Meet the Staff
Jileesa Alston - Beginner Ballet & Tiny Tumblers
Jileesa Alston is a dancer, teacher and choreographer in Philadelphia and its surrounding suburbs. As a child Jileesa used dance as a way to heal and express herself; as she was very shy and timid growing up. She began her formal dance training at the age of 7 at Bodies in Motion located in Southwest Philadelphia; where she first fell in love with ballet. She continued her studies throughout high school at Progressive Center for Dance, which is now Carol's Center for Dance home of Grace Dance Theater located in West Philadelphia. While attending CCD she trained in ballet, pointe, jazz and modern under Carol Cubbage Davis, Nicole Tucker, Barbra Pope and many more. After attending Widener University as a Biology major, Jileesa returned home to further her training in dance. She soon auditioned and trained with Philadanco's apprentice company (D/2) during their summer and fall intensives (2015-2016). Shortly after she began her teaching journey. Jileesa has been teaching for almost 5 years and is super excited to be a part of the Free 2 Be Performing Arts family for her 2nd season!
Nia Andrews - Upper School Jazz and African
Nia Michele Andrews is a rising entrepreneur, ER Nurse and freelance choreographer in the tri-state area. Nia Michele has studied at some of the finest schools and companies in the Tri-state area, such as but not limited to, Dance Institute of Philadelphia, Canaan Institute of the Arts, The Pointe Dance School, Eleone DanceTheatre, and Philadanco D3. She has been a part of the West Chester University’s Nationally renowned Dance Team featured on ESPN, West Chester University’s Dance Company and nationally recognized as a choreographer through the American College Dance Festival Association two years in a row. Nia is a principal dancer with Balance Dance Company and was selected to tour with the elite Western Wolfs International Dance Team based out of New York City and Shanghai. Currently, Nia is an avid instructor at Balance Dance Studio and Free 2 be Performing Arts Center in Philadelphia. Nia is blessed and excited to embrace this new year of teaching.
Kamal Bostic-Smith- Tap and Creative Dramatics
Kamal Bostic Smith is a singer, actor, and dancer whose ability in arts has taken him across the world. Kamal began singing at age 5, dancing at age 9, and acting at 11 years old. He has been tapping/hoofing for about fifteen years.
Kamal has studied at the Jan’s Dance Studio, where he was also a Junior Instructor. Also, at Freedom Theatre where he was a Demonstrator, and with the world-renowned Tap Team Two under the direction of Robert Burden where he was an Apprentice. Kamal loves to act and has studied at the Walnut Street Theatre as well as Freedom Theatre. He has worked on HBO’s The Wire and has appeared in films such as The Salon with Terrance Howard and Vivica Fox.
Currently Kamal is starring in the multi-media production Real Men Talking. Kamal’s personality attracts a lot of attention and people always want to know more about him. He’s never afraid to teach or share.
Sara Brown- Little Movers & Pre Dance
Sara Brown, lovingly known as “Miss Sara” by many, has been teaching dance for over 16 years all over Philadelphia. Sara has owned dance studios, run and directed dance programs at Recreation Centers, and been Artistic Director, but she is now back to the basics of her love of teaching at Free To Be Performing Arts Center, in West Mt Airy. She teaches many different dance techniques, such as Ballet, Modern, Jazz, Tap, and Contemporary, to all ages from 2 years old up to adults, but found her niche many years ago in teaching toddlers and preschoolers ages 2 to 5. Her patience, warmth, excitement, and kindness creates a place where younger and older dancers alike, feel safe and confident dancing and learning. She truly believes that dance should always be a happy space, and tries to keep positivity in the forefront of her teaching techniques. Miss Sara can’t wait to offer a creative space for your little dancer to explore movement, become confident in their bodies, use their imaginations, and most importantly, have FUN!
Novae Barnes- Upper & Lower School Ballet, Modern, Jazz, & African
Novae Barnes is a 23 year old New Jersey native. Her love for movement began at a very early age. Her journey started with gymnastics at age 6, as the years went on she eventually started to take dance classes at Jamie's Dance Odysseys and various studios in New Jersey. After numerous of years training in Ballet, Modern, Jazz, and Hip Hop she realized her passion was Hip hop and began to further train herself in the history of Hip Hop and various styles. Currently, Novae is a company member with Philadelphia's premier Hip Hop company I AM Phresh. This is Novae's 2nd year with Free to Be Performing Arts Center and she is very excited to share her talents with her students.
