Digital Playbill: Hiplet Ballerinas

Queens Theatre
presents

Hiplet Ballerinas

The Claire Shulman Theatre at Queens Theatre
April 30, 2022 at 2:00 PM and 8:00 PM
May 1, 2022 at 3:00 PM

The Program

Act 1: “The Journey, The Evolution”

  1. “It’s Hiplet” Choreography by Homer Hans Bryant, Music by Fernando Jones and Homer Hans Bryant with the voice of Homer Hans Bryant

  2. Special Guest Artist “The Spiritual Ballerina’s Yes” Danced and choreographed by Chantal’ Hill, Music by Shekinah Glory Ministry, Olafur Arnaulds, Alice Sara Ott

  3. “Be Free”, choreography by Taylor Edwards, music remix of Aretha Franklin
  4. Film:  Interview with Homer Hans Bryant, the creator of Hiplet

  5. “Rhythm The Soul Of Life” premiered in 1994 with the original Bryant Ballet Company.
    Choreography by Homer Bryant, William Gill and others, featuring music from Phil Cochran and Legacy, A-Star, DJ MicksThe roots of Hiplet began with the Bryant Ballet company in the 1990’s.  “Rhythm The Soul of Life'' is a journey through the diaspora of African American dance, showcasing a variety of African and Afro-Caribbean dance techniques intertwined with Classical Ballet and Pointe.
  6. “From Ballet to Hiplet”
    Choreography by Homer Bryant, Kris Belvie, Trevon Lawrence and Imani Sailers; featuring music from Black Violin and Nuttin’ But Stringz.“From Ballet to Hiplet” is a play on the Ballet Hip Hop fusion showcasing how two opposites can come together.  Ballerinas and Hip Hop dancers trade moves to classical violin music set to a Hip Hop beat. Featuring Homer Bryant’s signature piece ‘Jammin’, “From Ballet to Hiplet” is a crowd favorite.

Act 2: “The Arrival, The Revolution”

  1. “React” World Premiere 2021
    Choreography by Trevon Lawrence and Anthony Sampson; music by The Pussycat Dolls
    Extended version of the Hiplet Ballerinas America's Got Talent Season 16 audition.
  2. “Missing You”
    Choreography by Nina Rose Wardanian; music by Roberta Flack, Aretha Franklin and Angie Stone“Missing You” is a departure from typical Hiplet, featuring Contemporary choreography with a more mature approach.  Chronicling the ebbs and flows of women as they navigate personal relationships, “Missing You” is an emotional journey of love, loss and sisterhood.
  3. “Because Of Them We Can” a short film by Nia Cooper. A tribute to African American women dancers who came before Hiplet and performed through obstacles, paving the way for today’s dancers to express themselves freely. 
  4. “Welcome to Chicago”
    Choreography by Homer Bryant, Anthony Sampson, Brandy Ford, Cameryn Stevens, Jayda Perry; music by Future Force, Chance The Rapper, Ric Wilson and othersHiplet honors its geographical roots by featuring dances to music by local Chicago artists.  Chicago’s music scene is earthy and diverse, from blues to jazz, rap to house, and everything in between.
  5. “Old School Hip Hop”
    Choreography by Anthony Sampson, Trevon Lawrence, Nia Parker; music samples from various artistsThe show finale will be an electrifying medley of Hiplet’s greatest hits, including some of the popular music and moves from social media.

Who's Who

Artistic Director

Homer Bryant 

 Homer Hans Bryant, the creator of Hiplet™,  is a former principal dancer with the Dance Theater of Harlem and a former member of Prima Ballerina Maria Tallchief's Chicago City Ballet. His professional credits include the Broadway production of Timbuktu with the Legendary Eartha Kitt, and the motion picture The Wiz with Diana Ross and Michael Jackson. Mr. Bryant is currently also Assistant Artistic Director for Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago. 

