Will B. Bell began his formal training starting with the dance competition circuit at the age of 15 in the Baltimore area. Right after high school, Will attended Towson University as a finalist for the “Maryland Distinguished Scholar for Talent in the Arts” scholarship. Will received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance Performance with a concentration in Education for K-12 from Towson. During his collegiate years Will had opportunities to train prestigious programs at the Ailey School in NYC and the Lines Ballet School in San Francisco, CA.
During his training at Towson University, he studied heavily and worked under Linda Denise Fisher Harrell (former Ailey principal dancer), Troy Powell (Ailey II Artistic Director) and Runqiao Du (Former Washington Ballet principal dancer) just to a name a few.
After college, Will moved to Los Angeles to pursue his career in commercial dance where he has worked with television and movie choreographers such as Kitty McNamee, Denise Faye, Melanie Williams, Sean van der Wilt, and more.
Laura Edwards grew up studying all styles of dance during her childhood. It wasn't until after high school when her professional dancing career jump started as a featured dancer in a music video for hip hop artist Lil' Mo. Shortly after she took part in the feature film "Step Up", filmed near her hometown, she developed a new attitude towards the dance industry and moved to Los Angeles to enhance her skills
and take on new opportunities.
Since her new beginning, she is featured in the movies: Footloose, Hairspray, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Step up 2: the Streets, Big Momma's: Like Father, Like Son, and Hannah Montana: The Movie. Aside from the big screen, she was a dancer in the Britney Spears “Circus” tour, appeared in season one of "America's Best Dance Crew" and has had the pleasure to perform with others such as Beyonce and Miley
With an affinity for dance, Laura exercises her talents with choreography as well. As a recurring instructor for the notorious dance convention, "Monsters of Hip Hop," she's able to give back and inspire aspiring professional dancers through her instruction. As a reflection of her competition background, she choreographs award winning numbers for studios and dance teams across the United States. She has
also assisted in choreography for Justin Bieber's BELIEVE Tour, Jennifer Lopez, and “So You Think You Can Dance” in both the US and Canada.
Watch the video of Karla's Summer Intensive class at Spotlight and see Karla's web site here.
MJ, originally from Charlotte, NC, is an alumni of the Edge scholarship program and has her Bachelors of Fine Arts in Dance with a concentration in Choreography and Performance. Professionally, Melissa has performed for Sonya Tayeh Dance, Peter Chu, Beyonce on Billboard Awards, Edge’s annual show, Tessandra Chavez 'Unity' shows, Dancing Under the Stars Festival, and the REVERB Festival. She has danced in such shows as 'Battles' and 'The Endurance to Move' and her newest work will perform in Edinburgh, Scotland in August. The work Melissa is doing with her students to help provide a path for them to thrive as they have moved on to Julliard, Arts Umbrella, and Jacob’s Pillow, means more than her personal accomplishments. MJ is Looking forward to sharing the magic with those who are passionate and eager about the work they will do in this art form.
Anatoli Kucheruk was born in the Ukraine and studied dance throughout Eastern Europe. He was educated at the Ballet Academy in Kiev, Ukraine and the Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia. He graduated with a Ballet Soloist Diploma and soon began touring in places such as Australia, Holland, New Zealand, Germany, Turkey, Israel, England, India, Austria, South Korea, France, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, and the United States. In 1986, Anatoli was invited for a special appearance with The Stars of the Bolshoi Ballet. He worked with dancers from the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow and the Kirov Theater in St. Petersburg, including, Asaf Messerer, Marina Kondratieva, Shamil Yagudin, Boris Akimov, Mikhail Lavrovsky, Sonia Arova, Natalia Bessmertnova, Yuriy Vladimirov, Nadejda Pavlova, Nina Semizorova, Oleg Vinogadov, and Miro Popovich. Anatoli has performed and worked with the Los Angeles Ballet, Ballet West, the Russian Ballet Institute, Murray Ballet Center, La Jolla Festival Dance Center, the State of Alabama Ballet, the Ventura Ballet of California, Birmingham Southern College Spring Dance Concert, and the Kirov Academy of Ballet of Washington, D.C. Among many awards and recognitions received, Anatoli was given the honor of being the first Soviet dancer to perform Balachine's Allegro Brillante in America.
