Owner + Instructor
Born in Rock Hill, South Carolina, Laci Chisholm has been dancing nearly as long as she has been walking. A gifted and outgoing child, Laci’s desire to express herself has driven her passion for dance and given her a remarkable creative outlet. Laci studied dance intensely throughout her adolescence perfecting her craft and developing her ability to share the skill of dance with others. With a strong performance background Laci has studied several genres of dance including African, Jazz, Haitian, Hip-Hop, and Tap. While attaining her undergraduate degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Laci never lost her zeal for dancing. She was the principal dancer of Opeyo, her college’s Hip-Hop dance team. In addition to performing with her collegiate dance troupe, Laci took a serious interest in sharing her love of dance with others. She nobly founded an after school hip-hop dance class for students due to a lack of resources in the community. Having had such success in building relationships with children through dance Laci assumed several positions after graduating where she was responsible for choreographing and teaching both competition routines and recital pieces respectively for Cheer America and the Academy for Performing Arts in North Carolina.
Laci moved to New York City in the summer of 2006. She studied with the Hip Hop Dance Conservatory for a year and has performed at the legendary Apollo Theater and on the Rachael Ray Show. Though she loves to perform, Laci found her calling in education, receiving her Masters of Science in Education from Hunter College and has spent most of her career in that field, though dance was never far from her heart. She started Fit4Dance in 2014, with the intent of providing fun, challenging, and effective dance fitness classes to beautiful women across New York City. It has been her lifelong dream to operate a dance studio offering a variety of dance + fitness formats that have helped her maintain a healthy, fit, body.
Laci is a certified Zumba instructor, a graduate of the Shape-Up NYC Instructor Training Program, a certified group fitness instructor through the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA), as well as a current member of Kriye Bode, a Haitian Dance performance troupe. Laci truly believes that dance has the ability to elevate the spirit, focus the mind, and center the body. This belief is evident in her high energy classes where her infectious smile and encouraging words will almost make you forget you're even exercising!
Nadia Dieudonne has a lifetime of experience in traditional Haitian dance. By the age of 12 years she was performing with the well known Haitian folk singer and activist Myriam Dorisme. Today, after more than 15 years of dancing, Nadia is regarded as one of the best Banda dancers outside of Haiti. She regularly returns to the island where she attends various Lakous (rural communities that preserve and practice Vodou), deepening her skills and understanding of the traditional practice. In 1994, Nadia founded Feet of Rhythm Afro-Haitian Dance Company, which was created to preserve and promote the rich cultural traditions of Haiti. Feet of Rhythm has been featured at several venues within the US and abroad. Since 1995, through her creation of the Feet of Rhythm Kids Cultural Program & Dance Company, Nadia has taught Haitian music and dance in public schools, community based organizations, and daycare centers. Nadia has also conducted adult master classes at several prestigious institutions, including New York University, Lincoln Center, and the Katherine Dunham Dance Institute. She is currently pursuing a graduate degree in Dance Education at NYU. Classes focus on the folkloric repertoire of Haitian dance, and choreographed elements and movements of traditional dances, and live drumming is often used
Deanna began practicing yoga as a way to relieve back pain. Not only did it quickly relieve her physical suffering but it opened her heart to a new world and thus began her journey. Deanna completed her 200 Yoga Teacher Training with Abhaya Yoga under the guidance of Tara Glazier and was awarded a scholarship through the Abhaya Yoga Foundation. In the Abhaya (fearless) spirit, Deanna approaches each class with mindfulness, love and devotion; grateful to have the opportunity to serve.
Peniel Guerrier has been studying Haitian folkloric dance and music for the past 25 years. He began instruction under one of the most prestigious Haitian folkloric dance teachers, Herve Maxi. He has subsequently performed with the National Dance Theatre of Haiti and Baccoulou Dance Company for eight years, touring worldwide to places such as Venezuela, Paris, Hungary, Japan, Montreal, Germany, and Santo Domingo. While living in Haiti, in addition to performing, Peniel taught at the National Dance Theatre and ENARTS, two of the foremost dance and music centers in Port au Prince.
Peniel moved to New York City in pursuit of his dream of promoting and preserving Haitian folkloric culture. He draws on his extensive knowledge of Haitian folkloric dance and music to engage a diverse range of communities in learning about Haitian folkloric culture. As a dance teacher he is appreciated for his attention to detail, and unwavering confidence in every student. As a performer, he is famous for the energy and originality he injects into traditional dance forms, bringing audiences to their feet at every performance.