In 1990, he opened his own studio, Bryant Ballet, with a focus to offer all dancers, but especially low-income students and dancers of color, an entrée into classical ballet. By 1997, the mayor of Chicago renamed his school the “Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center” (CMDC) in honor of the studio’s work in the community. Other teaching and training experiences include working with the original casts of Cirque Du Soleil’s Mystere, Alegria, Quidam and Saltimbanco. Homer Bryant was also a guest instructor at the Dance Open Ballet Festival in Russia, where he taught  his unique body alignment/floor barre technique at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy, the Kirov Ballet Academy and the Boris Eifman School. 

Over the years, Bryant has continued to incorporate hip-hop and ballet, eventually coining the term Hiplet™ in 2009. CMDC has trained many dancers who now perform with Cirque Du Soleil, Alvin Ailey, Broadway productions and more.  CMDC is the only contemporary ballet school in the world that teaches Hiplet™.

Production Stage Management/Tour Management, Lighting and Projection Design

Gwenne Godwin

Gwenne is a passionate urban farmer who at the drop of the hat can morph into a stage manager, lighting designer, master electrician, tax preparer, and cupcake baker extraordinaire (so they say).  She has had the great privilege of working with so many talented performers including the Bryant Ballet, Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre, Chicago Moving Company, Chicago Jazz Ensemble, Deeply Rooted Dance Theatre Ensemble,  Hiplet Ballerinas and the Joel Hall Dancers.

Creative Director

Anthony Sampson

Anthony Sampson began dancing at the age of 6 years old. While attending Northern Illinois University he choreographed for many dance teams on campus. He later advanced his dance career when he created Redd’s Angelz Entertainment becoming the Artistic Director and CEO. This company is an adult dance collective in Chicago, IL. that specializes in dance visuals , workshops , and artist development. He provides a platform for dancers to better their skills and grow professionally. Their credits include The Chicago Bulls Game , The Chicago Theatre, Kanye West’s “DONDA” and more .   This is Anthony’s first season as creative director for the Hiplet Ballerinas company.

Hiplet Dancers

Alexandria Franklin

Training with Homer since the age of 11, Alexandria Franklin graduated from Howard University and began her professional career shortly after. Her credits include the NBA dance team the Washington Wizard Girls, Brooklyn ballet, Neglia Ballet, UniverSoul Circus and Royal Caribbean International. She joined the Hiplet Ballerinas in 2017 and has danced in Paris Fashion Week, Le Coq Sportif Korea SS18, Visa Japan “New Normal”, G-Star Raw Uniform of the Free, as well as the Fox TV shows Empire and The Big Leap.

Allison Harsh

Allison Harsh is from Omaha, Nebraska. She earned her BFA from the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri Kansas City, and has also danced with the Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey and Deeply Rooted Dance Theatre.  Allison joined the Hiplet Ballerinas Company in 2019

Brandy Ford

Brandy started as a figure skater from age 4-17. She transitioned into dancing professionally at age 19. With the help of her mentors, Tanji Harper and Daz Harris, she has been able to work with some amazing choreographers. Brandy is beyond excited to be touring with Hiplet Ballerinas and hopes to continue to be an inspiration. 

Chantal’ Ashantè Hill

Chantal’ Ashantè Hill author of “The Spiritual Ballerina From Passion to Purpose,”  began her formal ballet training at the late age of 18, a path that God purposefully led her to hone and is now known as The Spiritual Ballerina. She trained with Dance Theatre of Harlem, Joel Hall Dancers & Center, and Danspiration Center Inc. and performed with Joel Hall Dancers, Judah International Dance Theatre, Elements Contemporary Ballet,  Dance Theatre of Harlem- Nutcracker, and Dance Ministries including  Instruments of Praise and God’s Anointed In Motion. Chantal’ is also the ballet instructor for Ailey Camp Chicago. Chantal’ leads a life of purpose and great faith as she inspires through her dance photography on her website ChantalAshante.com.

