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, 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 five vivacious children. Mariah thanks God for the overwhelming provision and opportunity he has given her to share and pursue work she loves.
Caroline (Dancer/ 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 second 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 fourth Season.
Kelsey (Aerial Director/ Dancer / 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. Two years ago, 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 also had training sessions with Sailor Circus instructor Melissa Kellerman and Dance and Circus Arts of Tampa Bay instructor Taylor Lubecki. Kelsey now resides in Pittsburgh, PA, where she is the cofounder and director of Iron City Aerial, and instructor at Fullbody Fitness Club and Abby Lee Dance Company, as well as a performer with Zany Umbrella Circus. This is Kelsey's sixth season dancing with Xclaim. She aims to inspire others through dance, as dance continuously inspires her.
Deena (Dancer/Choreographer, Costuming Assistant) grew up in Minneapolis, MN. She trained at Summit School of Dance, Ballet Arts Minnesota, the Boston Conservatory (summer intensive), and the University of Akron where she received a B.S. in Mathematics, Biology and Dance. Deena also has a M.S. and Ph.D. in Applied Math from Cornell University. While a graduate student, she was a Principal Dancer with the Ithaca Ballet Company, dancing lead roles in The Nutcracker, Cinderella, and Alice in Wonderland to name a few. Deena has worked with various dance companies, student groups, and many distinguished artists/choreographers, including: Sean Curran, Luis Fuente, Tom Smith, Andy Caroll, Byron Suber, Jim Self, Jumay Chu, Risa Cohen, Cindy Reid, Rafael Grigorian, Linda Muir, James Sewell, and Barry Leon. This is Deena's sixth season with Xclaim. Deena is a wife and mother and for her day job, a Postdoctoral Researcher in Mathematical Biology at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.
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 "Columbus Dances", "60x60", various community outreach and arts events and all of Xclaim's mainstage performances.
(Collaborator and Film Maker) Entering college in 1970, Terry found a part-time job as a television camera operator for the OSU Instructional Television Department, and was able to participate in some of the earliest distance-learning television experiments. Fortunate to have landed a spot as an announcer at the legendary progressive rock station WCOL-FM in 1972, he used this opportunity to introduce popular local artists like McGuffy Lane, The Godz, and many others during the four-year run of the 'Homegrown in the Studio' series. During this time, WOSU-TV in Columbus asked him to be an on-camera host for a series of programs covering music and popular culture.
In 1978 Terry joined the air staff of Jazz 104, WBBY-FM, producing local Jazz albums in the early 80s and creating photographic art and music videos for several other artists. Establishing Terry Wilson, Communication Arts in 1992 as a full-time venture, he was able to produce instructional video programs for clients as diverse as General Motors, AT&T International Training, OSU Departments of Financial Services and Traffic and Security, Bob Evans and Donatos Restaurants, The Ohio State Bar Association, as well as broadcast messages for dozens of area commercial accounts. Terry was asked to join the faculty of The Ohio Center for Broadcasting in 2009 as lead instructor, then in 2010 accepted the position as Career Services Director for both Columbus and Cincinnati campus locations.