Success Stories: Dance

NWSA dance alumnus Robert Battle, is the third Artistic Director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. In this role, he has choreographed and set his works on the company and has led this world-renowned company to continue to reach audiences of all ages worldwide

NWSA dance alumnus Chris Rudd has been named as the New Victory LabWorks Artists for 2021. The LabWorks program is serves artists who are people of color, artists with disabilities, and artists who identify as LGBTQIA+, and the artists selected will receive $15,000 along with professional development and community support from the theater’s network of artists, educators, and other professionals. Rudd was named a Guggenheim Choreography Fellow in 2019 and is known for combining contemporary ballet with contemporary circus to address important social issues. Ruddr Dance Company’s presentation of NWSA alumnus Chris Rudd’s contemporary ballet, “Witness” on Instagram, was named Grammy Awards choice, as well as NY Times choice, for what to watch as part of New York City’s SummerStages Digital Day of Dance in celebration of Juneteenth.

The Alvin Ailey Virtual Season in December 2020 included NWSA dance alumnus Jamar Roberts’ choreography. His world premiere of "A Jam Session for Troubling Times" is set to the music of jazz saxophonist and composer Charlie "Bird" Parker. This work uses the energy, nuance, and virtuosity of the ‘bebop’ sound as a vehicle to lift our spirits and demonstrate that we are stronger than our circumstances. In addition to his award-winning career as a dancer with the Ailey Company, Mr. Roberts is the Ailey Company’s first Choreographer in Residence.

A number of NWSA dance alumni have added to their busy routines during the COVID 19 pandemic by engaging with students and the public at large through virtual dance, yoga and exercise classes, round- table Zoom discussions about the dance industry, and virtual performances. Among these alumnae are: Yusha-Marie Sorzano, Mariya Dashkina Maddux, Yara Travieso, Lloyd Knight, Melissa Verdecia, Laura Lopez, Annellyse Munroe, and many others.

NWSA dance alumna Sharron Lynn Williams, credits dance professor Peter London as her most influential teacher at New World School of the Arts and highlights that he helped her "bridge the gap from student to professional." Sharron, who performed in The Lion King, is featured in the September 17 issue of DanceSpirit.

Miami Light Project announced its commission for “Here & Now 2020” which included in the limited selection of participants, NWSA Loren Davidson, Liony Garcia, 2019 Maya Billig. As their prize, the artists Artists received a commission award, rehearsal space and production support in preparation for the premiere of Here & Now: 2020 at The Light Box at Goldman Warehouse.

NWSA Dance alumna Ally Love, renowned Peloton instructor, recounts her day in "It’s literally my “Feel Good Ride”- the name of the class-as it allows me to bridge the gap of how great I feel from church and being on the bike, working out with thousands of riders at the same time, inspiring them through uplifting and encouraging language."

Bessie Award-winning dance alumna Melissa Toogood performed on film at the prestigious Vail Dance Festival’s Now in the summer of 2020. She danced in a new work by former Batsheva Dance Company member, with performers Toogood, Smith, and American Ballet Theater dancer Calvin Royal III.

NWSA dance alumnus Lloyd Knight was involved as a consultant and choreographer for this summer’s Kaatsbaan Summer Dance performances in Kaatsbaan, New York, which took place from August 1 – September 27, 2020. All performances were free and twenty-five per cent of the donated support went to the NAACP and other BLM-related organizations.

NWSA dance alumna Rosie Herrera participated in the Joyce Theater’s Dancing Dialogues panel discussion in July 2020, which included a group of diverse dancer/choreographer/directors discussing their “experiences, cultures, and viewpoints as they are realized within their contemporary work.”

NWSA dance alumna Bianca Brewton, danced alongside Shakira during Superbowl 2020, and performed and toured with Beyoncé and Janet Jackson. She's s also a film and video performer appearing in Footloose (2011), Bruno Mars Featuring Cardi B: Finesse (Remix), Zedd & Kehlani: Good Thing (2019), and Step Up All In (2014) among others.

