Photo by Cody Perkins

SHUAIB DEE ELHASSAN joined the Junior Division at The Ailey School in 2007.  He performed works choreographed by Ailey ll’s Artistic Director, Troy Powell, Camille A. Brown, Francesca Harper and Kirven Douthit-Boyd.  In 2011 he was accepted into The School at Jacob’s Pillow’s Contemporary Program and performed works created by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Director Emerita, Judith Jamison, Tony Fabre and Ariel Freedmon.  He was a member of Complexions Contemporary Ballet. 

Elhassan is a freelance Dance Artist and joined ZEST COLLECTIVE in 2013

Photo by Samantha Siegel

SERGIO TAPIA-FIKES is originally from Chihuahua, Mexico and grew up in Dallas, Texas.  He is a 2013 graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Sergio has had the fortune of performing works by Camille A. Brown, Larry Keigwin, Robert Battle, Dwight Rhoden, Shannon Gillen, Alex Ketley , Peter Chu, Christopher Vo, Jessica Lang, Brice Mousset and Andrew Skeels.  He has attended summer programs at Ballet Austin, The Movement Invention Project, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and Springboard Danse Montreal.  Since graduation, Sergio has been a freelance Dance Artist and has worked with Oui Danse performing in a 360 degree installation, "French Amour" as well as a duet at Dumbo Brooklyn Festival.  In addition to being a performer, he is a choreographer.  Fike’s choreography has been performed in NYC at the Tisch School of the Arts and the Faison Firehouse Theatre. 

Sergio joined ZEST COLLECTIVE in 2013.


Photo by Miguel Quinones

JENNA GRAVES began her dance training at Olga Kresin's Ballet School in Philadelphia Pennsylvania and later attended the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts. She trained at The Ailey School as a scholarship student, and was a member of the dance company Eleone Connections.  Ms. Graves has participated in a number of dance competitions including the Youth America Grand Prix, Tanzolymp, and Barcelona International Dance Competition.  She has performed works by choreographers Carlos dos Santos, Tony Powell, Pedro Ruiz, Francesca Harper, as well as Ailey II’s artistic director, Troy Powell. She was a member of Ailey II from 2011-2013. She is currently a member of Nai-Ni Chen dance company. 

Jenna joined ZEST COLLECTIVE in 2013.

Photo by Samantha Siegel

LESLIE SAINT-JOUR hails from Miami, Florida.  She attended New World School of the Arts under the direction of Daniel Lewis.  Leslie has attended Dance Theater of Harlem's summer intensives in the past and she is a recent graduate from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.  While obtaining a dual degree in Dance & Africana Studies she also had the opportunity to study in Salzburg, Austria at SEAD-Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance.  Leslie has performed works by Martha Graham, George Balanchine, Sean Curran and Azure Barton.

Leslie joined ZEST COLLECTIVE in 2013.

Photo by Eduardo Patino

CARLOS KERR JR. is a native of Brooklyn, New York.  He is currently a senior in the Ailey/Fordham BFA program.  His formal dance training commenced upon entering Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts.  In addition, he studied at the Manhattan Youth Ballet, formerly known as Studio Maestro, under the direction of Francois Perron and the Junior Division of The Ailey School.  

Mr. Kerr has received tutelage through several summer intensives including Earl Mosley Institute of the Arts, The School at Jacob’s Pillow: Contemporary Program, French Academie of Ballet, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and Springboard Danse Montreal. He has performed works by Stijn Celis, William Forsythe, Alvin Ailey, Robert Battle, Barack Marshall, Ronald K. Brown, Paul Taylor, Dwight Rhoden, Victor Quijada, Alejandro Cerrudo, Andrea Miller, Adam Barruch, Loni Landon, Andrew Skeels, Jennifer Archibald, Thang Dao, Malcolm Low and Tony Fabre. He has performed with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre in both “Memoria” and “Revelations.”  He has performed the roles of Snow King and Spanish in New Jersey Academy of Dance Arts’ “The Nutcracker,” and the role of Prince Charming in their production of “Cinderella” as well.  In September 2013, Kerr joined The Metropolitan Opera as Dance Artist and can be seen in their productions, including “Two Boys” and “Prince Igor,” choreography by Hofesh Schecter and Itzik Galili.  Carlos joined ZEST COLLECTIVE in 2013.

Photo by Eduardo Patino

DAPHNE LEE began her dance training at the Rahway Dance Theatre under the direction of Ms. Jay Skeete-Lee. She is a graduate of the Ailey/Fordham B.F.A. Program and was a recipient of the Denise Jefferson Scholarship award.  Ms. Lee received scholarships to Jacobs Pillow, Boston Ballet, and Dance Theatre of Harlem and is a regional gold medal recipient in dance for the NAACP ACT-SO competition. Ms. Lee performed works by Robert Battle, Elisa Monte, Scott Rink, Nathan Trice, and Andrea Miller. She has danced at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland and was a cast member in the sixth season of Dance212's online reality series. This is her second year with Ailey II.  Lee joined ZEST COLLECTIVE in 2013.

