Our Teaching Artists

Steven Atwater

Founding Director

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Steven Atwater, a native of the greater New York area, is a much sought after teacher and choreographer, whose experience and knowledge of the pre-professional and professional worlds of dance has guided many of his students to successful performance careers. His students have gone on to dance with major recording artists like Justin Bieber & Chelley, perform in regional theatre productions & music festivals and have been accepted into highly noted college dance programs, including the University of the Arts, the American Musical & Dramatic Academy (AMDA) and Marymount Manhattan College. He has been on faculty for intensives, has judged for leading dance events and has taught master classes throughout the country. Steven has also served as casting assistant to celebrated casting director, Stuart Howard, and uses his casting experience to help facilitate his students' career goals. Steven currently lives in New York City and continues to be inspired by the ever-evolving dance culture that persists throughout the city. Steven has a BA in theatre with a minor in media studies from Hunter College. Steven teaches ballet applications, stretch/conditioning, jazz and contemporary.

Thomas Ford

Founding Director

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Noted for his evocative movement, effectual teaching methodologies and for his work as co-founder & co-artistic director of the groundbreaking New York-based pre-professional company and training program, companyONE, Thomas Ford is a progressive and thoughtful artistic voice in dance. His unique background – a formidable combination of contemporary, ballet, rhythm tap, jazz & hip-hop – has afforded him a distinctive career. His performance credits include “The Kennedy Center Honors,” The Radio One Music Awards, Debbie Allen’s “Dreams,” PBS’ “A Capitol Fourth,” Laurie Ann Gibson’s “Addictive” music video and performances with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. He has toured with both Mike Minery’s “Tapaholics” and the renowned D.C.-based company, Tappers With Attitude. The National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts (YoungArts) recognized him as a Presidential Scholar finalist, an experience culminating in a solo performance on the “Today Show.” Thomas’ work as a performer has yielded an exciting path as a choreographer and educator, giving him the opportunity to present works at the Ailey Citigroup Theatre, the Joyce Theater and the White House National Christmas Tree Program. He was recently commissioned to create an evening length piece for The Joffrey Ballet School’s Jazz + Contemporary Trainee Program and has continued his tenure at the Joffrey Ballet School as a contemporary instructor. He has toured nationally as a faculty member with SHOCK! The Intensive and Showbiz XTreme Dance Convention, alongside the nation’s most sought after choreographers. Counted as among these choreographers, Thomas' work and creative process continue to be recognized as influential in their capacity to connect traditionally disparate worlds of dance with ingenuity and visceral impact. Thomas has a BA in communications from Marymount Manhattan College & is currently pursuing an MA in Dance Education from New York University. Thomas teaches ballet, pointe, contemporary and tap.

Keisha Hughes

Hip Hop Instructor

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Keisha Hughes is a professional dancer from Queens, NY who blends raw edge with a touch of Southern swag. Her style has afforded her opportunities to dance with today's leading recording artists, including Nicki Minaj, Lil' Kim, Yo Gotti and multiple performances with Cardi B. She has been studying various styles of dance since the age of three. Keisha attended Frank Sinatra High School of the Arts in Long Island City, NY as a dance major. At FSSA, she performed and worked with guest artists’ such as the Paul Taylor Dance Company, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and many more. She has also received multiple scholarships to study at the Martha Graham Contemporary School of Dance and was a former student at Abrons Art Center in the Lower East-side of NYC. Keisha went on in the Fall of 2007 to attend the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where she majored in dance as well. She performed in several department concerts and served as choreographer and President of Tantrum Hip Hop Dance Troupe. It is UNC Charlotte and the community that helped nurture her love of teaching. While pursuing her degree she taught at the local YMCA's, Carolina Dance Explosion, StudioRush and in the public schools' as a guest artist. In 2011 , on BET's Born to Dance with Laurieann Gibson, she received her first big break as a top ten finalist. Shortly after, she graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance. Keisha’s credits include Lil Kim, Cardi B, Natalie La Rose, the Monsters of Hip Hop Cast, Adidas and most recently an extra role for Rihanna’s performance on the MTV Video Music Awards. She has also trained closely with two of the industry’s top choreographers Rhapsody James and Luam Keflezgy. In her spare time, Keisha enjoys traveling, teaching children, music , movies and takes pride in her West Indian heritage. She strives to make her mark on the industry and create a long lasting career doing what she loves.