CYNTHIA JONES (CO-ARTISTIC DIRECTOR – BALLET, MODERN, JAZZ)
Cynthia Jones began dancing at the age of nine at Thompson Dance Studio. Under the tutelage of studio owners Kae Thompson Payne and Pat Thompson Joyner, Cynthia’s love for dance not only took root but flourished. At Thompson Dance Studio, Cynthia trained with master teachers Karel Shook, Charles Moore, Paul Russell, Bruce Hawkins and Frank Ashley. Cynthia also studied at the New Jersey School of Ballet. Cynthia auditioned for the Alvin Ailey American Dance School and was offered a full scholarship in preparation for the Repertory Company. After Ailey, Cynthia graduated from Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia, with a B.S. in Health, Physical Education and Dance. At Hampton, Cynthia was a member of the Terpsichorean Dance Company and choreographed many of their performance pieces. Cynthia is a respected teacher and colleague. She taught dance for 34 years in the Paterson Public School System and is now retired. Her students have traveled extensively throughout the community to perform for various organizations. Cynthia was a recipient of the 2005-2006 Governor’s Teacher Recognition Award and Paterson Education Association’s Teacher of the Year Award for the Academy of Performing Arts. She is a long time member of NDA/AAHPERD. Cynthia’s expertise is recognizing talent and developing a student’s potential she sees the “dancer” within the student. Cynthia has won awards for directing and choreography. Over the years, her competition groups have won several awards including: 1st Place, Elite Gold, High Gold, and 1st Place Best Costume. Cynthia’s students have been accepted into dance programs at noted schools such as The University of the Arts, Point Park University and Montclair State University School of the Arts. Cynthia has helped so many students find their true passion – dance. But passion alone does not equal success. Cynthia provides what young dancers need: a strong foundation in dance technique. Cynthia strives to pass on her passion for dance, her knowledge of the skills needed, and her creativity to all the students at Effusion Dance Collective.
DAJHIA INGRAM MADDOX (CO-ARTISTIC DIRECTOR – BALLET, MODERN)
Dajhia Ingram Maddox seeks to enrich lives and communities through ministry and the arts. Originally from Paterson, NJ, she is an advocate for arts education and believes in the power of community building through the arts.Dajhia holds a B.F.A. in Dance Education from the University of the Arts and a M.F.A. in Dance from Florida State University. Mrs. Maddox has had the great privilege of working with various choreographers and is a former member of Gina Gibney Dance, NYC. She is grateful for opportunities to perform and teach throughout the Tri-State area. After being awarded a 2008 Choreographic Fellowship Grant from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Dajhia founded Dajhia Ingram Dance, Inc. a non-profit professional modern dance company. The company mission is to provide an outlet for artistic expression in culture, community, art and faith for the people of Paterson, NJ and the surrounding communities. Mrs. Maddox is currently a Program Manager for In-School Programs, at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and is married to Allen Ricky Maddox. It is her desire to educate and impact lives through Effusion Dance Collective and in all that she does.
MELANIE JONES (ASSOCIATE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR – TAP, JAZZ)
Melanie has over twenty three years of dance experience. She has trained in Tap, Jazz, and Ballet. She began competing at the age of twelve in numerous competitions along the east coast. Melanie graduated from Clark Atlanta University where she received her BA in Mass Media Arts. While attending Clark Atlanta University, she continued to dance with the universities dance team. She earned a MA in Special Education and is a Special Education teacher. Melanie is dedicated to sharing her passion for dance with her students.