Photo by Sensei Majid

NIKOSA MAJID is a born and raised New Yorker.  She was accepted into Ballet Tech Public School for Dance on scholarship for a full nine years.  Majid has been involved in The Ailey School's Scholarship Program since 2006.  Nikosa has performed several works by Eliot Feld at the Joyce Theater and Chicago’s Dance Festival. Nikosa has performed works by Dwana Smallwood, Maguette Camara and Jean Emile.  Nikosa has performed with Ailey Students and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre company members at Park Avenue Armory’s 100th Anniversary.  She joined ZEST COLLECTIVE in 2013.


Photo by Eduardo Patino

DANICA PAULOS of Huntington Beach, CA began her dance training at Orange County Dance Center in southern California and also studied in Los Angeles with Yuri Grigoriev. She graduated from the Professional Performing Arts School in New York and trained at The Ailey School as a scholarship student. Ms. Paulos attended summer intensives at Kirov Academy of Ballet, The Juilliard School, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, and Jacob’s Pillow. She has performed works by Robert Battle, Judith Jamison, Matthew Rushing, Hope Boykin, Erika Pujic, Christian von Howard, and Earl Mosley. Ms. Paulos received a Level 1 award as a YoungArts finalist by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. This is her first year with Ailey II.  Paulos Joined ZEST COLLECTIVE in 2013.

Photo by Cody Perkins

MATTHEW PEREZ is a native of the Bronx, New York.  He is a member of Gallim Dance.  Matthew graduated from North Carolina School of the Arts as a high school student in 2009.  He later went on to receive a BFA from SUNY Purchase (2013), where he performed works by Pam Tanowitz, Lar Lubovitch, Twyla Tharp, Nicholo Fonte, and John Heginbotham.  Matthew has attended various summer programs, including The Movement Invention Project (2011) and Springboard Danse Montreal (2011 & 2012).  Perez joined ZEST COLLECTIVE in 2013.


Photo by Muii

AMBER BARBEE PICKENS is currently a third year BFA dance student at The Juilliard School.  Since the age of two, she has danced at local dance studios in Dallas, Texas.  When she attended the Debbie Allen Dance Institute as her first summer dance intensive in fourth grade, she knew she wanted to become a professional dancer.  A 2011 graduate of Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, Amber received the highest honor awarded to Performing Arts students in Texas.  The Texas Commission on the Arts selected Amber as one of 15 members for the 2008 Class of Texas Young Masters of the Arts, making her the first Booker T. Washington HSPVA freshman to win the honor in its history.  She was also awarded honorable mention by the National YoungArts Foundation in both Modern and World Dance-African.  Amber has studied as a fellow at The Ailey School, Debbie Allen School of Dance and The Martha Graham School.  She is a member of the Juilliard Student Council and represents Juilliard as a student ambassador.  Amber is an advocate for community engagement in the arts and was part of the 2012 Juilliard PEPS (Performing Educational Programs for Schools), interactive dance performances for students in New York City middle and high schools.  She traveled to Durban, South Africa during summer 2013 to fulfill her dream of sharing the experience of Dance and the Performing Arts.  Amber developed an educational outreach project that allowed her to conduct a series of dance workshops with children and youth in various underserved schools and community organizations.  Pickens joined ZEST COLLECTIVE in 2014.

Photo by George Obremski

JESSE OBREMSKI is a New York City native who started his professional dance training at The Ailey School. He has had the privilege to perform with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at the Apollo Theater and in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. He also trained at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts as a dance major. While at LaGuardia High School, Jesse was in their production of “A Chorus Line” (Dancer), “Hairspray!” (Brad, Dance Captain), and “Guys and Dolls” (Lead Dancer, Dance Captain) and received the Father Fame Award (2012). He was also awarded the prestigious rank of Eagle Scout in 2011. He has also trained at Earl Mosley's Institute for the Arts, The Broadway Experience, Perry Mansfield, and Jacob's Pillow. Apart from dance, Jesse has been singing in The Transfiguration Men and Boys Choir since 2002 and is a Programming Assistant at The Juilliard School (2013-2014).

