Originally from San Antonio, Karissa is a graduate of NYU where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in History and was a Jackie Robinson Foundation scholar. Through her passion for carrying on the beautiful tradition of tap dance, she combines her knowledge of history and more than twenty years of training to equip her students with exceptional technique, musicality, and the ability to develop their own unique voice. Karissa enjoys connecting with students of all ages and dance backgrounds through her workshops at various institutions across the United States including UCLA, NYU, and the Debbie Allen Dance Academy. Currently she is on faculty at Adrenaline Dance Convention.
While living in NYC, Karissa had the opportunity to perform as part of Dormeshia’s “Sophisticated Ladies” at the historic Cotton Club and also appeared with Emmy Award winner Jason Samuels Smith’s A.C.G.I. In April 2016, she made her Broadway debut as the Dance Captain and as a member of the dance ensemble in Shuffle Along, or, the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 & All That Followed, choreographed by Savion Glover and directed by George C. Wolfe. Karissa also performed in ABC’s “Taking the Stage: Changing America”, produced by Quincy Jones and in celebration of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History. She was named one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch” in 2016.
MARTIN “TRE” DUMAS
“Tre” Dumas Is A Tap Dancer And Choreographer From Chicago, IL. Mr. Dumas Received Most Of His Early Dance Training And His First Teaching Experience At Tommy Sutton’s Mayfair Academy Of Fine Arts On Chicago’s South Side. He’s A Graduate Of Clark Atlanta University With A B.A. In Mass Media Arts With A Concentration In Speech And Theatre Arts.
Since 1995 He’s Taught And Performed Regularly At Various Festivals Including The Chicago Human Rhythm Project, The L.A. Tap Fest, The St. Louis Tap Festival, Maui Tap Experience, Detroit Tap Festival, Third Coast Rhythm Project, Calgary Tap Summit, Chicago Tap Summit (Which He Co-Founded), North Carolina Rhythm Tap Festival, Vancouver International Tap Dance Festival And Columbus Taps Among Others.
From 1998 Through 2000, Mr. Dumas Was Featured In The North American And European Tours Of “Riverdance”. In 2001 Mr. Dumas Partnered With Bril Barrett To Create M.A.D.D Rhythms, And The M.A.D.D. Rhythms Tap Academy From September 2001-February 2002, Mr. Dumas Lived In Stuttgart, Germany, Creating An All Ages/All Levels Tap Program At The New York City Dance School, And Performing At Jazz And R&B Clubs By Night.
In 2004 He Performed Duke Ellington’s Classic, “David Danced” (Originally Danced By Dr. Bunny Briggs) With Bill Russo, Orbert Davis And The Chicago Jazz Ensemble. In The Summer Of 2006, He Portrayed A Fiery Tap Dancing Preacher In The Vignette “Dance Like David” In Director/Choreographer Derick Grant’s “Imagine Tap”, And Co-Starred W/Dormeshia Sumbry Edwards In The Critically Acclaimed Independent Film “The Rise And Fall Of Miss Thang”. He Was Also Seen On The Only Aired Episode Of Secret Talents Of The Stars Dancing With R&B Songstress Turned Tap Dancer, Mya.
In 2007, Mr. Dumas Stepped Down From His Position As M.A.D.D. Rhythms Co-Artistic And Technical Director And Also Became A Member Of Jason Samuels Smith’s ACGI. Shortly Thereafter, He Created Chicago’s Newest Professional Tap Ensemble, Jus’LisTeN. Most Recently, Mr. Dumas Accepted A Position As An Associate Director With The Chicago Human Rhythm Project. He’s Taught And Performed Extensively Throughout The U.S., Canada And Germany As Well As Other Parts Of Europe, And South America. In October 2011, Mr. Dumas Proudly Debuted His First Full Production Featuring Jus’LisTeN Entitled, “Tap Like Water” As Part Of The Annual Dance Chicago Performance Series.