MUNYIVA MUNGUTI (TEACHER – AFRICAN, JAZZ, TAP)
Munyiva was born and raised in Paterson, New Jersey. She began dancing at the age of 3. She has trained extensively in ballet, tap, jazz, modern, lyrical, hip-hop, African and pointe. She has also trained at Broadway Dance Center with Shiela Barker, Frank Hatchett, Chuck Kelly, Tweetie and Deborah Wilson. She has competed and won numerous awards as a group performer and soloist at competitions like Dance Educators of America, Starquest, Starbound, and Dance Masters of America. Munyiva continued to dance in college as a member of Syracuse University Dance Team in Syracuse, New York where she received a dual B.S in Political Science and Communications and Rhetorical Studies. As a student athlete, she was also able to balance involvement with a prominent African/modern based dance company on campus, Creations Dance Company. By her junior year, Munyiva was named Coordinator/Director of the Company and held this role until she graduated. Throughout high school and college, Munyiva remained active with dance in her hometown by performing at her church (Calvary Baptist Church) and for her Sorority events (Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.). Her favorite Style of Dance is African and Funky jazz with technique and attitude. She is a proud mother of twin girls Makayla and Maliya.
ALISON A. OWUSU (TEACHER – JAZZ, HIP-HOP)
Alison A. Owusu is a native of the Bronx, New York. She began her dance training at Bronx Dance Theater where she studied classical ballet, tap and jazz. She has also trained at the world renowned Broadway Dance Center and Steps on Broadway in ballet, hip hop, modern, contemporary jazz, world dance, tap, and jazz. Alison graduated from Montclair State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education and Health. She also received a dance pedagogy certification from MSU. Alison has been working with young dancers all over the Northern New Jersey area for over 7 years and is very happy to be on staff at EDC.
JENNIFER FLORENTINO (TEACHER – MODERN)
Jennifer Florentino, a native of Paterson, New Jersey, began training with Mrs. Cynthia Jones at The Academy of Performing Arts. She received her BFA in Dance from Point Park University in May 2014. While at Point Park she had the opportunity to perform in several works including pieces by Kyle Abraham, Randy Duncan, Martha Graham, José Limón, Bill T. Jones, and Dwight Rhoden. Upon graduation she was able to perform “Till the End” at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., a duet she choreographed with her partner, John O’Neil. Ms. Florentino had the privilege of joining the Disney Cruise Line as a Main- stage dancer on board the “Disney Fantasy”. Jennifer’s freelance dance career is based in New York City, where she has worked with artists such as Maleek Washington, Yoshito Sakuraba, Marielis Garcia and Antonio Brown. Jennifer has also had the opportunity to be a part of the inaugural family of Axis Connect, where she worked extensively with Aszure Barton, The Barton Movement founders Cherice and Charissa Barton, and many of the world’s leading industry professionals. Jennifer has been a company member of Deeply Rooted Dance Theater since 2014 and is currently humbled to be a part of “You’ll Still Call Me By Name,” choreographed by Sonya Tayeh premiering at New York Live Arts this December. Jennifer is very excited to be a part of Effusion Dance Collective faculty this year.
CRYSTAL LYNN RODRIGUEZ (TEACHER – BALLET, MODERN)
Crystal Lynn Rodriguez was born in Paterson, New Jersey and studied at the Academy of Performing Arts under the direction of Mrs. Cynthia Jones. She furthered her education at the Rosa L. Parks Fine and Performing Arts High School and went on to graduate from Montclair State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance. Throughout her college career, she has performed repertoire by Chase Brock, Joao Carvalho, Jessica DiMauro, Douglas Dunn, Martha Graham, Bill T. Jones, Larry Keigwin, José Limón, Andrea Miller, Earl Mosley, Doug Varone, and has had the honor of performing at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Jacob’s Pillow, and The Joyce Theater. Over the years she has received scholarships to attend New Jersey Performing Arts Center’s Youth Artist Institute, Earl Mosley’s Institute of the Arts, and the Movement Invention Project. She has performed with Life Dance Company, JENNIFERCHINdance, DiMauro Dance, Robert Mark Dance, Zest Collective, and marked dance project. Since conquering her battle with ovarian cancer in 2015, she has continued to rehearse, perform, and teach within the NY/NJ area. She feels immensely grateful for being able to pursue her passions in the performing arts and having the opportunity to share knowledge and exchange experiences with others who feel the same way.
