JUSTIN MYLES - GUEST CONTRIBUTOR - “CLASSICS WITH A TWIST!”
A native of Maryland/DC and spent his childhood surrounded by music, dance and most importantly rhythm. Tapping since the age of 3, taught by his mom & dance instructor Gracie, he graduated from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA, with a BA degree in Dance, majoring in Ballet and Jazz. He fell in love with playing drums at the age of 7 and soon after picked up the bass, rhythm guitar and piano. He recently performed in Dein Perry’s off-Broadway show "Tap Dogs" across the world - including Germany, Poland, and China. He was a main stage singer/dancer as well as dance captain for Disney Cruise Lines, Paramounts Kings Dominion, Pittsburgh Playhouse Dance Company, and Busch Gardens Theme Park Williamsburg, VA. He has toured with the international percussion sensation “STOMP" traveling the US, Canada and Brazil.
Justin also has worked as assistant choreographer to Karma Camp on Disney Cruise Lines for the show “Twice Charmed”, an original twice on the Cinderella story directed by Joe Calarco. Justin also writes and produces his own music with 2 albums and several singles available on iTunes!
Currently Justin travels nationwide and internationally to conduct Tap workshops, Contemporary Jazz technique, and body percussion workshops. He is one the proud Co-Founders & Directors of The JaM Project & The JaM Youth Project in DC. The JaM Project specializes in setting choreography/compositions, and workshops nationwide for dance studios and conventions. The JaM Youth Project is a preprofessional company preparing members for the world of dance. This entails monthly classes, workshops, technique, numerous opportunities to perform in festivals both internationally and locally, and professional video dance films which are available online. Check out JaM Youth Project on Facebook, and check out their latest video “Farther Up the Road” they recently filmed for National Tap Dance Day 2016!
Head to JustinMyles.net to contact Justin, inquire about guest workshops, choreography, and check out his music exclusive to #BringTapToThePeople by following JustinMyles.net/music!
CHRISTOPHER ERK - GUEST CONTRIBUTOR - “NOTHIN’ BUT COMBOS PART DEUX!” (coming fall of 2016!)
Chris Erk was born on October 2, 1981. He grew up in Southington, CT.
Attuned to rhythm from an early age, he began tap dance lessons at the age of four.
When he was ten, Chris began his performance career in his home state of CT, as Fritz in the Nutcracker with the Hartford Ballet.
In his early teens, he trained and toured in theater and dance with the School of the Hartford Ballet and the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts.
Chris was a member of Looking In Teen Theater, a youth acting group that confronts the realities of teen related issues.
At 15, Chris was cast in the international sensation, Tap Dogs, with whom he toured for five years.
He then joined Gil Stroming as an original cast member of Break the Floor and faculty and staff member of his Production Company. He then was appointed as Creative Coordinator of Jump, the cutting edge traveling dance competition and convention.
He has extensive experience teaching pre-professional students at local dance studios in and surrounding New York City.
As an active master teacher, Chris has worked with a variety of conventions and competitions throughout the United States. He has also choreographed solo and group routines that have gone on to receive high honors on the regional and national levels.
As a member of Noah Raceys’ New York Song & Dance Company, Chris has traveled to Amman, Jordan, on behalf of the US Embassy. The aim was to introduce tap dance to the Jordanian culture. He went on to be a guest artist in the original production of Noah Racey's Pulse, directed by Jeff Calhoun, which premiered at the Asolo Repertory Theater, Sarasota, FL in the Summer of 2013.
Since 2000, Chris has an ongoing relationship with the Rhythmics and Livelab Productions, with whom he has performed and choreographed for mission-driven events designed for the world's largest organizations.
After earning his GED, Chris began is undergrad at Sinclair Community College, in Dayton, OH. There he later founded the Tap Factor, a passionate group of tap dancers of all demographics who are interested in using dance as a social tool for self expression. He produced community events such as Soul'd Out - Dayton and the Dayton Tap Project and gained experience in community engagement, a field of interest he would continue to pursue in the coming years.
With his sights set on pursuing his new found mission, he returned to New York City, where he completed his last two undergraduate years of college, at the New School for Public Engagement. This would help him understand further the work he did in Dayton, OH, with the Tap Factor as well as how to define other aspects to his work that drives his current interest, which is "to share dance with the world in ways that are meaningful and impactful."
Chris is a proud member of the Center for Social Innovation - Starrett Lehigh. A shared work space that community that is operated by over 200 socially conscious organizations.
To view a short documentary charting the work of the Tap Factor, the FREE Players and Best Buddies New York, head to www.christophererk.com! It charts the progress of the immersive tap dance program that brought together individuals of all abilities to the stage at Carnegie Hall in Elaine Kwon & Friends, a benefit concert supporting Best Buddies New York.