Aside From His Beautiful Daughter, Lauren, His Greatest Joy Lies In Dancing And Sharing His Love And Knowledge Of His Art Form With Others And Receiving The Same As Well.
Jay Fagan hails from Chicago and is amongst the most sought after Tap Masters in the industry today. Entering his third decade of international dance experience, his mastery of rhythm tap has been performed, taught, and choreographed worldwide. He’s also known as one of the most fun teachers and entertaining performers of today.
Technically, he has been trained by the very best tap dancers in the business including, Lane Alexander, Gregory Hines, Henry LaTang, Sam Weber and Savion Glover. Jay has shared the stage with Dianne Walker, Lane Alexander, Acia Gray, Barbara Phillips, Sarah Savelli, Ayodele Casel, Derick Grant and so many more. His polished performances have been seen by the President of the United States, Kupio Dance Festival in Finland, Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, Canada Windsor Casino Showroom, Las Vegas’ Flamingo, Luxor and Suncoast Hotels, Chicago Human Rhythm Project, Third Coast Rhythm Project, Soul To Sole Tap Festival, Scotland B.A.T.D, Germany, Mexico and many more.
Mr. Fagan was an artist in residence for two years at Oklahoma City University at the Ann Lacy School of American Dance and Arts Management under the direction of Jo Rowan. He has taught all over the Chicago land area for over 20 years and is part owner of Jo’s Footwork Studio and The Dance Workshop.
Beyond his master of tap, Jay has studied and still teaches all mediums of dance. His choreographic works have consistently and always placed within all top ranking national competitions. Jay has worked with Dance Educators of America, Dance Masters of America, Chicago National Association of Dance Masters, Dance Olympus, Starquest, Chicago Dance Connection, Texas Association of Teachers and Dance, British Association of Teachers of Dancing (which he is a member), Sheer Talent and many many more.
A recipient of both the Presidential Scholar Award and the American Dance Award, Jay has danced with AM/FM Dance Company, Especially Tap Chicago, Sarah Savelli/Jay Fagan Project and Sibling Rivalry with his sister Connie Fagan.
All this could not be possible without his first dance teacher Jo Irbe (his second mother) who trained him from the start and showed him the love and wonderful life that dance really is. Thanks Jo!
Nicole B. Hockenberry, a PA native, has been tap dancing professionally for over 20 years. Nicole became a performing member of A&G Dance in 1991, under the Artistic Direction of Germaine Salsberg and Manhattan Tap in 1992, under the Artistic Direction of Heather Cornell.
As the founder and director of T.A.P. (1995-2006 & 2013-ongoing), Nicole has been asked to teach and perform with the New York Foundation for the Arts, the St. Louis Tap Festival, Soul to Sole (Austin, TX), Columbus Taps, Third Coast Rhythm Project (San Antonio, TX), Southeastern Tap Explosion (Atlanta, GA), Everything on Tap! (Dallas, TX), Traditions in Tap (New York City), Tap Jam (Albuquerque, NM), Chicago Human Rhythm Project, The Big Apple Tap Festival, SoFlo Tap Fest and Tap City: The New York Tap Festival.
Nicole’s choreography has been commissioned by tap companies throughout the country, including RPM (San Antonio, TX), Tap Ties (Allentown, PA) and In Motion (Chester, NJ). Nicole joined Germaine Ingram, tap partner to La Vaughn Robinson, for performances in the Philadelphia DanceBoom! Series in 2005, held at the famous WILMA Theatre in Philadelphia, PA. Nicole was a founding member of the women’s tap trio, The Shelley Oliver Tap Dancers, under the Artistic Direction of Shelley Oliver and the Musical Direction of David Leonhardt from 1997 – 2002. Nicole is a featured speaker and performer on behalf of Dr. James ‘Buster’ Brown, in the Doctors of Dance Documentary filmed in February 2002, at Oklahoma City University, Oklahoma.