Peniel teaches regularly at the Djoniba Dance and Drum Center (Peridance), and PMT dance studio. He has been a guest teacher at Smith College, Mt. Holyoke College, Greenfield Community College, Amherst College, Wellesley College, and Brown University. He travels regularly throughout the country to give workshops and lectures on Haitian folkloric dance and culture, at venues such as the New Orleans Dance Festival. Peniel and his students also perform throughout the year at venues such as the Alvin Ailey Dance Center and the Brooklyn Museum. Peniel is extremely interested in reaching marginalized communities through Haitian dance, and as such has held successful workshops with people with disabilities, older populations, incarcerated peoples, etc. Peniel has been featured in a variety of media, most recently WPIX 11, the Bomb magazine, New York Seikatsu, Daily News, NYU Washington Square News, Haiti Exchange Newsletter, Variation News (CT) and Alter Press Lincoln Center.
Dance InstructorA Principal Dancer with the Charles Moore Dance Theatre for more than twenty-five years, Ms. Lonnie also serves as an Instructor for the Charles Moore Dance Center for Ethnic Studies and has been the Artistic Director/Choreographer for the Charles Moore Youth Ensemble over nineteen years.) Carol holds an MA from New York University’s School of Education, and a BFA from Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts. As a Dance Educator, Ms. Lonnie works for the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) in the following capacities: Director of Dance and Performing Arts Coordinator at Philippa Schuyler Middle School for the Gifted and Talented (I.S. 383), as well as Professional Development Facilitator for the DELTA Team which provides –Professional Development to Dance Educators City-Wide and has published Units of Study for the NYCDOE’S Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in the Arts/Dance. For the past five years she has been a Coach for the Artful Learning Communities, creating and researching assessment tools for the arts, where she has published several units and tools for dance education. She is a Mentor/Cooperating Teacher for Dance Education students from New York University and Hunter College. Her extensive performing career includes working with numerous choreographers and dance companies notably: Wilhelmina Taylor, Walter Nicks, Pepsi Bethel and Alfred Gallman, Local Produce, Dance Africa, the New Music and Dance Ensemble in Pisa, Italy, Latoya Jackson, Battery Dance Company, John Parks Dance Ensemble, The Renaissance Festival, Kids Thirteen and the AUDELCO Awards, Artistic Director and Choreographer of Dreams Dance Ensemble, a Dance Consultant for NYC Housing Performing Arts Project.
Dance + Fitness Instructor
Maya Louisa was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Maya began dancing at the age of three. Eventually training at the Alvin Ailey Junior Division School, she spent High School choreographing and performing to the music of her favorite artist, Aaliyah. Maya holds a degree in Cultural Anthropology and a minor in Dance from Howard University. While at Howard she joined Afro-Cuban dance company, Alafia and toured internationally including Europe, South America, and the Caribbean. She also spent a summer residency with Ballet Hispanico under the direction of Tina Ramirez. Maya holds a certificate of professional development and study from the Board of Education Dance institute based on the Katherine Dunham model. She frequently travels to Cuba to deepen her knowledge of Afro-Cuban dance studying with both Ballet Folklorico Cutumba of Santiago de Cuba, and Cojunto Folklorico Nacional of Havana, Cuba. Maya currently performs and choreographs in both New York City and Los Angeles.
Dance + Fitness Instructor
Cassandra Nuamah, aka "Coach Cass" is danceaholic, travelista and fitness fanatic that makes healthy living and positive energy contagious. She's a certified personal trainer, group exercise instructor, and health and wellness coach. After losing 50 pounds and transforming her lifestyle, her mission is to help individuals, groups and organizations live happier and healthier lives. She believes that in order for us to be successful, make money, and network, we have to be well. Our health physically, mentality and spiritually is so important for our growth and stability. She has given a variety of wellness seminars, group fitness classes and workshops on the topics of healthy living, positive thinking, de-stressing, time management and fit body strategy to numerous organizations and groups all over the world.
She teaches an African Dance Workout called Kukuwa® African Dance Workout ( kukuwafitness.com) created by her mother Kukuwa. This awesome African Dance Workout allows one to travel to Africa without their passport through music and dance. Therefore she and her mother organize yearly Fitness and Cultural excursions to different countries in Africa each year so people can experience the continent for real. Coach Cass and mother Kukuwa travel the world certifying instructors in Kukuwa® African Dance Workout and making the fit and healthy lifestyle contagious African style. For more information visit wellnesswithcoachcass.com