Entertainers, students, and dance teachers from all over the world come to study with Frank Hatchett. Frank has continuously toured the country giving master classes, and making special guest appearances. In addition, Frank has been one of the featured master teachers for the annual Jazz Dance World Congress.
The Hatchett style is a blend of strength, funk , and individual interpretation, with an emphasis on selling your performance. Associated exclusively to Frank Hatchett, his unique energy and spirit have come to be called VOP.
Aside from teaching, Frank has choreographed for all aspects of the entertainment industry. ABC's Good Morning America dubbed him "The Doctor of Jazz". CNBS's television documentary Real Stories featured a series on Frank, which later won an Emmy Award. Mr. Hatchett has also been featured on MTV's The Real World, and VH1's Driven. In 2000, Frank and Nancy yers Gitlin co-authored the pupular book titled Frank Hatchett's Jazz Dance. Frank was honored as one of the recipients of the Fred Astaire Award in 2002.
Frank and BJ were great friends and he taught the students of "the studio" for many years. His choreography includes Mission Soul, Shaft, and Son of Shaft.
Master teacher, performer, choreographer, costume and fashion designer and internationally renown lecturer, Lee Aca Thompson is all of these and more. Mr. Thompson is internationally recognized for his comprehensive expertise in the art of tap, ballet, modern, and African,
Born Lee Lynn Thompson, he started teaching at the Bernice Johnson School of Performing Arts in 1952 and remained at “the studio” through 1982. As a master teacher for the
His commitment as a dance educator for young people inspired him to develop and create a dance technique which Thompson calls the Piragramac Dance Technique. It is designed to prepare the dance body for all forms of dance. This technique combines traditional African, South American,
Lee Aca Thompson implemented a “Rite of Passage” Program at the
His passions for dance and the community coupled with his ability to connect with diverse audiences of all ages have made him unique as an arts educator. Lee Aca Thompson has been known as a man of the world and the community simultaneously since the 1960s. His travels around the world have afforded him the opportunity to research many different cultures and share those influences with lovers of dance. He believes that the youth of today, are our future leaders and must have inspiring, positive motivation from their families and educators as well as from the community at large because art enhances life for us all.
Kevin Iega Jeff began studying dance formally at age thirteen. He trained at the Bernice Johnson Cultural Arts Center, New York City’s High School for the Performing Arts, Darvash Ballet School, and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center before matriculating into The Juilliard School. As a dancer he has been praised for his technical brilliance and rigor, his dramatic power, and the singular ability to perform and bridge different dance forms in a seamless manner, whether it be ballet, modern, contemporary, or African American dance.
A former student and teacher of The Bernice Johnson Cultural Arts Center, Brice D. Vick is known in the industry for pushing the envelope and encouraging artists to take a chance at being different. He forges his clients to not only embrace what has already been done but also encourages them to take their performance to the next level - - stimulating audiences with something refreshingly new, distinctive, and most of all memorable.
Brice is perhaps best known for his work with BJ Alumni Ashanti. He choreographed many of her stage shows, television appearances, and videos - most notably
Throughout his stint as a Dancer and Choreographer, Vick has brought his unique dance approach to an array of artists including R. Kelly, Christina Aguilera, Rah Diggah, Lenny Kravitz, Destiny's Child, Mobb Deep's Prodigy, Sticky Fingaz, Lauryn Hill, The Roots, Lords of the Underground, Jah Rule and Bobby Brown.
His work has traveled to some of the most recognizable stages in the nation including stops at The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Late Show with David Letterman. He has created production numbers for some of the most celebrated live stage performances including NBC's “Stars On Ice” featuring Figure Skater and Olympic Champion Sarah Hughes; NBC’s Drama Series, “
Brice’s hot flashy style has afforded him the privilege to travel abroad, not only for choreographic opportunities but to conduct master classes at a variety of venues in South Asia, South Africa, Germany, Italy, Rome, and London. His most recent master classes generated over $10,000 for the local Katrina Relief Funds in
Vick accredits his versatility and authentic style to his dance training at the Bernice Johnson Dance Studio in Jamaica Queens, New York, where he studied Classical Ballet, Jazz, Modern (Graham/Horton), traditional West African and Hip-Hop dance. He was also blessed with the opportunity to work with legendary Choreographers Michael Peters, Shirley Black Brown, Debbie Allen, David Robertson, Carla Earle, George Faison, and Tina Bush. He furthered his studies at the
DR. CHARLES “CHUCK” DAVIS is Founder and Artistic Director of the African American Dance Ensemble and then
Chuck Davis is a recipient of the NY Bessie Award and the very prestigious Brooklyn Academy of Music Award for distinguished service. In December of 1998, he received an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Medgar Evers College of NY; and another in 2005 from
Dr. Davis’ numerous awards include: the Triangle Community Foundation Kathryn H. Wallace Award for Artists In Community Service (2000); the Dance Heritage Coalition recognition as one of 100 Irreplaceable Dance Treasures in the United States (2000); the Dance for the Planet award (1998 and 2001); the Durham Human Relations Commission’s Advocacy Award - especially on behalf of People with Developmental Disabilities (2002); the Artist of the Year award by Dance USA; the 2002 National Governors’ Association Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts; a citation from Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus; and many more.
The City of
Dr. Davis keeps a full schedule including appearances with the Ensemble, guest artist directorships, choreographer assignments, and research and travel excursions to
OBEDIAH WRIGHT has built a career as a professional artist working with some of the best in the business such as
A native New Yorker, Obediah aka ‘Baba’ Obediah, training began with Bernice Johnson, his teacher and mentor and a woman he credits with giving him the strong foundation which has allowed him to travel the world in such varied roles as teacher, dancer, actor, singer, director and choreographer. From Ms. Johnson’s dance studio, ‘Baba’ Obediah continued his studies at the
Obediah co-directed and choreographed a commercial in
Obediah appeared in the Walt Disney Production of “Head of the Class/The Lion King”, a documentary in which he played the role of actor and teaching artist working with fifth graders teaching mask-making, storytelling, African songs and dance related to the Broadway musical, The Lion King. As a performer he was cast in the national tour of the Broadway production of the ‘Wiz’ and a principal dancer in the MGM production of the television series starring Debbie Allen.
He has choreographed and taught master classes throughout the country and abroad in prestigious places such as
In 2003, having choreographed thirty ballets, Obediah founded the Balance Dance Theatre as a vehicle to showcase his works. His new company received overwhelming responses from appearances at the River2River Festival, The World Financial Center, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, The Brooklyn Museum, Aaron Davis Hall, The Museum of Natural History, New Jersey Performing Arts Center, The Bendheim Performing Arts Center in Scarsdale New York, The South Orange New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Broadway Cares for AIDS, LIU Kumble Theater for the Performing Arts, and other noteworthy stages.