Nicole spent twelve years as an adjunct professor of Dance at Cedar Crest College (Allentown, PA) and three years a Master Lecturer at the University of the Arts (Philadelphia, PA), teaching tap courses involving Musical Structure, Tap History and Improvisation as well as directing both the Cedar Crest and UArts Tap Ensembles. Currently, Nicole is a part-time Lecturer of Tap in the Dance Department of Muhlenberg College (Allentown, PA) and runs the MCDC Tap program.
In 2013, TAP – Teach All People was recreated by Nicole and her husband Mark. TAP produces a Fall TAP Workshop & a summer event, TAP Fest. TAP’s events have included such world renowned tap artists as Nicole Hockenberry, Dianne Walker, Jimmy Tate, Lisa Hopkins, Martin Tre Dumas, Lisa La Touche, Derick Grant and Karissa Royster.
Nicole, along with her husband Mark and children Julia and Alan, make their home in Eastern Pennsylvania and are also the proud owners of Crafty Nicole, (www.craftynicole.com), an online custom designed, clay charm & pendant business.
Sarah Savelli started tap dancing at her mother’s dance studio in Northeast Ohio at the age of four, and has loved it ever since. She began instructing locally at the age of twelve, and has been teaching, performing, choreographing, and producing Tap events for the past 20+ years. Sarah was a founding and choreographing member of Rhythm ISS… an influential Chicago-based, all-female tap company in the 90’s, and on the faculty of numerous studios, tap festivals and competition/conventions in New York City, Chicago, Michigan, and Cleveland; including Steps on Broadway (NYC), Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Center and Lou Conte’s (Chicago), the Chicago Human Rhythm Project, Third Coast Rhythm Project, West Coast Dance Explosion, Totally Tap, and Tapperfest Toronto.
Best known for her swift and intricate footwork, Sarah was commissioned on three separate occasions by Playhouse Square (Cleveland, OH) to create and perform in a full-length tap work (Tap into Peace), was the first Capezio ACE Award for Tap choreography finalist in 2010, and appears in the PBS documentary Juba! The Masters of Tap and Percussive Dance. Sarah has studied and performed with many of tap dancing’s historical greats, and most recently has had the pleasure of dancing with Savion Glover in various shows across the USA including “Stepz” at NYC’s Joyce Theater in 2013. She is also the artistic director of the Cleveland Tap Crew, a youth tap ensemble with 50+ members that she established in Northeast Ohio in 2012.
Nominated best dancer by the 2007 Austin Critics Table for her work in Tapestry Dance Company’s award-winning National Endowment for the Arts: Masterpiece Dance production of The Souls of Our Feet, Brenna Kuhn was a principal dancer with Tapestry for 9 years and served as the Executive Director of Tapestry Dance Company. She is a published co-author in Medical Problems of Performing Artists
A performer, an educator and choreographer, diversity describes Ms. Kuhn’s tap background. She started her dance journey in Detroit at the age of 12 as a member of the Lloyd Storey Tap Ensemble. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in dance from the University of New Mexico. While in New Mexico, Brenna was a member of the Bill Evans Dance Company. In 2000, Ms. Kuhn moved to Chicago to perform with Especially Tap Chicago. In addition, she was the rehearsal director and a founding member of Chicago Tap Theatre with Mark Yonally and directed Visual Rhythm, a youth dance company.
Ms. Kuhn served as the Academy Director for Tapestry Dance Company Academy from 2004 to 2007 where she taught tap and jazz and oversaw a curriculum that included classes in tap, ballet, jazz, modern, and hip hop for youth ages 3 to 18 years and adults. Ms. Kuhn’s teaching credits also include: Hubbard Street Dance Chicago; Giordano Dance Center in Evanston, Illinois; Brant Lake Dance Camp in upstate New York; American College Dance Festival; Tap West; The New Mexico Rhythm Tap Festival; The Maui Tap Experience; The Third Coast Rhythm Project; The NYC Tap Festival; and Austin’s Soul to Sole Tap Festival.
