Winifred R. Harris
Winifred R. Harris is a multi-faceted artist, teacher, and community activist. As a choreographer, she consciously balances the inherently beautiful escapism of dance and the social realities that form today’s aesthetic and cultural values. She enjoys working with fantasies and dreams, as well understanding and taking responsibility for issues grounded in reality. In short, Ms. Harris is a visionary who creates art as conversation, a connective tissue to the world, and a means to see beyond what we think of as "limits." Her work is a strong balance of technical prowess and expression through gesture. Ms. Harris began her training under the guidance of Denver’s critically acclaimed Cleo Parker Robinson. She then went on to dance professionally for Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble for 10 years, Dallas Black Dance Theater immediately following, and also enjoyed a solo stint in New York and abroad during that time. In October 1991, Ms. Harris relocated and made her home in Los Angeles, founding the critically lauded and award nominated Winifred R. Harris’ Between Lines - a contemporary modern dance company. During the past fifteen years of Ms. Harris’ work as a choreographer, she has garnered special notice from both the Los Angeles Times and the California Arts Council for LA Cultural Affairs. In recognition of her work, she has been nominated for the Lester Horton Choreography Award as well as the Alpert Award. In recognition of her dedication and commitment in bringing dance to underprivileged youth through her teaching efforts within the Los Angeles community, Ms. Harris has received several awards from the Mayor of the City of Los Angeles.
Shay Johnson is the founder and business manager of An Elite Event. An Elite Event is an event planning service and incubator for startups and entrepreneurs located in Denver, CO. She has a strong educational background in the entertainment industry, as well as 10 years of professional experience in project management. Her career began full of passion, talent and determination after graduating from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy of New York, NY. Continuing her journey, Shay J took her turn at production by writing and directing her own original stage plays, selling out shows, creating a new buzz and a following around her hometown of Denver, Colorado. Shay J then hit the airwaves which proved to be one of her most influential steps by creating opportunities for mentoring, speaking engagements, and networking platforms, all of which were essential to her evolving career and growth. Shay J is currently working with Your Souls Movement as the Creative Director, Phoenix Affect commentator, Families Against Violent Acts (FAVA) PR liaison, and was the project manager for the musicians the Outlawz “All Eyez on Me”, NFLer Derrick Martin, Arts Across Culture, Positive Spin Magazine & Dr. Daniels Walker, the Long Beach Indie Film and Music Festival, Jason McBride-Fresh 101, and the coordinator and host for the FAVA Annual Heal the Hood Event. In her spare time, she also is a Global Model and Self-Image Coach for Sarah Jakes Roberts with the Women Evolve line.
Director of Outreach and Community Engagement, West African/Modern Instructor
Alyse West is originally form Detroit Michigan, and grew up in Long Grove, Illinois. She was first introduced to concert dance through Deeply Rooted Dance Theatre, in Chicago Illinois. She earned a BFA in dance from Howard University, graduating in 2012. She has participated in the Bates Dance Festival (2006), American Dance Festival (2007), and Urban Bush Women’s Summer Leadership Institute (2010). She relocated to Denver as a member of Cleo Parker Robinson Dance 2 in (2012) and danced as a member of Cleo's second company for 4 seasons. During that time she simultaneously engaged with the community as a teaching artist in the Denver Metropolitan area. She has had the pleasure of working with esteemed choreographers such as Camille Brown, Zane Booker, Hope Boykin, Frank Chavez, Kevin Iega Jeff, Gary Abbott, Ray Mercer and many more. She is thrilled to join the staff of Your Soul's Movement and is looking forward to the working with such an inspiring group of students.
Hip Hop Instructor
Renesha Berry began her career in 2003 when she moved to California to pursue her passion and love of dance. She then initiated training in ballet and jazz at the age of 16 at Bre Dance Studio in Riverside, California under the guidance of Clifford Breland. Berry began teaching dance and choreography in high school, where she created her first dance program for SanBernardino High School. Following graduation she was hired on as the dance coach to continue the dance program. Further more, Berry remained establishing numerous dance teams and programs along the way and thus began her venture as a choreographer.
Monica Parra was born and raised in San Diego, CA. At 19 she attended the Ailey School in New York City where she was accepted into the Fellowship Program. She graduated from California State University Fullerton in 2011 where she received her BA in Dance. She danced professionally in Los Angeles for 4 years and worked closely with the non-profit organization Jubilee Consortium as an assistant and teacher. Monica relocated to Denver, Colorado and has danced with Winifred R Harris’ Between Lines and Ascendance Project.
