Meet the Staff
Jileesa Alston - Junior Ballet & Jazz
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!
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 Hip Hop
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.
Armanee Edwards- Ballet andJazz
Armanee Edwards, age 22, began dancing at the age of 3 years old. Her dance training encompassed many genres, ballet, pointe, modern, jazz, Broadway, acrobatics, tap, Dunham, hip-hop, contemporary, improvisation, and contortion. She began her training at The Philadelphia School for the Dance Arts, Philadanco, and has also trained at The Rock School for Dance Education, Eleone Dance Unlimited, Dance4Life, Dance Theater of Harlem, Alvin Ailey, Broadway Dance Center, D(n)A Arts Collective, and The Joffrey Ballet School. She joined her first company, Philadanco's D3, at age 7, under Jay Staten, Tyrell Rolle, and Michael Jackson Jr. As a former member of Eleone Dance Incorporated she trained under Kareem Goodwin, Dara Stevens-Meredith, and LeCeda Cuyler. She was a member with En L' Air Dance Company for 4 seasons and worked with numerous choreographers such as Tony Rhodes, Ibn Snell, Tommie Waheed Evans, and Kareem Marsh . In 2015 she began teaching dance as the rehearsal director for En L’ Air’s training company, E3, and in 2017, Armanee began to teach acrobatics, ballet, and jazz at The Studio Eight Performing Arts Center which is now known as Free to Be Performing Arts Center. This is Armanee’s 4th year with the school and she looks forward to a great season with her students.
Chanique O'neal - Ballet, Modern, Jazz, Tap, & 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.
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
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.