Katherine Lopes Zukeri is a DC area-based movement artist, dedicated to exploring and uplifting intuitive movement informed by lived experience and highlighting Black diaspora dance vocabulary and expression. In 2016, Katherine created a unique and evolving curriculum for dance studio instruction that centers around the collective foundational movement vocabularies and histories of American dances that originated in urban social scenes, such as Hip Hop. Katherine has trained and performed in jazz, modern, contemporary and commercial dance, as well as street styles, funk styles, and club styles through the George Mason University School of Dance, Culture Shock DC, local crews TeamWeGonMakeIt and Urbanknowlogy 101, and by continuing to learn from and collaborate with other creatives. Katherine is currently a member of the Laura Edwards Dance Company. Katherine’s teaching career began in 2012 with Vienna, VA-based Born 2 Dance Studio. Katherine continues to serve as a versatile dance educator, coach, and mentor with other dance studios in the DC metro area, Arts Enrichment Programs, and Community initiatives. Katherine has been an adjunct professor at the George Mason University School of Dance since 2018. Katherine has directed, choreographed, curated, and appeared in work for live virtual shows, theater, music videos, music festivals, and showcases. A perennial student of movement expression, Katherine continues to deepen her connection to dance forms through taking classes and workshops, community engagement, collaborative peer projects, and pursuing learning opportunities whenever possible.
Ivana Jane Valenzuela is a Filipino artist who recently moved to the United States. She’s trained in different movement styles such as Hip hop, Street jazz, Jazz and musical theatre. She was able to perform in a couple of award-winning musical plays in the Philippines and was able to be mentored by acclaimed directors, Joel Lamangan and Douglas Nierras. She was able to appear in and choreograph some original Filipino music videos and got a lead role for a web series under a major TV company. Through her years of study, she was able to become the president and competing team of the UPLB Street Jazz Dance Company and won various competitions. She then became a member of The Crew Philippines and represented the country in World Hip Hop International from 2012 to 2016. Their team also became a representative of the Philippines’ Department of Tourism in 2016 to perform internationally. She began working at Kidzania Manila as an artistic supervisor, choreographing and staging performances for kids and adults. Currently, she’s been teaching in studios and focusing on establishing students’ technique and foundation in Hip hop. She teaches students from age 3 to adults. She herself keeps taking classes and workshops, reconnecting to her dance family, and creating new ones to keep growing as an individual and as an artist. She believes that dance should be enjoyed by everyone with or without training. As a teacher, she believes that students learn more when they have fun. Her goal is to help students to discover themselves more through dance and be confident in what they are as an artist.
Leah started dancing at the age of 3 with her mother, Kellie Payne. Through her years of study, she trained in Ballet, Pointe, Cecchetti, Tap, Jazz, Modern, Contemporary, Hip-Hop, Acro, Musical Theater, and Gymnastics. She was trained by a wide variety of schools and teachers throughout the DMV area, such as Maryland Youth Ballet and Dance Institute of Washington. In addition to her training, she had the opportunity to attend Summer intensives and conventions and perform in a company setting. She soon started to assist in other dance classes and found her love of teaching, not only in dance but in education. During her senior year of high school, Leah participated in the Teachers for Tomorrow class and underwent internships where she assisted in elementary-level classrooms as a student teacher. Leah is currently a full-time Junior at George Mason University studying Integrative Studies with a concentration in Education Studies and a minor in Childhood Studies. She plans to acquire her bachelor’s degree in Spring 2024 and her master’s degree in Spring 2025.