Associate Artistic Director/ Performer
Christine King. Christine is originally from Michigan and holds a B.A. in dance. She has performed in New York City for over a decade with artists including Claire Porter, Trinket Monsod, Kaleidescope Dancers and Amy Sue Rosen. She has also performed as a vocalist with Ancient Vibrations, Amasong, and as singer/actress with Skeleton Dance Project. Aside from originating and performing many roles with UBW, Christine appeared as an actor in a McGregor/Smith production of Blood Dazzler. She has studied dance with Sara Sugihara, William Adair and Dan Wagner and has studied singing with Diane Barclay, Artie Sheppard, Toshi Reagon and many others. Christine is proud to be a long standing performer with UBW and wishes to thank these artists and many others for their encouragement and love. Christine has been with UBW for over 20 years.
Kanisha Opal Brown. Kanisha Opal Brown, dancer, performer and choreographer, was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA and began dancing as a liturgical dancer. She holds a BA in Dance from the University of California, Riverside and an MFA in Performance and Choreography from Florida State University. She has performed with the Gluck Contemporary Touring Ensemble, Phlava Dance Company and Dance Repertory Theatre. She has set works for Instruments of Praise School of Performing Arts, under the direction of Varetta Heidelberg, Sherry Traylor and Dr. Janalyn Glymph. In 1999, Kanisha founded Generation Xpectation Hip-Hop Dance ministry, and served as director and choreographer for 8 years. Kanisha has worked and trained with various artists including Gerri Houlihan, Lynda Davis, Susan Rose, Wendy Rogers, Timothy Glenn, Alan Danielson and A'Keitha Carey. Kanisha joined UBW in 2010.
Marjani Forté. Fortè is a Los Angeles, CA native and Harlem resident. She graduated with a B.A. in Marketing and Dance from Loyola Marymount University and attended Los Angeles High School for the Arts. She joined Urban Bush Women (UBW) in 2006 and toured with the company as a performer for five years. As a member of UBW, Fortè was the soloist for Blondell Cummings’ Chicken Soup and premiered Les Escailles de la Memoire (Scales of Memory), the collaborative project between UBW and Senegalese Compagnie Jant Bi. As a facilitator with UBW BOLD (Builders, Organizers, Leaders, through Dance) , Fortè has led UBW technique classes and workshops across the U.S. and beyond, including American Dance Festival China this past August 2012! She is now co-founder of LOVE|FORTÉ A COLLECTIVE- a research/process, performance, and teaching geared collective with a commitment to social and politically conscious art making, that connects the human experience through time[www.loveforte.org]. As a choreographer and teacher she's been a guest artist at University of Minnesota, TU Dance Center, Pomona College, the American Dance Festival and presented work for Dance New Amsterdam and Kelly Strayhorn newMoves Festival. Fortè premiered her solo EGO at Dance Theatre Workshop (NYLA) as a 2010 Fresh Tracks Resident Artist while concluding a choreographic residency and lecture series at Loyola Marymount University. She most recently premiered Here… for Danspace Parallels Series in March 2012 and EGO for HarlemStage’s E-Moves April 2012. Fortè is a Movement Research Artist-In-Residence 2011-13, a recent BAX Artist in Residence with LOVE|FORTÉ, and teaches frequently at Dance New Amsterdam in NYC. Fortè is thrilled to join arms with 651 Arts in the further creative development of Here… Her work stems from being born in and having engaged with culturally rich, vibrant, historic, and politically charged communities.
Kendra Ross. Kendra is from Detroit, Michigan, and started her dance career as an apprentice of Afro-Cuban folklore dancer Danys ‘La Mora’ Perez. She has a BFA from Ailey/ Fordham University where she danced the works of Sean Curran, Alvin Ailey and Nathan Trice. She has danced as a member of Oyu Oro, Genesis Dance Company, Vissi Dance Theater, and Ase Dance Theater Collective. She was also an apprentice for Ronald K. Brown/Evidence Dance Company and Urban Bush Women’s UBW2, while remaining an active teaching artist in the NYC public schools. Kendra joined UBW in 2010.
Keisha Turner. Keisha hails from Chicago and studied at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, graduating with a B.F.A in dance. She has studied with Germaine Acogny, Cynthia Oliver, and Gerri Houlihan among others, and has performed with Chicago Dance Crash, Corpo Dance Company, and Margaret Morris Dance. Keisha frequently performs with Inner Child, a collaborative, multi-disciplinary performance trio with creative partners Onome Djere and Margaret Morris. She is honored to be sharing stories of social relevance and cultural celebration as a performer with UBW, which she joined in 2008.
Bennalldra Williams. Bennalldra began her dance training in her home town of Birmingham at the Alabama School of Fine Arts. She received a B.F.A in dance and a B.S. in exercise science fitness and nutrition from Florida State University. Bennalldra has worked and trained with many artists including Lynda Davis, Ronald K. Brown, Christopher Huggins, Kevin Jeff, and Alex Ketley to name a few. She has worked with the Alabama Ballet and was a member of Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble. She has conducted master classes throughout the U.S. and Europe. Bennalldra has been touring with UBW since 2006.
Photo credits (all): Crush Boone