Amanda Castro is a fresh, upbeat, passionate dancer who was born in Brooklyn, New York but raised in New Haven, Connecticut. Amanda furthered her dance studies at the California Institute of the Arts where she received her BFA in Dance and Choreography and minor in Humanities. She also had the honor of studying and performing in London, UK under the direction of DV8’s Lauren Potter. This past fall, Amanda traveled to South Africa to teach and judge under the American Dance Awards. Amanda began as an apprentice in 2013, and is now a company member with Urban Bush Women.
Courtney J. Cook is a Virginia Native now residing in Brooklyn, NY. She began her formal dance training at the Virginia Governor’s School for the Arts. She later attended and graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University, receiving her B.F.A in Dance and Choreography. Since relocating to NYC, Courtney has had the privilege to perform works by astounding choreographers such as Christian Von Howard, Burr Johnson, and Jennifer Archibald. As a dancer, she is currently an apprentice with the Arch Dance Company, under the artistic direction of Jennifer Archibald. She also enjoys musical theater and has been able to perform in various musicals with Virginia Musical Theater and The Hurrah Players located in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. As a choreographer, her choreography has been performed at the American Dance Festival, via student choreography showcase, and The Ailey Citigroup Theater, as a featured artist of BalaSole Dance Company’s 2011 Fall Concert. She is both thrilled and honored to be continuing her journey with art and dance as a new company member of Urban Bush Women.
Chanon Judson is a cum Laude graduate from University at Buffalo. She was a member of Cotton Club Parade and the Tony Award winning musical Fela! Chanon is an Urban Bush Women company member. She served as Site Director for Ailey Camp Kansas City, MO for four years and is a teaching artist with Alvin Ailey Arts in Education, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Co., Urban Bush Women, and Earl Mosley’s Institute of the Arts. Her commercial credits include Victoria Secrets Live, L’Oreal Live, the Jimmie Fallon Show, and the Michael Jackson 30th Anniversary Concert.
Tendayi Kuumba is an Atlanta native and graduate of North Atlanta High School of Performing Arts and Spelman College. Her training ranges from Buffalo Inner City Ballet, under the direction of Marvin Askew and Janet Reed, to Ballethnic, Callanwolde Fine Arts, and Moving in the Spirit. She has performed works by Jasmine Guy, T.Lang, Dawn Axam, Juel Lane, Kyle Abraham, Doug Elkins, Laura Dean, Rae Ransom, Burr Johnson, Laurie M. Taylor/ Soul Movement, amongst others. Currently Tendayi is a New York resident and a company member of Urban Bush Women, ASE Dance Theater Collective, Liberata Dance Theater, Marjani Forte of LOVE/FORTE Collective, as well as, Nathan Trice/ Rituals Performance Project "StrangeLove". She has also worked with T. Lang Dance, Axam Dance Theatre Experience, and Keen Dance Theater. Tendayi performs regularly as resident Jazz vocalist at the Williamsburg Music Center with the Gerry Eastman Quartet every Friday night. She gives thanks and blessings for life, love, breath, and the pursuit of happiness.
Stephanie Mas grew up in the sunny skies of Miami, Florida and began dancing at a young age at a local studio. She attended Florida State University for Dance and had the pleasure of studying with an incredibly, diverse and renowned group of faculty; Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Lynda Davis, Gerri Houlihan, and Dan Wagoner are just a few to name among the many influential teachers. In her last semester of school she had the opportunity to apprentice/intern for the Kate Weare Company and spent the semester studying in New York City. Upon graduation she decided to remain in New York and has since worked with many incredible artists/choreographers over the last four years; such as Paloma McGregor, Millicent Johnnie, Megan Kendzior, BODYART, Kirstin Kapustik, and Lindsey Dietz Marchant. She recently just graduated from Laughing Lotus' 200 hr Vinyasa Yoga Certification Program and is looking forward to sharing her flow with her students in her upcoming classes. Among the many blessing that have been given to her, she is also thrilled to share that she has recently just joined Urban Bush Women and is excited and honored to be working deeply with Jawole and the UBW family again.
Samantha Speis is a performer, choreographer, and teacher residing in Brooklyn, New York. Samantha attended Virginia Commonwealth University and graduated with a BFA in Dance and Choreography. She has performed with Gesel Mason Performance Projects, Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, Pearson Widrig Dance Theater and Shani NwANDO IKERIOKA Collins (Eternal Works). In 2008, Speis joined the internationally acclaimed dance company, Urban Bush Women and toured as a member for four wonderful seasons. She is currently working with Liz Lerman on a new work, Healing Wars, inspired by the Civil War and the innovation of medicine during war. In the fall of 2011 Speis embarked on a journey to Senegal, West Africa to inhabit, embody and learn from an array of diverse environments, experience the daily practice of life by different peoples, and immerse herself in experiences related and unrelated to dance. While there she had the opportunity to perform her work and teach workshops in various communities. She was the 2012 recipient of the Alvin Ailey New Directions Choreography Lab, and had seven weeks to teach, explore process and set a work on Ailey students. Her work has been featured at the Kennedy Center (Millennium Stage), Long Island University, Joyce SoHo, Hollins University, Danspace Project, Dixon Place and Dance Place. She most recently was commissioned by the Jerome Foundation to present her solo, The Way it Was, and Now at Danspace Project for the Parallels Platform Series, and was later invited to perform and teach in the Kaay Fecc Dance Festival in Dakar, Senegal. Speis has been a guest artist and taught workshops throughout the US, South America, Senegal, Europe, as well the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange studios, Florida State and Towson State University, VCU, Tulane, Dillard University and Dance New Amsterdam. She currently teaches at Cumbe Center for African and Diaspora Dance in New York.