Anatoli is currently the Conservatory Ballet Master of the Boy's Ballet Program at CityDance Strathmore and we are delighted to have him as a special guest faculty member.
Growing up in the suburbs of Maryland, Zach Lattimore began his dance training at the Dance Theater of Harlem. At the age of 10, Zach fell in love with Hip-Hop Dance, where he then joined the WNBA Washington DC Mystic Mayhem Dance Team performing at every home game during the halftime.
A few years later, Zach joined the non-profit Hip-Hop dance troupe, Culture Shock DC in 2002. Over the next 6-7 years Zach performed and taught classes both nationally and internationally from Zurich, Switzerland to San Diego, CA. With the many opportunities that Culture Shock DC provided, he was able to train and learn from some of the best in the industry.
In 2010, Zach moved to Los Angeles to pursue his career where he has graced the stage with artists such as Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Austin Mahone, and has also joined Pop-Star Legend/Icon Britney Spears on her Femme Fatale World Tour as a principal dancer.
Zach's television credits include Glee, Nickelodeon's Big Time Rush Beach Movie, Disney's Austin & Ally, Two and a Half Men, ABC's Sing Your Face Off, and more. Zach has worked with and learned from some of the top choreographers and directors in the industry ranging from NappyTabs to Luam Keflezgy to Jamie King, and has even assisted & contributed choreography on different projects such as Kelly Rowland, Britney Spears, So You Think You Can Dance, and Danity Kane. Even though Zach has achieved some of his biggest goals within a short amount of time, he continues to learn and still believes that there is always room for growth.
Check out Zach's latest choreography video from a dance class at Broadway Dance Center in New York. We can't wait to have him back at Spotlight for yet another Hip Hop master class.
A native of Fredericksburg, Virginia, Robbie is a veteran of the Broadway stage having spent almost two years in the 2000 revival of "The Music Man." During that time, he appeared on "The Tony Awards," "The Today Show," "The Rosie O'Donnell Show," and the "Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade." Robbie won the first and only title of "American Dance Idol". He filmed a commercial for K-mart and appeared as a contestant on the TV show "Star Search." His choreography has been highly awarded at numerous competitions. Robbie was a featured dancer in the final cast of "Encore!" at the Tokyo Disney Resort in Japan. Robbie is a founding member of Bad Boys of Dance and was featured in 2007 at the company's debut performances at Jacob's Pillow. In 2008, he originated a principal role in "Rock the Ballet" and since then has performed in over 200 performances with the company around the world. Most recently Robbie was featured as a semi finalist with BBD's 'Bad Boys of Ballet' on America's Got Talent.
Member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA, AGVA, DEA, and CEA
Jimmy Peters is extremely excited with his position as the Artistic Director of Temecula Dance Company. He has a Masters of Fine Arts in Dance from the University of California-Irvine with an emphasis in choreography, along with a B.A. in Theater from the University of Maryland. Jimmy’s performing credits include: the Off-Broadway production of The Jazz Singer (Bob), the first national tour of Showboat (Pete), International tour of A Chorus Line (Mark), 42nd St. (Billie), George (George), Can-Can (Theophille) and the original cast of Quilt - A Musical Celebration. He has performed at the movie premieres of Hunchback of Notre Dame, Pocahontas, 101 Dalmatians, and Toy Story. Command performances include the White House and The Kennedy Center. He has taught for every major dance organization at the regional, national, and international level along with Broadway Dance Center, 92nd St. Y (Harkness Dance Center) and Alvin Ailey Outreach Student Program. He has choreographed for numerous national tours, dance concerts and industrials including: Carnival "Choreographers' Showcase" in L.A., NBC’s America’s Got Talent and CBS’s Live to Dance. In The Mood, University of California - Dance Escape and New Slate, University of Michigan, University of Iowa, Tapping Dads, Mira Costa College’s Fall and Spring Dance Concerts, Productions of Sound of Music and Me and My Girl for Azusa Pacific University, Once Upon a Mattress for Great Oak High School, Merridian (starring three mo tenors), Make A Wish Foundation (Katie Couric), and Say Thanks America (White House). You can see his former students in films, TV shows like "So You Think You Can Dance" and Broadway shows, “Ghost”, “Adam’s Family”, "Fosse", "Lion King”, “Wicked”, and the Radio City Rockettes. Jimmy believes that dancers use their bodies as their canvas to create their art. To dance is to make the audience feel something about humanity that they haven’t felt or been exposed to before. Jimmy would especially love to thank his wonderful family, Lainie, James and Sela Rose. I love you with all my heart and soul.