Chris was also invited to be a presenter at the the 2014 TEDxPeachtree Conference in Atlanta GA where he demonstrated that music is a language that has no borders. His performance piece was a collaboration with Heaven Beatbox, an international beatbox forerunner.
In early 2015, Chris was invited to tap dance with Scott Bradlee and Postmodern Jukebox on it's 2nd Annual European Tour. The experience gave Chris the opportunity to understand what it was like to play music venues to concert audiences. It has further enriched Chris as a solo artist.
Chris is proud to have been reunited with Tap Dogs as it's Foreman and Dance Captain, with whom he has toured recently in Germany and China.
Contact Chris for bookings! He is always on the lookout for opportunities to share his passion for artistic and creation and development with the world.
You can find any and all information, including media and footage, on his website www.christophererk.com!
MANUAL “LUKKY” HARVEY - GUEST CONTRIBUTOR - THE SUMMER SESSIONS
Manual “Lukky” Harvey is a Kansas City Native that brought us some of his Hip Hop Flavah on “The Summer Sessions!”
He is one of MO's premier hip hop dancers and choreographers who teaches a variety of styles. Krump, Breaking, Popping, Locking, and is a Master of teaching “The Groove!” Because of his approachable and light-hearted style of teaching, Manual is in demand all over Kansas City and across the United States.
Manual has worked with a variety of conventions, including The Pulse On Tour and Monsters of Hip Hop. In 2015 he joined ImmaBEAST, under the direction of WilldaBeast Adams, and signed with LA-based talent agency Clear Talent Group.
He has performed with artists Bobby Valentino and Keisha Cole, on top of hosting a variety of local dance battles, workshops, and performances in his hometown of Kansas City, MO.
Manual is also the founder of the iPush Workshop Series, and Director of the performance company iPush “theCOMMUNITY”. Through this outlet he mentors inner city kids, participates in numerous outreach programs, and shares the Gospel of Christ with local youth!
To contact Manual, visit his Facebook Fan Page!
Jason Janas is originally from New Jersey. He began his tap dance instruction under Ms. Deborah Mitchell and was the first charter member of the New Jersey Tap Ensemble. He then found a love for the dance and continued to learn and study the art form. He also trained and was a member of the North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble under the direction of Gene Medler. His first professional company after high school was Tapestry Dance Company in Austin TX, under the direction of Acia Gray. He was a principal dancer there for 5 years. His hard work ethic began to take notice and Derick Grant invited Jason to be in his show Imagine Tap! which ran for 6 weeks in Chicago, and changed his life. His other show credits include "Souls of our Feet" with Tapestry Dance Company, "Wonderland" with Sara Savelli and Ayodele Casel, and most recently co-choreographed and was featured in "Tap Stars" with Rasta Thomas. He currently teaches for Wild Dance Convention and West Coast Dance Explosion, and has taught at tap festivals in New Jersey, Chicago, New York, L.A., Charlotte, Austin, San Antonio, Vancouver, Zürich, Curitiba (Brazil), Moscow, and Barcelona! He loves to tap dance. He loves to learn from other dancers and about those tappers who came before me. Tap dance does a body good.
I call Greyson Davis the “Dark Horse” of the Tap community….When I traveled to North Carolina to judge his students came out and BLEW ME AWAY! I said …. WHO IS YOUR TEACHER?! The one and only Greyson. He is really making moves in his home state and teaches and several studios as he is in demand!!! We became fast friends and often trade steps and exercises, and share each other’s work for feedback. His feet are impeccably clean and I knew he would pull out a fabulous tutorial for Nothin’ But Combos 2….and he did! His progressions on Grab-Offs is now a staple for me and my curriculum. Greyson also works for Applause Talent and travels frequently with them, and teaches at various workshops around the country. You will be seeing more of this guy with #bringtap as he has much to contribute to our art form! Thank you Greyson!!
Isla Niezgoda grew up dancing in Chicago and Minneapolis where she trained in many styles of dance including tap, jazz, ballet and lyrical. During that time, her main focus became rhythm tap; she joined Keane Sense of Rhythm Youth Tap Ensemble in 2004 and was a founding member of the Keane Sense of Rhythm Young Professional Company. Isla has had the opportunity to study tap dance under Lane Alexander, Jason Samuels Smith, Jason Janas, Dianne “Lady Di” Walker, Sam Weber, Derick Grant, and many more. She has performed around the United States as well as abroad and has been teaching both competition and recreational tap dance since 2010 at dance studios in Minnesota, Ohio and Massachusetts. Her choreography has earned dancers high score awards on numerous occasions. Isla currently teaches tap at Joanne Langione Dance Center in Newton, MA and is creating entertaining videos of her choreography in and around Boston on her portable tap floor!