Arts Council, Dance For All Youth Company in South Africa, DancEthos and Joy of Motion’s Youth Dance Ensemble. Ronya-Lee is currently on the Dance Department faculty at Northwestern High School and serves as Artistic Director for her company, Dancing by the Power: Movement Matters. She is entering her second season with RebollarDance and is thrilled to be a part of What’s Going On.
Rita Jean Kelly Burns
is originally from Williamsburg, VA, was inspired by the movie Flashdance and has been training, performing and choreographing ever since. Rita’s background is in jazz / modern dance, musical theater and in the dance music culture. She has performed and worked with several well-known, respected artists including, Adrian Bolton, Bill T Jones, Nicholas Leichter Dance Company, Gesel Mason, Monstah Black, Ultra Naté, Poji Records, Tony Powell, Deborah Riley, David Rousseve, Helanius Wilkins as well as with former House Majority Leader and Dancing With the Stars contestant, Tom Delay.
is a Boston native, who began to hone his love and appreciation of the performing arts in his early years of junior high. While finishing a degree in Business at Florida State University, Patrick directed a Tallahassee dance company that created evening length productions and toured throughout Florida. Patrick moved to Orlando where he earned a MA in Business Administration, as well a BA in Dance, which brought him to perform throughout the United States and abroad. Patrick augmented his training with faculty and choreographers including Michael Foley, Andee Scott, Jeanne Travers, Kevin Iega Jeff, Gary Abbott and Jennifer Archibald.
is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and started her dance training at the age of 3. Her training started at the Baltimore County Youth Ballet, Baltimore School for the Arts and the Dance Theater of Harlem Residency Program. Stephanie has received numerous scholarships to train over the summer at Ballet Austin, Dance Theater of Harlem, Dallas Black Dance Theater and Alonzo Kings Lines Ballet. Stephanie was selected to perform with the Dance Theater of Harlem at the White House and Library of Congress for the dedication and recognition of Arthur Mitchell and his contribution to the performing arts. She is currently a senior at Towson University majoring in Dance Performance, Choreography, and Education. While at Towson Stephanie has studied under Linda-Denise Fisher-Harrell, Vincent Thomas, Catherine Horta-Hayden, Runqiao Du, Erin Du and Sandra Perez. She is also the President for the National Honor Society for Dance Arts.
hails from Fort Worth, Texas where she received extensive training from the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, TX. Sara holds a BFA in Modern Dance from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA. Currently, Sara is a freelance artist in DC, the director of her own company, ArasDance and runs the Petworth Dance Project, an outdoor dance series in DC. Sara is extremely excited to be working with the talented cast and choreographers of What’s Going On, she is constantly inspired and challenged by this experience.
Jessica Emily Peasant Mncube
has a BFA from California Institute of the Arts (CALARTS) in California and studied at London Contemporary Dance School in England. She was a member of several community-based companies in the Columbia, South Carolina area including a founding member of Eboni Dance Theatre and a member of Columbia City Jazz Company and The Power Company (POCO). Jessica has danced professionally with Paul Brown’s La Sparizione, Moonlight Gypsy Productions, the Los Angeles-based Kin Dance Company, Louise Reiche’s LA Choreographers and Dancers, Zadonu Music and Dance Company, Michelle Zeitlin’s MORE ZAP Production and Lesole’s Dance Project. She has performed commercially with Summer Jam Hip-Hop and R & B 100.3 The Beat, a nationally-syndicated radio station, Los Angeles and internationally at Crossover Bali and the Payangan Festival in Indonesia.
A native of Belize, Central America, Jamie Thompson is internationally known and respected for his vision, professionalism and commitment to excellence. He spent his formative years on philanthropic endeavors through the arts. A highlight from those experiences was serving as director and choreographer for productions presented by the Rotary Club of Belize (2005-2009). In addition to his volunteerism, he began formal dance training with the Belize National Dance Company and The Dramatic Forces School of Dance. His passion for dance, stirred by the tutelage of the two institutions, led him to a successful pursuit of earning a BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography from Belhaven University in Jackson, MS. After college, his professional dance experience began with the Dallas Black Dance Theatre (2010-2014). Since then, he has performed with the Bruce Wood Dance Project, Contemporary Ballet Dallas, and Collin Country Ballet Theatre. Recently, Jamie, served as the Executive/Artistic Director for the International Conservatory of Performing Arts in North Texas. Currently, he is the Founder and CEO of LyveARTS International LLC – an international organization that is dedicated to cultivating and sustaining a global arts community.