Jayda Perry

Jayda Perry is a proud Afro-Latina born and raised on the south side of Chicago.  AS one of the ‘OG’ Hiplet Ballerinas, she modeled for Versace, performed in Hong Kong and appeared on the Fox TV show ‘Empire’. Jayda was also featured in the documentary Hiplet: Because We Can, where she assisted with choreography.  Jayda trained with Homer Bryant/CMDC & The Chicago High School for the Arts (ChiArts). After graduating from ChiArts, Jayda excelled as a company trainee  with Charlotte Ballet. She is excited about her decision to come back to Chicagoand share all the knowledge she’s gained with her dance community and loved ones.

Nia Parker

Nia Parker is a performer and model based in Chicago, who trained at Chicago Multicultural Dance Center since she was 3 years old.   Primarily a classically trained dancer, she discovered her love for modeling and commercial dance through Hiplet and has been part of the Hiplet company since 2016. Nia was featured in the McDonald’s/Viacom “In Common” campaign.  Former campaigns include Versace, Desigual Exotic Jeans, Nordstrom, Old Navy,  Visa Japan “New Normal”, Le Coq Sportif Korea,  and Carbon38/Jonathan Simkai.

Nia Towe

Nia Towe is a Chicago based dancer from Oak Park. She received a bachelors in dance from the University of Missouri Kansas City. While in school she worked with Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey, and danced at Debbie Allen’s key to the city ceremony. After graduating she performed with Eleone’ Dance Theatre, on America’s Got Talent, Moncler’s Paris fashion week, and the 51st World Dance Conference on Dance Research in Athens Greece. This is Nia’s first season touring with the Hiplet Ballerinas Company. 

Taraja Echols

Taraja Echols is a senior at Columbia College Chicago pursuing Dance with an emphasis in Hip-Hop Studies. She is a young and growing artist involved in the Chicago dance community and has collaborated on dance events including the ManiFresh Event and BSeries at Columbia College. Taraja toured with Chicago artist T.L. Williams, choreographed for Christian JaLon and has worked with T Star Verse, Lester Ray, & Kanye West in music videos, performances, concept visuals in the Chicagoland area. Alongside dance, Taraja is a modeling coach for 'Picture Perfect' and appears in the movie North of the Ten, TV show 61st Street and Paper Girls.

Taylor Edwards

Chicago Native, Taylor Edwards, is a graduate of the University of Missouri Kansas City with a BFA in Dance. She received her training in dance from The Sammy Dyer School of Theater, Chicago Multicultural Dance Center, and The Chicago High School for the Arts, and also trained with the Debbie Allen Dance Academy and Deeply Rooted Dance Theater.  She is fluent in many styles of dance including Ballet, Modern, Jazz, Hip Hop, Tap, Contemporary, Jazz Funk, and Improvisation; and has worked and performed with companies such as Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, Owen Cox Dance Group, and Wylliams Henry Dance Company. Taylor has choreographed and danced for many different artists including Chicago’s very own Chance The Rapper.

Tierra Fondren

Tierra Fondren is a professional dancer & choreographer born and raised on the southside of Chicago. Performing with Hip hop dance teams since the age of 9, she began to take her craft professionally as a senior in high school! Tierra is trained in many styles including Hip Hop, Majorette, Modern, Afro & is now starting her ballet journey with Hiplet.  She has toured & performed across America with local artists including Kanye West, Dreezy, & Young Thug.  She is excited to tour with Hiplet & having great experiences making dance her full-time career.   “ Dance is my passion & I wouldn’t trade the feeling it gives me for nothing in the world!”

Trevon Lawrence

Born and raised on the westside of Chicago, Trevon started dancing at the age of 4 at Lorianne Grey Dance studio. Later she joined Chicago Multicultural Dance Center and the Chicago High School of the Arts. Trevon began dancing Hiplet during her time at CMDC, and is one of the choreographers of “Thunder”. Trevon has performed in many shows with Hiplet, the highlights being Paris Fashion Week and the Lunar New Year parade in Hong Kong. In 2020 she had the opportunity to perform and choreograph for Chance the Rapper's Virtual Concert: Chi-Town Christmas. She is still evolving her knowledge of dance and aspirations to become a commercial dancer, through being a part of the Hiplet and the Chicago based company Redd’s Angelz.