NWSA alumnae LaMichael Leonard, John Eirich, Christine Flores, Melissa Toogood, Lloyd Knight, Sara Matry-Guerre, Liony Garcia, and Christine Flores spoke to NWSA College students about their careers and about working through the pandemic as professional dancers, choreographers, and creative artists in December, 2020.

NWSA 2009 dance alumnus Keenan Washington, a member of the original national touring cast of the award-winning musical Hamilton: The Musical, danced alongside Shakira during Superbowl 2020. He was a cast member of both NBC’s Hairspray Live with Ariana Grande and Jennifer Hudson, and Peter Pan Live with Christopher Walken and Allison Williams. A singer as well as a dancer, Keenan has toured worldwide with artists such as Brandy, Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj, P. Diddy, Pharrell Williams, and Christina Aguilera to name a few. Mr. Washington is an NAACP ACT-SO Gold Medalist and National Finalist.

NWSA dance alumna Brigette Cormier was interviewed for the September 2020 issue of She talks about her early days as a dance student at New World School of the Arts, her professional career as a dancer and choreographer and the career path she has chosen to pursue in oder to find work, body and mind balance. As Brigette Cormier Dance Company, she works with educational organizations and offers kids programs in ballet, dance, creative movement, mindfulness, and meditation. She is also a professional choreographer and creates contemporary dance works for theater, screen, as well as site-specific. She trains professional dancers and adult students in private and group settings in ballet, barre fitness, and Pilates and considers the unique needs of every client and student as she curates each original curriculum.

Dance Magazine highlights two NWSA dance alumni among its 2021 list of "25 to Watch." In the list are NWSA High School alumna Gaby Diaz, NWSA College alumna Christine Flores. Congratulations to our exceptional dancers for continuing to do great and amazing things in the dance world.

NWSA 2014 dance alumna Annellyse Munroe explains, in American Ballet Theatre, how she became passionate about dancing at the young age of five when her father, would play the piano for her. After years of ballet classes at South Florida Ballet and summer intensives at ABT’s studios in New York, Annellyse discovered the various dance styles, such as Limon, Graham and Cunningham at NWSA. She earned a BFA degree in dance from New World School of the Arts, graduating Cum Laude in three years and continued to follow her dreams of becoming a professional dancer by auditioning for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and was selected to join the institution’s second company, Ailey II. After several years and an opportunity to dance with Beyoncé at MTV’s Video Music Awards, Annellyse signed to Bloc Talent Agency and went on to participate in various engagements, including the H&M x Kenzo New York Fashion Show SS17, Desigual’s SS18 collection at New York Fashion Week and a commercial for Carolina Herrera’s 212 VIP fragrance.

NWSA dance alumna Maya Billig, theater alumna Diana Lozano, theater alumna Natasha Tsakos, music alumnus Ari Urban are among the 18 winning artists chosen by the Knight Foundation for the "Knight New Work 2020" challenge, an initiative to accelerate the innovative approaches used by Miami artists to inspire and connect with audiences despite the challenges posed by the pandemic.

NWSA 2019 dance alumnus Enrique Villacresses is the recipient of a 2020 Dance Miami Choreographers Program grant, awarded by the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs in the amount of $10,000 to support his choreographic work.

NWSA dance faculty Peter London celebrated the 10th Anniversary of Peter London Global Dance Company with a virtual production, Women-Roses-Water. The program, a contemporary and Afro-Caribbean dance fusion, was presented online featuring group choreography reworked into solos and duets which were filmed separately and then edited for streaming, for a spectacular evening of dance. In addition to Mr. London’s choreography, the program featured choreography and dancing by many NWSA Dance alumnae including Leon Cobb, Justin Rapaport, Gentry Isaiah George, Annellyse Munroe, Sharon Lynn Williams, Christopher McKenzie, and Lloyd Knight. Dancers included alums Maria Burt, Isabelle Vazaquez, Alondra Balbuena, Alexander Campbell, and Aaron Lopez.