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 Dance Theater, BalletMet Columbus, Cosi, 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 Phil founded Xclaim. They reside in Columbus, Ohio with their six vivacious children. Mariah thanks God for the overwhelming provision and opportunity he has given her to share and pursue work she loves.
Caroline (Dancer/ Rehearsal Assistant / Choreographer/ Networking) has studied dance in England, North Carolina, Ohio, and California. In Orange County, she trained at Ballet Pacifica under Amanda McKerrow and John Gardner. After intensive ballet training for twelve years, including summers at The Rock School and ABT Detroit, she broadened her dance training by competing nationally in contemporary, jazz, and hip hop. Caroline earned her BFA in Dance at The Ohio State University. During her time there, she performed works by Susan Hadley, Esther Baker-Tarpaga, and Meghan Durham-Wall, along with having the opportunity to study abroad at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London, England. Since graduating, Caroline enjoyed time dancing in New York City, but is happy to be back in Columbus. Caroline is delighted to join Xclaim for her third season.
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, and under Hip Hop masters BHB and Dynesha. Shannon's performances include OSU Dance Linx, The Dove Project, work as a background dancer and choreographer with various recording artists, participation with various Vitality Energy productions 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, and in 2011 and 2012 Xclaim Seasons. He has taught Hip Hop styles and Street Jazz throughout Central Ohio. Shannon joins Xclaim for his fifth Season.
Laura (Dancer/Choreographer, Rehearsal Assistant, Wardrobe Mistress/Makeup Artist & Board Secretary) was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. She was nine years old when she began dancing at Charisma Centre for the Arts where she is now an instructor. Laura has studied jazz under Mariah Layne French since 2005. She has also studied with notable masters, Jeff Lewis, Aaron Chen and Freddie Moore. She continues to pursue professional dance training through various venues. Laura performed as a part of the Exaltation Dance Company and junior company from 2003. She is a founding member of Xclaim, and works diligently in many capacities to keep the company afloat. She has danced with Xclaim in all their mainstage productions as well as "Columbus Dances", "60x60", various community outreach and arts events.
Kelsey (Aerial Director/ Choreographer) was born in California, but grew up in Macedonia, Ohio, where she spent her school years dancing and cheerleading competitively. She has a bachelor's degree from John Carroll University and a Ph.D. in Biophysics from the Ohio State University. In 2011 Kelsey took her passion for dance and acrobatics into the air, through training with Morph Dance Theater's director Chloe Gonzalez. She continued her training as an aerial performer and instructor with Infinity Aerial here in Columbus. She has since trained across the country, at places such as the Circus Arts Conservatory, the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts, and the Denver Aerial Acrobatic Arts Festival. She also recently competed as a top ten finalist in the U.S. Aerial Championships in NYC. Kelsey now resides in Pittsburgh, PA, where she is co-founder and director of Iron City Aerial, co-owner and instructor at Fullbody Fitness Club and aerial instructor for Abby Lee Dance Company. This is Kelsey's seventh season working with Xclaim. She aims to inspire others through dance, as dance continuously inspires her.