Guest Artist: Kourtney French
Kourtney "Koko" French is a dancer, choreographer and creative director of Ink Movement. Graduating from Nashville School of the Arts she's studied under Stacie Flood- Popp , Travis Cooper, Andre Fuentes and Erica Sobol. She's been a choreographer for 10 years and has put on two of her own dance productions and has choreographed for Gospel artist Cece Winans and Kirk Franklin. Her mission is to help every generation embrace their purpose and really believe that God knew what he was doing when he gave them the gift of dance and or choreography. She stands on her favorite scripture Philippians 4:6 “Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your”.
Guest Artist: Shyama Iyer
Shyama Iyer is a scholar-artist who explores the intersection between Indian classical and American musical theatre performance practices. Iyer began her journey in Bharatha Natyam (South Indian classical dance) at the age of three, under her mother, Guru Akila Iyer. She did her first solo Bharatha Natyam concert at the age of 13 under Guru Dr. Vasundara Doraswamy of Mysore, India. She has given performances in venues throughout the United States and India, most recently at the Nirantaram Festival in Bangalore, India. Iyer teaches and co-directs the Guru Vandana Arts Academy, an Indian classical dance and music school in Kentucky, and conducts the Geeva Arts Festival (A festival of the Indian classical arts) every summer. In 2019, Iyer became an Indian Raga Fellow and has been featured in Bharata Natyam videos that have garnered over 500K views on Youtube. A few of her Director-Choreographer credits include Raasa Dhirana (2021), The Ramayana (2020), Shringara: An Indian classical music theatre retelling of love (2019), The Vaigai Express (2019), and The First Breath (2018). Iyer earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a major in Musical Theatre and a minor in Dance from Western Kentucky University. She will complete her Masters of Arts at the Ohio State University in May of 2022. https://www.shyamaiyer.com
Roberto was born in Cuba where he received his training in ballet at the Professional School of Arts. After graduating he joined the Ballet of Camaguey under the direction of Fernando Alonso. In 1996 he was invited to join the Contemporary Ballet of Caracas as a principal dancer. As a professional dancer Roberto has appeared in many parts or the world, including Mexico, Jamaica, Venezuela, Italy, Israel, Yugoslavia (Sarajevo), Europe, and the Middle East. He also appeared as a guest artist with American Ballet Theater in 2001 in Don Quixote. Most recently Roberto danced with Kentucky Ballet Theater in Lexington, Ky. His repertory includes the leading male roles in Coppélia, La Fille Mal Gardée, Diana and Acteon, Le Corsaire, Don Quixote, Flame of Paris, Cavalier and Snow King in The Nutcracker, pas de trois in Swan Lake, Blue Bird in Sleeping Beauty, Carmina Burana, Carmen, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Spring Waters pas de deux, Spartacus pas de deux, Conflicts pas de deux, Jonathan in Dracula, Cinderella, Fairy Doll pas de trois, the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz, Zuniga in Carmen, Raul in Phantom of the Opera, The Beast in Beauty and the Beast, and Captain Hook in Peter Pan. Roberto also has more than 20 years experience teaching ballet technique and partnering, he was on faculty of the Kentucky Ballet Theatre academy, and has been contracted as a guest teacher in Chicago, Florida, Kentucky, New York and Puerto Rico.
Amanda Clark is a Professor and Dance Program Coordinator at Western Kentucky University, where she teaches all levels of jazz and tap dance technique, Dance Appreciation, and Dance Pedagogy. She is the faculty director of and a choreographer for the WKU Dance Company. She earned her BFA in Dance Performance with an emphasis in jazz, tap, and musical theatre dance from Oklahoma City University. She was a Graduate Fellow at The University of Oklahoma where she received her MFA in Dance with an emphasis in ballet and modern dance. Amanda has completed the Nan Giordano Jazz Dance Basic Certification and the American Tap Dance Foundation Rhythm Tap Teacher level one and two certificate training programs. Read more
Meghen McKinley is a modern dancer, choreographer, and educator. She is an Assistant Professor in Dance at Western Kentucky University, where she teaches all levels of Modern, Choreography, Improvisation, and Dance in Culture in addition to Ballet and Jazz Technique. Professional choreography and performances include: Drive, Inside These Walls, ID- Moving Collective: Louisville, KY; Champaign Arts Salon: Champaign, IL; Zodiaque Dance Company: State University of New York at Buffalo; From Dusk to Dawn- Anderson University: Anderson, IN; collaborative choreography, Locus of Control with Kylene Stephens - Motus Dance Company: Indianapolis, IN; and collaborative skype choreography, Wreckage - with Teal Darkenwald: East Carolina University. Read more
Anna grew up in Cincinnati, OH where she attended the city’s prestigious School for Creative and Performing Arts. She received her early ballet training under Mark Diamond, Sheila Cohen and Patricia Rozow. Anna graduated with her BFA from the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music, where she studied under Yi Qi Chang, Carol Iwasaki, Oleg Sabline and Jiang Qi. Read more
Kylene Stephens is a Part-time Instructor of Dance at Western Kentucky University, where she teaches varying levels of Jazz and Tap, as well as Dance Appreciation, Choreography, and Dance Company. She has been an Adjunct Instructor of Dance at Western Kentucky University since the Fall of 2015, and has worked closely with both the Dance and Musical Theatre Majors and Minors while choreographing for the WKU Dance Company and Musical Mainstages. A WKU Alumna, Kylene received her BA in Dance and BS in Biology as a Hilltopper in 2013, and has recently completed her MFA in Dance through Hollins University in Roanoke, VA. Read more