Convention

The Convention

GEAR-UP for a Great Season 

February 8th, 2020 

The Cole Center @ Richmond Community College 

A weekend of Learning, Growing, and Preparing for an Incredible Season

Top Industry Professional Instructors:

April Cook, Daniel Browning, Jessica Hodgins,

Dale Lam, Marissa Garrison, Melissa Phios

Classes in Jazz, Lyrical/Contemporary, Hip-Hop, Ballet, Tap, and Musical Theater

SPECIAL FEATURE: Dancing for Film

Awards & Scholarships presented from these Awesome Partners and MORE!!! 

                     

Venue:  

The Cole Center
Richmond Community College
1042 West Hamlet Avenue
Hamlet, NC 28345

ROCKINGHAM MAP LINK 

   

Host Hotel:

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Rockingham
800 East US Highway 74, Business
Rockingham, NC 28379
(910) 817-7288
RATE: $129.00 

Meet our Stellar Faculty… 

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April Cook is an NYC-based teacher, choreographer and dancer. While attending UNC-Chapel Hill, she studied with Gene Medler, director of the North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble. April currently teaches throughout the country, and is a judge and teacher for several competitions and conventions including Mainstage Productions, Dance Theater USA, and The PTC Productions Annual Teacher Workshop. She has been on faculty with Broadway Dance Center since 2004, and has had the pleasure of leading several workshops and projects throughout her years there. She has been a guest speaker at Dance Teacher Magazine’s Summer Conference, a tap instructor for Rosie O’Donnell’s Rosie’s Broadway Kids theater scholarship program in Manhattan, a guest teacher at the Osaka School of Music in Osaka, Japan, and had the privilege of performing nationally with Savion Glover. April is also the current liaison between Good Morning America and BDC for dance segments, and has been a movement coach for two of their surprise proposal flash mobs. Performance credits include: The Colbert Report, tap dancer at Usher Raymond’s birthday celebration at the Rainbow Room in NYC, Up Front for Cartoon Network, Britney Spears’ Elizabeth Arden fragrance launch party, Neil Young and Crazy Horse Greendale Tour NYC dates, the WNBA Charlotte Sting dance team, Mable Lee’s Dancing Ladies, Good Housekeeping’s Shine On at Radio City Music Hall and A Shared Evening: Michelle Dorrance and Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, as part of the Danspace Project at St. Mark’s Church.

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Melissa Pihos is an Assistant Professor of Dance at Valdosta State University she holds an MFA in Choreography/Dance and a BA in Biology University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Melissa was recently awarded The 2018 ADCC Industry Excellence Award for Judge/Convention Instructor by The ADCC (Association of Conventions & Competitions) in New Orleans, Louisiana at the ADCC Industry Awards Gala held during the Annual Meeting. Melissa Pihos began dancing at a very young age and has been performing professionally for over 20 years. She has performed all over the United States and her film work has screened in several film festivals across the country. She has danced for Flatlands Dance Theatre, Van Dyke Dance Group, John Gamble Dance Theatre and Sidelong Dance Company. She has also performed in works by Martha Graham, Larry Keigwin and Twyla Tharp. She is an award-winning filmmaker and is currently touring her work, PIHOS A Moving Biography as Alzheimer’s disease awareness events. PIHOS A Moving Biography is a documentary dance/film performance that explores the life of her father, NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame receiver Pete Pihos and his battle with Alzheimer’s disease. The work has toured to Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Lubbock, TX, Philadelphia, New York City and Santa Fe. Holding an MFA in Choreography/Dance from UNC-Greensboro, her previous dance faculty appointments include UNC-Greensboro, UNC-Charlotte, High Point University and Salem College.

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Daniel Browning is the Creator and CEO of Dance 2 Inspire and the Unleashed Convention. He has been featured on So You Think You Can Dance and America’s Got Talent and has worked with artists all over the country, dancing, choreographing, and directing. He’s worked with Leon Lee (Beyoncé, Ciara, Beth Spangler from The Voice), Stevo Jones (Lyndsey Sterling, Step Up, Lloyd), and He has been featured in many commercials and feature films such as Baywatch, Baby Driver, and Harley Davidson. His passion is to empower the younger generation, providing resources and opportunities that he never had.

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Dale Lam is the Columbia City Jazz Company Artistic Director, she was named “Top Private Studio/Conservatory Teacher” by Dance Teacher magazine and The Dance Teacher Summit in Longbeach, California this summer! She is an active choreographer and master instructor throughout the United States and has taught internationally at the Kiradjiev Cultural Center in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, Danz Studio in Costa Rica, and the Singapore Dance Association at Lasalle College of the Arts in Singapore.