Ms. Kuhn’s choreography is in demand by many students and companies around North America. She has won awards for her tap choreography and has set pieces on Tapestry Dance Company, Visual Rhythm, Chicago Tap Theatre, Visions in Rhythm, Fusion Dance Company, and Kingwood Ballet Theatre.
Ms. Kuhn has mentored with Sarah Petronio, Acia Gray, Bill Evans, and Lloyd Storey. She has shared the stage with many tap greats including Brenda Bufalino, Dianne Walker, Donald O’Connor, Leonard Reed, Fayard Nicholas, Arthur Duncan, and Lane Alexander. As a soloist, she has played with the Albert Gulbay Trio in Paris, France and in 2006 performed with the Kris Kimura Quintet for the Chinese Foreign Minister. In 2007, Brenna was chosen as one of eight dancers to perform with Petronio when she received the honor of Grand Master by the National Center of Dance in Paris, France.
In 2009, Ms. Kuhn co-founded FootNotes with Michael Stevens. FootNotes, as their name suggests, is the intersection of music and dance, sparking conversation in the universal language of rhythm and music. In 2015, she was honored to teach the students of the Pre-Professional Program at Tap City, the NYC Tap Festival. In 2013, she founded the Austin Tap Ensemble, an adult student tap company. In 2017, she founded Art Beat Dance Center to create a community of dancers united by their passion for music and dance through high quality training in a healthy and nurturing environment, for which she received the 2018 Young Entrepreneur of the Year award from the Cedar Park Chamber of Commerce. Ms. Kuhn is also a 200 Hour Registered Yoga Teacher with the National Yoga Alliance and is grateful for the support of her loving husband, Kevin.
Dancer, teacher, choreographer and producer, Barbara is the founder/ director of Third Coast Rhythm Project, now celebrating their 20th season. She has appeared as a guest artist with Especially Tap Chicago, Soul to Sole Festival in Austin, “Everything on Tap” in Dallas, Hoofin Ground Festival in Charlotte, the Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s Rhythm World Summer Festival, “The Legacy Tap Project”, Rhythm Body and Soul in Calgary AB, and in the live concert series of “JUBA” Masters of Tap and Percussive Dance with Mr. Lane Alexander.
Barbara is artistic director of R.P.M. ( Rhythm.Percussion.Motion ) Youth Tap Ensemble, teaches and directs the tap program at Third Coast Rhythm Project studio in San Antonio, and teaches as a faculty member and guest artist in both public and private dance institutions. She is the producer and artistic director of Third Coast Rhythm Project’s Annual Summer Tap Festival, bringing together world class artists and musicians to San Antonio in a rhythm packed 4 day educational program.
Barbara is dedicated to sharing the joy of tap dancing with the adult community, passing it on to the next generation, mentoring young dancers through accessible programming, scholarship opportunities, community outreach, concert performances and collaborations within the extended dance community.
Barbara was recognized by San Antonio Women magazine as San Antonio’s first lady of tap, is the recipient of the 2009 Texas Tap Legend award by the Dallas Dance Council for her contribution to the art form, artistic and educational achievement and service to the tap community, and honored at Space City Tap Fest for her outstanding contribution to the Texas Tap Community.
Terrence “Taps” began studying the art of tap dancing at the age of nineteen at Norma’s Academy. Within a year he had moved from the Adult Beginner’s Class to the Advanced Level. Within two years he began performing with the Senior Company.
Terrence “Taps” style relies on improvised steps that contain complex rhythmic and musical expressions. Students learn to utilize every part of the tap shoe to express their creativity. The focus of each class is on getting students to complete tap combinations with speed, clarity, style, and ease. Eventually, many students develop the ability to improvise their own solos in addition to strengthening their own skill at producing choreography.
In addition to teaching, Terrence “Taps” has accumulated extensive performance experience. He has worked as a regularly featured performer in Atlanta restaurants & clubs where he stunned audiences each week with improvised solo performances.
He has also performed well over 500 shows as part of the dynamic tap dancing duo known as “Tip Tap Two” on top of hundreds of solo performances in Texas libraries and schools.