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.
Pam (Dancer / Publicity / Administrator) began her dance career at age six at the School of the Hartford Ballet in Hartford, Connecticut. She later trained at Connecticut Dance School before joining the Connecticut Ballet as a company dancer, where she performed both corps and soloist roles. She has danced with Ballet Theater Company in Hartford, Ajkun Ballet Theatre in Albany, NY, and Staten Island Ballet in New York City, as well as summer dance programs at Boston Ballet and the Walnut Hill School. She is also a prize-winning Irish dancer and has competed in the World Irish Dancing Championships. She holds a BA in English from Cornell University. Previously, she was a children's book editor in New York City, where she also danced in black box performances with Alvin Ailey's extension program. She is now a freelance children's book editor and Cora Marie's mom. This is her third season with Xclaim.
Chelsea (Dancer/Choreographer) began her dance training at the age of 3 years old. She graduated from the Pre Professional Training Program at BalletMet. During her time at BalletMet she performed with YouthMet and in The Nutcracker. Chelsea has attended summer intensives at BalletMet, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company and Ballet Magnificat. In 2006 she was accepted into Ad Deum Dance Company in Houston, Texas and danced with them for a season. During her time there she performed throughout Texas and in New York. After her season with Ad Deum Dance Company Chelsea was accepted into the Ailey/Fordham BFA Dance Program at the Prestigious Alvin Ailey Dance Company. In addition to Chelsea's dance career she has taught at studios and in public as well as private schools in Ohio and Texas for twelve years. She owned and director Vitoria Dance Co. for eight years. She has a wonderful husband and two beautiful daughters which she stays home with now. This is her first season with Xclaim and she is so thrilled to perform with the company!
Mary (Dancer/Choreographer, Aerialist / Costume assistant ) is a Home School graduate from Lewis Center, OH. She started dancing at the age of 13 with a background in gymnastics. Mary trained at Charisma Centre for the Arts where she also has been an instructor of Modern, Lyrical Hip Hop and Acro. She studied for a number of years with Mariah Layne French and the other gifted instructors at CCA. Mary's performance and choreography experiences include dancing with the Exaltation Dance Company, the ICEJ Feast of Tabernacles Dance Company in Jerusalem Israel, and pieces she has created for her church. Mary has a passion for missions and traveling and she has had the opportunity to perform and teach (especially underprivileged children and orphans) in many different countries. Mary is excited to be joining Xclaim for her 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 (Alumnus, 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 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.