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Mariah Layne French
Mariah (Founder/Artistic Director, Choreographer, Costume/Lighting Designer, Outreach Coordinator & CEO) earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance from The Ohio State University in 2005, where she was awarded the Undergraduate Research Grant for her Honors Thesis, "Forging New Territory in Artistic Expression." Before attending OSU she majored in dance on scholarship at Ball State University, and performed as a member of the Ball State Dance Theater from 2001-2003. Mariah also studied Spanish, African, and Caribbean dance at Florida International University in Miami. She received her primary training from the Fort Wayne (IN) Ballet under the direction of Michael Tevlin, and from Northeast School of Dance with Beth Schiebel, where she performed as a member of its nationally recognized Jazz and Tap Companies. Mariah has worked closely with many distinguished masters and choreographers, including: Jeff Shade, Diego Salterini, Gregg Russell, Bebe Miller, Gary Lund, David Reuille, Lori Belilove, Freddie Moore, Susan Hadley, Rosiland Pierson and Yvonne Peters. She continues to cultivate her craft as an active member of the Columbus Dance Community.

Mariah has been an instructor at Charisma Centre for the Arts since 2004, teaching Jazz, Tap, Lyrical, Modern, African and Dance Repertory. Her award winning choreography has been performed in Indiana, Florida, Colorado, and in Ohio. It has been featured at many community events throughout central Ohio including performances at The Columbus Arts Festival, The Columbus Dance Theater, BalletMet Columbus, The Bluestone (formerly BoMA), King Arts Complex, Columbus Performing Arts Center, in the Columbus Dances Series, in 60x60 produced by New York based Vox Novus, and at The Ohio State University's Sullivant Hall.

In 2007 Mariah and her husband Philip founded Xclaim. They reside in Columbus, Ohio with their seven vivacious children. Mariah thanks God for the overwhelming provision and opportunity he has given her to share and pursue work she loves.

J. Shannon Filmore
Shannon (Dancer / Choreographer) is a 2006 graduate of Fort Hayes Performing Arts High School, where his passion for dance began. He has also studied at BalletMet Columbus, the Columbus Youth Ballet, with Alfred Dove, Shelly Steward. Shannon's performances and affiliations are diverse from East coast to West. Shannon travels often to pursue dance opportunities including workshops with Monsters of Hip Hop, Movement Lifestyle, The Pulse, Broadway Dance Center in NYC and in studios in major cities including Atlanta, LA and Chicago, in many cases the recipient of scholarship awards. Shannon has also worked closely with Quilan (Cue) Arnold in various projects including participating a dancer and instructor of On Cue classes. Locally His dance credits include OSU Dance Linx, The Dove Project, work as a background dancer and choreographer with various recording artists, and dancing in Africa to America presented by Judah Performing Arts. His choreography has been featured in a Michael Jackson Tribute in the Fort Hayes 2010 Spring Concert, OSU Dance Linx, for recording artist Paris and in mainstage productions for Xclaim since 2011. He has worked as an instructor of Hip Hop styles and Street Jazz throughout Central Ohio and the Midwest, including: Richland Academy, Diamond Dance and Fitness, Cutting Edge Dance, Columbus Dance Academy, NorthPoint, Cutting Edge Dance, Infusion Dance Company, Funklab of Dayton and Millennium Dance of Pittsburgh. Recently Shannon co-founded and helps to lead Tru Kingdom Mega Crew. Shannon joins Xclaim for his sevemth season.

Nia Gayle
Nia (Dancer / Choreographer) has had an affinity for dance from an early age. She found her outlet through participating in dance team, show choir and musical theater. Nia began her technical training through Otterbein University in 2010. She is currently a student at The Ohio State University, pursuing a degree in International Relations with minors in Dance and Spanish. Her past performances include roles as a featured dancer in 12 musical productions including Children of Eden, Grease, High School Musical, Beauty and the Beast, and Footloose. At Ohio State Nia has studied jazz, modern, choreography, movement analysis and dance education. She is very excited dance again with Xclaim for her third season. Nia would like to thank her mother, friends and family for encouraging her passionate pursuit of dance.

Brandia Hayes
Brandia (Dancer / Choreographer) earned dual Bachelors of Arts in Human Kinesiology & Dance from Wittenberg University where she participated in study abroad at Fudan University in Shanghai, China. Dance has always been an integral part of her life, as she trained in various styles including ballet with Lee Edwards and Shir Lee Wu. Brandia also competed in Latin Ballroom with Bill Sparks Youth Ballroom DanceSport Academy (YBDSA) where she became a student teacher. During her time at Wittenberg, she formulated a workshop/demonstration for collegiate dancers to learn about injury prevention through cross training. Most recently, Brandia completed her Masters in Sports Science at Hofstra University, where she was able to combine her passions for dance, education, and medicine into a culminating project focusing on injury prevention for youth ballet dancers. Additionally, she was blessed with the opportunity to learn about dance administration while working at Peridance Capezio Center, taking classes from Sonya Tayeh, Kat Wildish, Jon Ole Olstad and others. Brandia is pursuing her career as a preventative medicine physician who will treat patients incorporating lifestyle modifications, beginning her training with Ohio University’s post baccalaureate program this fall. This is Brandia's second season with Xclaim, and she is elated to perform.

Rachel Hunter
Rachel (Dancer / Choreographer / Rehearsal Assistant / Administration) has a bachelor’s degree in Theater and minors in Arts Administration and Dance from Ohio Northern University. She began her training at Charisma Centre for the Arts where she studied under Daryse Saffran Osborne, Stephanie Hall, Mariah Layne French, Yvonne Peters, Freddy Moore, Chloe Gonzalez and others. She has also studied under notable masters: Thom Cobb, Erich Yetter, and other instructors at Ohio Northern University. Notable performances include: “Catharsis” from the Eisenhower Dance Company, performances with Charisma Centre for the Arts, and several outreach performances with Xclaim. She has also served as choreographer for collegiate dance concerts at Ohio Northern University. During college Rachel worked with Xclaim as an administrative intern, this is her second season joining Xclaim on the stage.

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