The Men

Angelo Robinson

Angelo Robinson discovered his love for dance at the age of 10 years old while watching hip hop dance groups march and perform dance routines at the Chicago Bud Billiken Parade with his mother. Not long after, he began to master the Chicago style Footwork in his basement and every talent show he would win 1st place.  In 2010 Angelo joined the hip hop dance group ‘Boyz Of Poison' which appeared on  B.E.T’s 106 & Park and toured the world including Italy, Concerts, and many more achievements. 

Brandon Avery

Brandon Avery, native of South Holland, IL, taught himself urban dance techniques and later joined ClearVision Dance Team in 2006. His formal dance training began at Knox College, and continued with the Chicago Multicultural Dance School, Gus Giordano Dance School, and Ballethnic Academy of Dance. Avery has performed with Ballethnic Dance Company, Red Clay Dance, Joel Hall Dancers, Anthony Burrell’s Project AB, and MTV2. He has choreographed  for Donavan “Korporate” Price and Drew Sidora. Currently, he is the choreographer for Aya Ito, an instructor for Praize Productions, Inc., and the founder/instructor of Hips & Heels by Brandon Avery™. This is Brandon’s first season touring with the Hiplet Ballerinas Company. 

Kris Bellvie

Kris Bellvie is a Dancer, Choreographer, Actor, Model, and entrepreneur. Kris was a recurring dancer on Season 6 of Empire and performed with the rapper Dlow. He is also the resident choreographer for R&B Artist Nathan Napalm Palmer, Sir The Baptist and the upcoming artist Nefertari.  He has performed with Kelly Clarkson, Chris Brown, Twista, Social Club Misfits, Kanye West, Mario, and Black Eyed Peas. Kris worked on the new film NORTH of the 10 and also made an appearance in Power Book IV: Force (Both scheduled to be released in 2022). In all of his hard work Kris has been able to uplift and provide outlets for the youth in the form of dance programs, tutoring and mentoring. This is Kris’ first season touring with the Hiplet Ballerinas Company. 

Maurice ‘Reece’ Dentis

Dance became the love of my life when I was 7 years old. It’s always been a sport that I indirectly practiced, dance became a career for me when I turned 15 years old. I knew at that age I wanted to make a future for it. My hobbies outside of dance are going for long walks, coloring and or painting I also love to skate, I am a mellow yet vibrant dancer who loves meeting new people while doing what I love most. I’m easily motivated by team Spirit and positive vibes.

Queens Theatre

Staff

Taryn Sacramone, Executive Director
Connie Baker, Rentals and Events Manager
Charles Bennett, Building Attendant
Victor Catano, Production Manager
Dominic D'Andrea, Director of Community Engagement
Richard Hinojosa, Director of Education
Vasilios Leon, Box Office Assistant
Willy Mosquera, Front of House Manager
Bernadette Ott, Development Manager
Angelica Rodriguez, Finance Manager
Gabriel Rodriguez
, Box Office Supervisor
Jay Rogers, Director of Operations/GM
Jordi Toro, Box Office Assistant
Jorge Toro, Building Attendant
Rob Urbinati, Director of New Play Development
Steve Wolf, Assistant Production Manager/Lighting Supervisor

Marketing and PR: Anat Gerstein, Inc.

Board of Directors

Executive Committee

Gary Kesner, President
Tracy Capune, Vice President
Bruce Levine, Treasurer
Mark Misk, Secretary
Alfonso Quiroz

Members

Georgiana Benatti
Steve Chen
Salvatore DiMartino
Susan B. Lipsky
Irene Zoupaniotis

Ex-Officio

Eric Adams, New York City Mayor
Donovan Richards, Queens Borough President
Laurie Cumbo, Commissioner, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs
Michael Dockett
, Queens Borough Commissioner, NYC Department of Parks & Recreation

Board President Emeritus: Frances A. Resheske

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