Mackenzi and movement should be synonymous. A believer that an idle body leads to an overworked mind. Mackenzi - a 2 time Cancer survivor, utilizes yoga, dance and other movement forms to create happy and healthy living. She is passionate about sharing this lifestyle with people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds. She personally believes everyone should make the most of everyday given and have the tools to do so. As a yogabhasi and a professional dancer, Mackenzi has always used movement to empower and heal; even through obstacles like chemotherapy. Mackenzi also has many passions and has studied them immensely as a Colorado College graduate. With a Bachelors of Arts in Dance & Race and Ethnic Studies, she is aware of intersectionality and strives for representation in communities of color. She also practices and teaches trauma sensitive yoga making asanas available to all. Understanding social and emotional development from a background in early childhood education, Mackenzi has successfully taught movement and dance to children across Colorado as well as in New York CIty. Her students have ranged in age from 6-36months (Citibabes), 4-10 years old (Harlem Children’s Zone), 11-14 years old (Direction for our Youth), teen and adult (Denver Dance) as well as the elderly (The Healing Garden). When Mackenzi was inspired by Dance Movement Therapy, she travelled in search of different techniques used across the world. From Shanghai to London to Bangkok to NYC, she learned her passion for dance and movement was a universal connection between all people. As an empathic, holistic wellness coach, Mackenzi uses movement like yoga and dance to live the fullest life and inspire other to do the same.
Teacher Liasion and Productions Coordinator
Rebecca Leslie Wright was born in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pa. and moved to Virginia at the age of three. Shortly after moving to Virginia Rebecca started dance lessons at the local YMCA and was bitten by the Dance Bug. She begged her mother for more classes and spent several formative years at the Martinique School of Dance where she performed many lead roles in recitals and was a part of The Night Before Christmas for two seasons. When she knew she was serious about dancing Rebecca began her life at The Richmond Ballet where she performed in The Nutcracker for four years and one season of Coppelia. In her first year at VCU Rebecca was chosen to take part in a restaging of Martha Graham’s “Panorama” and performed with the company at the Carpenter Center. She has studied under many guest artists such as Ron Brown, Nicolas Leichter, Gus Solomons Jr., and had a number of performing experiences while in the Dance and Choreography Department. Rebecca was also fortunate enough to be a part of works chosen to go to two American College Dance Festivals. In her studies at the university Rebecca took a big interest in Hawaiian Dance taught by Audrey Jung. She has been able to use this art for special school demonstrations, parties, and events. When her faith pulled her in the direction of Liturgical Dance she worked with a group of young girls at a local church as their Dance Choir Director, performed an interpretational dance for the Virginia Baptist’s Women Missions Board, and many solo pieces in various local churches. Attending many Liturgical Dance Seminars developed her spiritual dance skills then she took her dance and Theatre skills into the mission field during two trips to Brasil. As Co- Director of Pulse Dance Collective with Marianne Kelley she performed and choreographed for the company in Virginia. Over 8 years ago Rebecca moved to Colorado and found it abundant with Arts opportunities and got involved performing, teaching, and choreographing. Rebecca has taught for over 20 years and enjoys working with youth and adults to bring the passion and dedication of dance into their lives.
Ms. Renzetti was prima ballerina at Colorado Ballet for twelve years, as well as a principal dancer with several companies around the world including London Festival Ballet (now English National Ballet), Scapino Ballet of Holland, Iranian National Ballet, and Tampa Ballet. She has danced many principal roles in the classical repertoire including Cinderella, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Sugar Plum Fairy in the Nutcracker, Swanilda in Coppelia, Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, and Aurora in Sleeping Beauty. She also enjoyed roles in George Balanchine’s Serenade and Concerto Barocco. She studied with Bene Arnold, Willam Christensen, Larry Boyette, Margaret Craske, Marina Stavitskaya, Larisa Sklyanskaya, and Martin Fredmann. She studied teaching with Jurgen Schneider, Karen Morell and Nadia Tikhonova. Her pedagogical influences include Marina Stavitskaya, Alexander Minz, Natasha Krassovska, and Willam Christiansen and her ballet studies are augmented by years of study in Feldenkrais, Alexander Technique and Tai Chi. Ms. Renzetti specializes in teaching beginning through professional levels of classical ballet technique, pointe, and variations. During her three-year tenure as Academy Director of Colorado Ballet (1995-1999), she founded Colorado Ballet II. She later earned an MFA in Dance-Choreography at the University of Iowa, and an MA in Counseling Psychology at CU Denver. She then worked as a therapist for Lost and Found Family Counseling Center from 2006-2011. She has been a guest teacher and choreographer in Japan and Taiwan, and was an Adjunct Professor of Ballet at the University of Colorado. She has taught for Colorado Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, and Tampa Ballet and presently teaches and is Rehearsal Director for Ballet Ariel. She had a private counseling practice, specializing in work with dancers and other artists throughout their careers.
Franca Telesio Smith
Martha Graham Technique Instructor
Franca Telesio (Smith) trained for 11 years in Caracas, Venezuela, then in England at Dance Educational Trust where she received her teacher's diploma. Martha Graham's visit to England prompted the development of Franca's passion for Modern dance. Subsequently she trained for four years with Robert Cohan, Mary Hinkson, Ethel Winter, Jane Dudley, William Louther and Noemi Lapzeson. Franca joined the London Contemporary Dance Theatre and toured extensively throughout Europe and the British Isles. She was a guest performer and teacher in Finland, Sweden and Universidad Centeral de Caracas, where she was offered an Artistic Directorship. In Denver, Franca performed and choreographed with David Taylor Dance Theatre, Jan Justis, and Denver Contemporary Dance Theatre, as well as created her own One-Woman Show.