JUSTIN DOMINIC (TEACHER – BALLET, MODERN, CONTEMPORARY)
Justin Dominic (Newark, NJ) began his dance training at Newark Arts High School and was a fellowship student at The Ailey School. He completed summer programs at American Ballet Theater in Bermuda on the Katherine Zeta Jones Scholarship, Joffrey Ballet School, and Jacob’s Pillow. On full scholarship, Justin received his B.F.A from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts where he performed with the Limon Company and other works by Mark Morris, Lar Lubovitch, Merce Cunningham, George Balanchine, Donald McKayle, and Larry Keigwin. He was a member of Lustig Dance Theater, LaneCoArts, Dance Iquail, Keigwin + Co, and performed with the Mark Morris Dance Group in Hard Nut, as well as a dancer with The Metropolitan Opera working with choreographers Doug Varone, Mark Morris, and Alexei Ratmansky. Justin has worked closely with Ronald K. Brown, Hofesh Scheter, Carolyn Adams, and Francesca Harper and is a principal dancer with Nai Ni Chen Dance Company.
NATALIE PETRELLI-PERAGALLO (TEACHER – ACRO)
Natalie may be small, but her personality, love for people, and desire to help others is anything but! Originally from Totowa, Natalie had always been an active little girl participating in basketball, piano, softball, cheerleading, and most importantly, gymnastics. Although Natalie was invited to join advanced teams in many sports, she decided to focus her energy on competitive gymnastics, training under the notable Natalia Shapashnikova (1980 Gold Medalist) and Pavel Sout (1981 World Champion) of GYMNASTIKA after being asked to join their pre-team in 1994. She went on to compete in the state of New Jersey and other states until 1999/2000. Natalie excelled in her favorite event, the Balance Beam and unexpectedly flourished on the Vault scoring high 8’s and 9’s in both events. Natalie was a level 7/8 gymnast when she “retired” from competing but continued her gymnastics practice for recreational purposes in high school and continues to train to this day. In 2007, Natalie graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication Studies from Montclair State University and received her teaching license in Health and Physical Education from William Paterson University in 2011. As a Red Belt, she has been training in Traditional Tae Kwon Do for 8 years working hard towards her Black Belt. Natalie, or better known by her students as “Mrs. P,” currently teaches Health and P.E. at Memorial Middle School in Woodland Park.
ESIRA CASTILLO (TEACHER – BALLET, JAZZ, LYRICAL)
Esira Castillo is a classically trained dancer with over 15 years of dance, coaching and choreography experience. She has performed around the world and was cast in Walt Disney World’s spectacular, “Celebrating the Seasons.” She has danced for Catherine McPhee and filmed by ABC. Her most memorable performances were experienced aboard Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines ship, Freedom of the Seas, where she was featured in 3 production shows including: “Once Upon a Time,” “Marquee,” and “Now You See It.” As a young artist she received training from Montclair State University and the American Academy of Ballet. Throughout her youth Esira competed at regional and national competitions, where as a soloist and ensemble performer received multiple platinum and special recognition awards.
Jamie began taking dance classes at a young age and practiced a variety of styles of dance such as Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Lyrical, Acro, Hip Hop and many more. At age 6 Jamie began performing in competitions all over the East Coast as a soloist, as well as in small and large group numbers. Jamie later on attended Rosa Parks School of Fine and Performing Arts as a Dance major adding Modern dance and Dance Composition to her repertoire. After graduating in 2008, she attended University of Arts in Philadelphia, PA as a Dance major. In her freshman year Jamie choreographed and performed in multiple pieces for the student choreographed show at UARTS. In 2010 Jamie was accepted to participate in Broadway Dance Center’s summer internship where she studied many different styles of dance under many influential teachers. There she also was guided through the fundamentals of auditioning for professional dance work, such as resumes, head shots, and even mock auditions. Jamie joined “4June” a group of four female Hip Hop dancers, who performed in the North Jersey area at various events as well as music videos for artist such as Lumidee. In 2012 she relocated to providence, Rhode Island where she danced in the show “Cabaret”choreographed by Shura Baryshnikov with “Wilbury Theater Group”. Jamie recently returned back to the New Jersey area in the Fall of 2015. She is currently working towards a professional dance career and is so excited to work with Effusion Dance Collective!