Artistic Director


Stephanie Peña Bio

Stephanie Peña is a choreographer, dancer and teaching artist. Stephanie earned an MFA in Choreography at the University of Roehampton in London, UK. In addition to working with Lakaï Dance Theatre, Stephanie has performed at Jacob’s Pillow, Hibernian Hall, New York Live Arts and MIT. She has also worked with Ligia Lewis, Rosemary Lee, and many more artists. 

Stephanie’s choreography, “What Am I Doing Here?” (2014) was showcased at CUNY Hunter College (NYC), Open Marley Night (Baltimore) and Ticino in Danza Festival (Switzerland). Her next work, Morir Soñando (2016) was showcased at University of Roehampton and Elefeet Dance Festival (London, UK). 

As a teaching artist, she is currently teaching Merengue, Bachata and Salsa, and Contemporary dance to children K-12 at public schools, community centers and Senior Centers through Dancewave, Pentacle, Little Island and Purelements Outreach Program. Peña continues to grow by collaborating with other artists and inspiring others to move their bodies. 

Eliyah Bio

Eliyah is a Harlem-born dancer of Jamaican descent. Her dance career started at the age of 4 in the Uptown Dance Academy, where she trained in a variety of styles including ballet, contemporary, West African, Hip Hop, and more. She graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University with a Bachelors in Business Management in 2018. 

After college, she continued to train and teach in Afro dance, as well as Hip Hop based styles. As an alumni, Eliyah currently works part time as a dance & skating instructor at Figure Skating in Harlem. She is also a member of a few companies including Lakai Dance Theatre and Kr3ts.

Couffe Bio

Couffe Wilson is an artist from Queens, NY. Her love for everything creative started as young as three years old. She feels blessed to have come from a family of musicians and artists and was raised knowing the stage is her home. Couffe is trained Ballet, Jazz, Tap, West African, Modern and Hip Hop. Couffe is also a singer-songwriter who’s experience in musical theater has heightened her approach to performance and delivery. 

Couffe has danced with and choreographed for competition teams 

out of Connecticut, as well as local and international artists. Although she began creating her own music and choreography from the age 14, she always considers herself a student and feels honored to share any knowledge she has acquired. 

Junior Jay Bio

Junior, “Jay,” was bornin Jamaica and raised in St. Maarten. His passion for dance started at the age of 9 while still living in Jamaica. After moving to St.Maarten, Junior trained extensively at INDISU Dance Theater of St.Maarten to further develop his craft. He also became a participant of the Art Saves Lives Foundation; which allowed him train under Artists from NYC in various styles such as Traditional African, Street Jazz, Ballet, Tap, and HipHop.  

St.Maarten did not have the resources for his robust dance interest, so Junior used YouTube fears to to train in styles such as House, popping, and locking. Junior moved to NYC in 2017 where he continued his training with some of the best teachers in the city. Since moving to New York he has performed in the 2018 VMA’s with the skeleton crew, as well as R&B group June’s Diary, The Brand New Day Fashion show in Times Square and has been a lead in a Jose Cuervo commercial. Most recently, Junior performed at New York Live Arts as a member of Lakai Dance Theatre, a company that promotes healing through the arts of Afro-Diaspora.

Aliyah Bio

Aliyah Jones, aka “Prophet,” is a 21-year-old dancer and all-around creative from Brooklyn, New York. She began dancing at the age of 4, which would serve as an opening to her ever-expanding world of creative expression from young. Her training began with ballet and tap at Brooklyn Music School and Playhouse. From there she branched into jazz and West African at JCAL, and expanded into capoeira, contemporary fusion, modern, hip hop, and pointe.  

Prophet attended Brooklyn High School of the Arts as a dance major under Michelle Smith and Ian DaSilva. Her concentrations were in modern and contemporary fusion as well as West African. Nathan Trice, Earl Mosley, and Dwana Smallwood were among a few of the guest choreographers she had the honor of training with. Prophet  is currently a part of two dance companies including Lakai Dance Theatre. 

Izzy Bio

Isaac “Izzy” Williams is a visual artist from Queens, NY living with SCD (Sickle Cell Disease). Izzy’s dance journey started at 6 years old after attending african parties and weddings. He has always had a natural love for movement which makes him feel connected to his Ghanian and Nigerian heritage. 

Although sickle cell tries to put limitations on his body, dance has always made Izzy feel liberated. His goal is to connect with others living with Sickle Cell and show them that whatever gift you are given in this life should be shared because you can inspire others with it. 