Chania Garner- Upper School Acrobatics
Chania began dancing at the age of 14 at various dance studios in Philadelphia and Delaware. During her training, she also began student teaching and later started teaching and choreographing her own pieces by the age of 20. During her dance career, Chania has had the opportunity to work with choreographers such as Anthony Burrell, Christopher Huggins, and Derrick Sellers. She also completed dance pieces for USTD competitions in Atlantic City and won several awards including a specialty award for acrobatics. through 15 years of teaching, Chania has gained experience in teaching ballet, Jazz, Modern, Tap, Pointe, and Acrobatics. She greatly enjoys trying and specializing in the acrobatic arts which requires your mind and body.
Chanique O'neal - Ballet, Modern, Jazz, & African
Chanique O’Neal is a 28-year-old native from Philadelphia who specializes in training dancers in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Modern and African. Her training began at the age of 3 at Canaan Institute of the Arts under the direction of Cheryl Gaines Jenkins and finished the base of her training at Dance Institute of Philadelphia under the direction of Carli Jones Ferris. Growing up in Philadelphia Chanique was blessed to soak in the dance community throughout the city. A short stent at Freedom Theatre she was fortunate to work the likes of Patricia Scott Hobbs, Antionette Coward-Gilmore, and Shawn-Lamere Williams. Other Programs and companies which included but are not limited to Young Performers Theatre Camp and the Jr. sixers dance team allowed her to explore working with other teachers, choreographers and students which challenged and fueled her love for the art.
During her teen years she majored in dance at Franklin Learning Center studying under Dana Williams where she was inducted into the national dance honors society and ignited her passion for leading and choreography. While in college at the Pennsylvania State University she majored in Bio-Behavioral Health, but she was able to continue to dance with the Ambitions Dance Team being able to take part in student choreography done by Jazmin Tyson and others. Since 2018 she has been fortunate to train students at Studio Eight Performing Arts Center and is now a part of the emerging team now known as Free to Be Performing Arts Center with the intent to spark and develop dancers in the craft and art of dance that has been a driving theme throughout her life.
Ibn Snell- Int/Advance Ballet & Jazz
Ibn Snell received his formal dance training at D’Shay School of Dance followed by The Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts. While dancing in high school under the direction of LaDeva Davis he was invited to join Eleone Connection, under the direction of his mentor Shawn-Lamere Williams. During his senior year of high school, he was promoted to the first company, Eleone Dance Theatre. Upon high school, Ibn attended the University of the Arts where he earned his Bachelors of Fine Arts. There he found a dee passion for choreographing, teaching and dance education. Ibn is excited for his first year at Free 2 Be!
Vinicia Randall-Brooker Int/Advance Ballet
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Vinicia started dancing at a young age, she attended the Creative and Performing Arts High School of Philadelphia as a dance major. While there she was the 1st freshman in history to choreograph in a showcase. By the end of her senior year, she knew and understood that her purpose was to teach and not dance professionally. Her parents invested in two different training schools Marion Tonner Ballet Center and Philadanco. With that she knew she always wanted to cultivate an environment of healthy exchange for her students. Vinicia joins the Free to Be Dance Academy and reunites with some of her fellow Capa Kids!
Kacei Womack- All Levels Modern
Kacei Womack is a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Slippery Rock University with her B.F.A.Degree, in Dance, with a concentration of Performance and Choreography under the direction of Ursula Payne. Kacei has choreographed and performed in many collegiate dance works through the Afro-Colombian Dance Ensemble and Slippery Rock Dance Theater. Kacei has studied under Greer Reid, Bill Thomas, Milton Myers, Kwang Suk- Choi, Matthew Pardo, Melissa Teodoro, Antoinette Coward-Gilmore and many more. She currently teaches dance in Philadelphia and the surrounding area. Kacei currently is the Co-Dance Captain and Assistant to the Director of Danse4Nia Repertory Ensemble, Antoinette Coward-Gilmore. She is also the Founder/Artistic Director of Identity Experience (Dance Company).
Kyisha Woods, M. ED- Arts Administrator & Creative Dramatics
Born and raised in South Philadelphia, Kyisha began her journey in the world of the visual and performing arts at the age of two. Kyisha attended Jason Douglas' Danceadelphia where she studied tap, ballet, and jazz. During the summer, she began at Young Performer's Theatre Camp (YPTC). She attended elementary school at Philadelphia Performing Arts Center. During middle school, she studied under Traci Hall & Co. and then transitioned to Point Breeze Performing Arts where she joined the dance company. Studying under Charon Mapp, Tyga B, and Cachet Ivey Kyisha began contemporary modern, jazz, ballet, pre-pointe. and West African Dance.
In 2011, Kyisha attended Towson University, where she created her major in Performing Arts Management with Dance Concentration. During her senior and junior year, Kyisha was a Group Leader for AileyCamp Baltimore. After graduating from Towson, Kyisha went on to obtain her Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction: Integrated Teaching through the Arts from Lesley University.
Kyisha joined the Free to be Family during Summer Academy 2020.