One of the most talented and inspiring dance professionals of our time. Destini Rogers has had an intense passion for dance since the age of five, studying modern, ballet, jazz, African, flamenco, and hip hop. While attending Classen School of Advanced Studies, Destini found her love for creative freedom by age 13. Through dance, acting, choreographing, and singing, Destini was allowed to be a complete artist. During this time, she won several choreography awards, including the Alvin Ailey and Spotlight Choreography Award. From that moment on, Rogers never stopped designing work and perfecting her craft as a creator.
In 2001, Destini received a dance scholarship at the University of Central Oklahoma, where she was crowned Miss Black UCO. She began teaching an choreographing for Applause Studios under the direction of Emily Shock. In 2005, she became apart of the Top 8 Finalists in the search for America’s favorite dancer on Season One of So You Think You Can Dance. After this amazing experience, she was inspired to establish her very own professional dance company, Dare to Be Soul Dance Company. This lead her to choreographing award winning pieces for studios all over the nation, winning several NYCDA Critic Choice Awards, a number of JUMP Studio Picks, and Hall of Fame Dance Challenge overall winners, regionally as well as nationally.
In 2005, Destini moved to Los Angeles in hopes to fulfill her dreams of hitting the big stage. In the four years of blood, sweat, and tears, she finally stepped in the light dancing alongside amazing artists such as Kanye West, Rihanna, Swizz Beats, Beyonce’ and Rain. Dancing with such amazing artists inspired Destini to follow her dream of being a successful recording artist as well as sharing her passion for dance. Her ability to diversely dance, choreograph, and sing gives her a creative dominance unlike any other artist. She truly believes that it is her destiny to travel the world inspiring young dancers to dream out loud and to boldly and courageously be the best artists they were meant to be.
Rasta Thomas was born in San Francisco, California, and raised in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It was evident from the beginning that he was a prodigy with a flair for the stage. He studied at the world-renowned Kirov Academy in Washington, DC. As a teenager he made dance competition history with honors including the Special Jury Prize from the 1994 Paris International Dance Competition, the Gold Medal in the Junior Men's Division of the 1996 Varna International Ballet Competition, and the Gold Medal in the Senior Men's Division of the Jackson, MS USA-IBC.
In 1995 he became a member of Le Jeune Ballet de France and in 1997 was invited to be a Principal Dancer with the Hartford Ballet. His guest credits include the Russian Imperial Ballet, National Ballet of China, Victor Ullate Ballet of Spain, Inoue Ballet of Japan, Ochi Ballet, Universal Ballet of Korea, Joffrey Ballet, Washington Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, CityDance and Philadanco. He has been a featured soloist at many galas, including Le Gala Des Etoiles. In 2001 he was the first American to become a member of the Kirov Ballet of St. Petersburg, Russia. In 2003 he joined Dance Theatre of Harlem as its youngest principal dancer. In 2007, Thomas founded the Bad Boys of Dance and is also now the artistic director of the ShowBiz National Talent Competition.
Thomas has danced diverse roles including "Albrecht" in "Giselle", "Basilio" in "Don Quixote", "Ali" in "Le Corsaire" and "Death" in "Debbie Allen's Soul Possessed". Television credits include a Bravo documentary in 1997, CBS' Breakfast with the Arts (1991), Sesame Street (1969), a featured solo during the 1999 Academy Awards and the Spring 2000 international ad campaign for The GAP.
He appears as "Timmy Chambers" in One Last Dance (2003), starring Patrick Swayze. Thomas has starred in Twyla Tharp's Broadway hit "Movin' Out." Critics have described Rasta's dance style as a mix of Mikhail Baryshnikov, Bruce Lee and Michael Jackson, "a force of nature". A truly multi-talented artist, Rasta spends most of his free time writing songs and scripts.
Melissa "MJ" Jackson