Katya bio

Katya was born and raised in Siberia, Russia. Katya was introduced to dance at the age of 6 when she started taking classical and traditional folklore classes. In University Katya discovered Hip-Hop culture which added a new layer to her dance journey.   

Her passion for Hip-Hop lead her to join Street Dance Federation as an instructor and choreographer. Katya’s achievements in dance led to her performing in the Opening Ceremony of Winter Olympic Games in Sochi 2014 and Hip-Hop International Russia Division.  

In 2017, Katya moved to New York to better understand the industry internationally. Currently Katya is a principal dancer for Lakai Dance Theatre based in Boston, MA. Katya actively participates in showcases, dance intensives by Rhapsody James, Galen Hooks, Candace Brown and South by Southwest Music Festival. 

Sarah Toumani bio

Sarah grew up in the south of France where she started doing ballet at the age of 4. She later graduated from the James Carles’s Choreographic Center in France, and The Ailey School and Capezio Dance Center in New York City as a scholarship student.  

Sarah received a 1st prize in contemporary dance in an international competition in Lattes in 2013, was a semi finalist of the 2014’s World Championship of Performing Arts in Paris, and a finalist of New York’s Got Talent 2017 in New York City. 

Among others,  

Sarah has performed with for Miri Ben Ari, Buglisi Dance Theater, Danone Nation’s Cup, Eric Checco, James Carles, Heidi Latsky Dance, Valleto Dance Company, and Earl Mosley’s Diversity of Dance. She was also invited to present her choreographic work at Brooklyn Ballet Festival, Mildford Dance Festival and Performance Mix Dance Festival. Sarah joined Lakaï Dance Theatre in 2021. 

Brian Blaze bio

After studying martial arts for approximately 9 years, Brian Frazier aka Blaze pivoted from this practice to explore his interest in dance. Blaze became enamored by the B-boy culture in his hometown of Harrisburg, PA. Although the community was thriving with talent and potential, the local scene eventually died down leaving Blaze with no dance mentorship or opportunity.  

Blaze was focused and spent hours studying and posting on YouTube daily until he was noticed by Jason Reed, a graduate of The Juilliard School. Soon after, E. Moncell Durden took Blaze under his wing. Durden introduced Blaze to the Hood Lockers who further molded him into the artist he is today.  

Through his resilience he has been afforded many opportunities including working with renown programs and companies like Jacob’s Pillow, Hood Nation and the thought provoking dance company, Lakaï Dance Theatre under the tutelage of McKersin Previlus. Blaze later joined AfroFunk in New York City and  Rennie Harris Rhaw in Philadelphia and continues a thriving career in performing arts. 

IJ (陳加恩) bio

IJ (陳加恩) is a Boston-based dance artist and educator. She has dedicated her life to training and performing intensively in multiple dance genres for a variety of choreographers. In her own choreographic work, IJ is interested in intersecting and exploring the Asian-American narrative. She is committed to bringing quality dance instruction to low-income and minority youth populations within Boston. She also works as a freelance graphic designer, visual artist and seamstress.

Richard James bio

Richard James is a Panama native that grew up in Flatbush, Brooklyn. There, he developed an eclectic dance style that is deeply influenced by his culture and the people that surrounded him. At the age of 10, he started professional dance training in various dance styles such as Hip Hop, Jazz, West African, and Tap. 

James got his first real taste of the entertainment industry as a teen print model for various commercial ads. During his high school and college years (Lehman College) he was also a competitive Track and Field athlete but his passion for the arts never died. 

Currently, James is represented by Bloc Talent Agency (NY) and can be spotted modeling and dancing in various international print ads, music videos, and in scripted series like POSE on Netflix. In the Future, James hopes to open his very own dance studio for children of low income households where he can share his love for the arts. 

McKersin's Bio

Resilience is the word that comes up when describing McKersin. He overcame a troubled environment and upbringing to become the dancer, educator, and artistic director that he is today. With Ethnic-Haitian dance as his base vocabulary, McKersin started building a bigger arsenal with Hip-Hop, Jazz, and Tap. Today, he leads workshops throughout various parts of the world orientated towards social justice and the roots of African American culture and movement. McKersin is currently leading an international research project that involves the ties and spread of the African Diaspora in the western hemisphere as well as many projects throughout his community. His local projects promote emotional competency, healing, and conversation through the Arts all while running his non-profit Lakaï Arts which aims to build stronger communities of color towards self-sufficiency using the arts, and Lakaï Dance Theatre, a subdivision of his non-profit.