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Marissa Garrison is the reigning America’s Miss Dance 2020 and attends the American Musical & Dramatic  Academy in New York City. Marissa Garrison has trained in all forms of dance for the past 17 years at Barbie’s Encore Dance Productions. Over the years, she has also had the privilege of working with the Joffrey Ballet, Abby Lee Dance Company, North Carolina School of the Arts, and the American Ballet Theatre. In addition to dance, Marissa also receives theater and vocal training at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy as a Dance Theatre Major in New York City, where she currently resides. This past year, Marissa was recognized in the Top 20 Best Actress Category in the states of North Carolina and South Carolina at the prestigious Blumey Awards for High School Theater for her performance as Sally Brown in “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown.” She served the great state of North Carolina in 2017 as Miss North Carolina’s Outstanding Teen and was named the Distinguished Young Woman of Gaston County for 2019. She has used those opportunities as a platform to raise awareness for organ donation through the Destiny Lives On Foundation. She founded the “Sharing Talent, Giving Life” benefit talent show in 2016 to raise funds for the foundation and has raised over $10,000 in four years. During her competitive dance career, she achieved several National Championships, along with winning America’s Tiny Miss Dance 2008, America’s Petite Miss Dance 2011, and America’s Young Miss Dance 2015. 

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Jessica Hodgins is a California native who started dancing at the age of four. She was a Grand National Champion competitive jazz, lyrical, tap and ballet dancer training with Karol Matthews when at 9 she decided to focus on classical ballet training and began taking classes at Riverside Ballet Arts. With the mentorship of David Allan, Glenda Carhart, Kathleen Riker, and Michelle Jenkins, numerous workshops with Darci Kistler, Kipling Houston, Katrina Killian, and Clinton Rothwell  as well as training with the School of American Ballet, San Francisco Ballet School,and Miami City Ballet School, she was accepted as one of only three female scholarship students to the Miami City Ballet School Pre-professional Program. While attending the school Jessica was taught and coached extensively by Truman Finney, Geta Constantinescu and director of Miami City Ballet and renowned American ballet dancer Edward Villela as well as famous ballerina’s Nancy Raffa, Suzanne Farrell and Violette Verdy. While in Miami she was personally selected by Edward Villela to work and tour with the company and train in instructing dance under an established teacher in the Miami City Ballet Schools Children’s Division. After Graduating from Miami City Ballet School’s Pre- Professional Program and dancing and touring with the Miami City Ballet, Jessica then joined the Colorado Ballet.   After returning to California to pursue her career in choreography and teaching, Jessica joined the staff of Riverside Ballet Arts, as well as teaching for numerous dance studios and conservatories in the Inland Empire, including Just Plain Dancing, JDI Dance Company, Studio 31, Dance Dimensions Performing Arts Center and others. She also continued dancing with the contemporary modern company Intersect Dance Theatre, California Riverside Ballet and BRAVA in soloist and principal roles, later becoming “Ballet Mistress” of BRAVA in 2012.  In the summer of 2013, Jessica was honored by being asked to join the esteemed faculty of the California State Summer School of the Arts at the California Institute of the Arts teaching modern dance, choreography and dance composition. Jessica has had the joy of performing in many classical and contemporary ballet’s including roles as “Cinderella” in David Allan’sCinderella, “Odette” in Swan Lake, “Clara”,”Arabian”, “Mirliton”, “Snow Queen”  and “Sugar Plum Fairy” in David Allan’s The Nutcracker, other numerous roles in Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, Le Corsaire and La Sylphide, as well as performing in Balanchine’s Who Cares, Concerto Borocco, and Symphony in C, Clinton Rothwell’s Concerto in G, and Pathos, Septime Webber’s Where the Wild Things Are,  and Michael Pink’s Dracula, as well as many modern  and contemporary pieces. Upon returning to Southern California she choreographed multiple modern, contemporary and ballet works throughout the Inland Empire such as Art Vulups “Just Breathe”, “A Flowering Tree” for Riverside Lyric Opera, “Ghost’s of Yesterday”, “Ditching Degas”, “Esther” and “Growing Down” at BRAVA, “Sous Le Voile” and “Male” for Riverside City College and multiple untitled works for monthly productions of the City Of Riverside’s “Art Walk”. While in California, she trained also had the opportunity to train with Mandy Moore, Stacey Tookey, Sonya Tayeh and Suzy Q. Jessica has appeared in televised commercial advertisement, greeting cards and has modeled for still life sculptures and paintings with the Art Institute. In the summer of 2015 Jessica moved to Western North Carolina and since, Jessica has taught multiple master classes in the area as well as joining the artistic staff of Releve Performing Arts Center and later becoming the Assistant Director at Releve Performing Arts Center. Jessica’s dances have won numerous choreography and overall awards and she prides herself on mixing classical technical style with a “west-coast” flare. Jessica’s teaching philosophy is based on the idea that students should be held to high standards but never discouraged due to mistakes, as well as being taught proper injury prevention and maintenance. Jessica seeks to provide her students with a  positive educational environment where improvements are rewarded with encouragement and children learn to love the satisfaction of a hard days work. She feels blessed in knowing that her own vast professional experience has led her to what she believes is her life’s calling, teaching children the joy and love of dance.

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