Home // Performance // The Company // More About Xclaim // Support Xclaim // Contact Us // Media


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 / Resident 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. In 2017 Shannon became a co-direcotr and co-founder of Tru Kingdom Mega Dance Crew Inc., an all styles dance crew. Shannon joins Xclaim for his eighth season.



Rachel Hunter
Rachel (Choreographer / Rehearsal Assistant / Administration / Costuming /Dancer) has a bachelors 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. This year she also started teaching ballet at Charisma Centre for the Arts. During college Rachel worked with Xclaim as an administrative intern, this is her third season joining Xclaim on the stage.



Kevin Bailey
Kevin (Dancer / Aerialist / Choreographer) is from Cleveland but relocated to Columbus to pursue his occupation as a high school Spanish teacher and further his training in his recently reignited passion for dance. He began his training primarily interested in Hip Hop where he has danced with Roman Element and beginning in the fall of 2013 with Step One All Stars. His step choreography has been featured in Xclaim productions. His other dance experiences include: West African, as well as learning some basics in ballet, hip hop, contemporary and recently, aerial with Kelsey Keller and various performances with Infinity Aerial. Kevin then dove back into dance as a trainee with Xclaim. Xclaim is his first experience with contemporary and jazz dance styles, but he has been an enthusiastic and dedicated participant. 2018-2019 is his sixth season. Kevin's interests include world travel and learning about other cultures.



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. Her work as a choreographer was featured in Xclaim's 2018 Light Sound & Brainwaves. She is excited to dance again with Xclaim for her fourth season. Nia would like to thank her mother, friends and family for encouraging her passionate pursuit of dance.



Corinne Harris
Corrine (Dancer) Corinne began dancing at the age of 8 as a part of church dance ministry. In 2010 she started training at Leaps of Faith Christian Dance Company in the art of ballet. Her interests in dance grew as she took more classes such as: Jazz, Hip-Hop, Tap, Modern and Pointe. Beginning in 2011 and every year since she has participated in CBN's Rosh Hashanah telecast with Messiah Dance Company. Corinne attended "Vertical Movement" Workshop in 2013-2014 where she was introduced and fell in love with contemporary movement. She has been teaching Ballet and Hip-Hop at Leaps of Faith Christian Dance Company from 2015-2017 and recently started teaching Ballet at Charisma Centre for the Arts. Also in 2015 she portrayed the role of Rosalia in Ohio University Lancaster's production of "West Side Story", encouraging her love for Musical Theater. Corinne is excited to be starting her second season with Xclaim.



Alyssa Elaine Nicholson
Alyssa (Dancer / Choreographer) graduated from the University of Akron in 2014 with her Bachelor of Arts in Dance. She has been teaching for dance 10 years, with a passion for choreography. Her years of dance experience have taught her many styles, but her joy is in the foundation of Ballet and Modern. She has danced with the University of Akron Dance Company and the New Vision Dance Company located in Westerville, Ohio. Her ultimate goal is to receive her Masters in Choreography, so that she can teach at a collegiate level, and eventually start her own dance company. This season she choreographed for Xclaim, as a guest artist in a local production of the Dublin Arts Council. Alyssa is excited to dance with Xclaim for her second season.



Jasmine Pugh
Jasmine (Dancer) has danced at Charisma Centre for the Arts (CCA) for 6+ years. She has also danced with her church’s dance and step team and taught teen girls at her church. Most recently she has choreographed for special events. She also enjoys playing football and volleyball, going to the movies, shopping and hanging out with friends. This is Jasmine’s first season dancing with Xclaim.






Nikki Schmidhammer
Nikki (Dancer) has a background in hip hop movement. She often travels to Atlanta and Chicago to hone her skills. She has taught hip hop classes at the ML Dance Academy and Patty Beery's School of Dance. Her notable performance credits include: Performing with John Legend in the “Be About It” Event, Powerfest (power1075 future concert)2015, Park Street Fest 2016, background dancer for local recording artists and with local hip hop groups Roman Element, Street Angelz, and 3D Urban Dance Crew. Nikki is excited to expand her dance knowledge to more classical forms, including her current work as a dance minor at OSU. This is her third season joining the Xclaim stage!



Ella Shaw
Ella (Student Trainee) began dancing when she was 3 years old. An eighth grade homeschool student, she has studied dance at Ballet Academy of Moses Lake (Moses Lake, WA), Field of Dreams Performing Arts Conservatory (Raleigh, NC), Footsteps Family Dance Center (Columbus), BalletMet (Columbus) and most recently Charisma Center for the Arts. She has studied Classical Ballet, Pointe, Modern, Jazz, Musical Theater and Tap. Ella has also attended Summer Intensive at BalletMet. She has had the opportunity to dance in several renditions of The Nutcracker including BalletMet (Angel), Field of Dreams (Party Girl, Ginger, and Clara), and Ballet Academy of Moses Lake (Angel, Ginger). Additionally, she has performed in BalletMets Sleeping Beauty (Garland Girl), Coppelia (Village Girl, BAML), Jewels (Ruby, BAML), and various seasonal performances at her church. She is grateful for the opportunity to be in the Student Trainee Program with Xclaim. This is her third season with the Company.



Kristin Sutter
Kristins (Dancer) love for dance began to develop at the age of 6 when she went to her first ballet class at Charisma Centre for the Arts (CCA) with much fear and trepidation. She quickly came to delight in expressing herself through movement and continued to study dance through high school. While her primary instruction was in ballet, she later branched out into modern and jazz. During her time with CCA she studied under Daryse Saffran Osborne, Stephanie Hall, Mariah Layne French, Robin Ulrich, Chelsea Miles and others. Kristin also enjoyed the opportunity to explore a variety of Latin American dance styles while studying abroad in Costa Rica. Kristin is a recent graduate from Huntington University where she graduated with her Bachelors of Social Work and a Spanish minor. She is passionate about working with people, specifically children and families, and is excited to see how that passion will develop in the coming years. Outside of dance and work, Kristin can be found reading a good book, reveling in the beauty of cloud formation, and spending time with family. Kristin is delighted to have returned to her hometown of Columbus and for the opportunity to dance for her first season with Xclaim and re-awaken her love for dance/movement.






Frequently Asked Questions

614.561.1635 | info@xclaimdance.com | P.O. Box 163730, Columbus, OH 43216
©Copyright Xclaim! Dance 20117-2018. All rights reserved.