Obremski has had his choreography presented in EMIA’s Emerging Choreographers Concert (2011) and in LaGuardia's Junior Projects Concert (2011). He was also featured in Juilliard's Choreographic Honors (2013) in which he choreographed, composed and performed. Jesse has been a Dance Artist with ZEST Collective, under the Artistic Direction of Gentry Isaiah George, since 2013. He has also been a Dance Artist with DaretoCreate Dance Collective, founded by Daniel Ching, since 2013. Jesse has had the opportunity to work closely with and perform pieces by Adam Barruch, Sidra Bell, Brian Brooks, Camille A. Brown, Sharon Eyal, Rennie Harris, Loni Landon, Lar Lubovitch, Earl Mosley, Igal Perry, Troy Powell, Didy Veldman and others. He has also had the privelege to perform the repertoire of Alvin Ailey, Robert Battle, Nacho Duato and José Limón. Jesse is now in his second year at The Juilliard School and plans to graduate with a B.F.A in dance. 

Photo by Adam Mikolajczyk

Before LUKASZ ZIEBA started his dance training he was a professional artistic gymnast, belonging to The Junior National Team in Poland.  He graduated from Cracow Dance Academy.  He competed in ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ Season 4 in Poland and won  2nd place.  Mr. Zieba worked with companies such as Ki elecki Dance Theatre, Caro Dance Company, The Ballet of Cracow Dance Academy, and Contempo Physical Dance, performing in Poland, Germany, Switzerland and USA.  As a commercial dancer he performed among for Grace Jones on FIFA World Congress.  He won The World Dance Cup 2012 in Villach and received Best Solo Open Dance All Categories Award. He has attended Complexions Summer Intensive and Cedar Lake 360 Installation Summer Intensive. He is now the student of The Ailey School on The Scholarship Program and a member of Ailey Students Performance Group. Since 2013 also working with Terra Firma Dance Theatre. 

Lukasz joined ZEST COLLECTIVE in 2014.

Photo by Pavel Voz

SARAH HAARMANN grew up in Macungie, Pennsylvania.  In May 2012, she earned a BFA in Dance from Marymount Manhattan College under the direction of Katie Langan.  While at Marymount she had the honor of performing works by Benoit-Swan Pouffer, Jessica Lang, Lar Lubovitch, Larry Keigwin, Shen Wei and Pam Tanowitz. Upon graduation, Sarah was selected to participate in the Cunningham repertory workshops sponsored by the Merce Cunningham Trust. Sarah performed in Elena Vazintaris's short dance film, "Espacios de Liberacion." She is currently performing with Jessica Lang Dance and Pam Tanowitz Dance. 

Haarmann joined ZEST COLLECTIVE in 2013.

Photo by Steven Duarte

ERNEST BAKER II is an American dancer, choreographer, and film director. He is also a recent graduate of Eugene Lang, the New School for Liberal Arts.  At the age of 17, Ernest performed for President Barack Obama and the White House administration at the Kennedy Center in honor of becoming the first U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts for Hip Hop Dance.  With his nomination through the National YoungArts Foundation he was also bestowed the compliment of working with dancer and director, Bill T. Jones on the Emmy Nominated HBO series, “MASTERCLASS.”  As a result of his accomplishments, he was given a Proclamation from his hometown, Opa Locka, FL of having January 23rd declared ‘Ernest Baker II Day’. 

Ernest is currently a Hip Hop dance teacher at Harlem School of the Arts, Washington Heights Cultural Arts Center, and Salvatore Dance Academy where he is able to give back and inspire through his instruction to aspiring professional dancers.  Ernest also participated in the Hip Hop: Cultural Traditions and Movin’ Commercial program at the Jacobs Pillow School. He has danced and choreographed for TV, theater and live performances including BET’s Source Awards, Spring Bling, NBC’s America’s Got Talent, and The San Francisco International Hip Hop DanceFest. He’s performed and trained with artists including Bill T. Jones, Desmond Richardson, Rennie Harris, Jeffery Page, Earl Mosley, Mr. Wiggles, Pop Master Fabel, Zedric Bembry and Jennifer Archibald.

As a filmmaker Ernest was asked to work with Simon & Goodman Picture Company as a location scout for the film, “Strangers No More,” which went on to win the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject. He then directed and produced his own film, a documentary short, “The Hidden Gem of Washington Heights,” that was accepted into the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, Creative Minds in Cannes Program. 

Baker joined ZEST COLLECTIVE in 2013.

Photo by Eduardo Patino

Photo by Eduardo Patino

JACQUELIN HARRIS began her dance training at Dance Productions Studio in her hometown of Charlotte, NC under the direction of Lori Long. In 2010, as a finalist for National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts, Ms. Harris received a silver ARTS award and was a semifinalist for the Presidential Scholar in the Arts. She attended summer programs at Jacob’s Pillow and Joffrey Ballet School and has performed works by Robert Battle, Judith Jamison, Michael Leon Thomas, and Camille A. Brown. In 2012, Ms. Harris performed in Alvin Ailey’s Revelations with a cast of 50 during Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s New York City Center season. She is currently a senior in the Ailey/Fordham B.F.A. Program in Dance.

Harris is a member of Ailey II and joined ZEST COLLECTIVE in 2014. 

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