Community Dance Faculty
Community Dance Faculty
Coppin State University Dance Faculty
Vanessa L. Jackson
Director of Dance
Mya D. Ajanku
Abel has been performing in ballet, opera, musical & dramatic theater for more than three decades. A former high-school wrestler and semi-pro baseball player, Charlie fell in love with ballet in his home state of Louisiana where he performed with the Louisiana Ballet. Since then Mr. Abel has performed principal roles with the Yugoslav National Ballet, New Jersey Ballet, and the Baltimore Ballet. Locally Mr. Abel has appeared in numerous musical theater productions and has appeared in two Helen Hayes nominated stage plays with the Keegan Theatre in Washington, DC. Mr. Abel has taught classical and theater dance at Dance Institute of Washington, Mid-Atlantic Center for the Performing Arts, Ballet Royale Institute of Maryland, and Columbia Center for Theatrical Arts. Currently Mr. Abel is on the faculty at Catholic University and for the last fifteen years at University of Maryland in Baltimore County.
La Tiesha Melvin
Ballet and Modern
Melvin began her formal dance training at the Baltimore School for the Arts under the direction of Norma Pera and Anton Wilson, where she trained in various styles such as; Ballet, Pointe, Modern, Jazz, Character and more. Additionally, she studied at the American Academy of Ballet in Purchase, NY and the Johns Hopkins Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, MD under the tutelage of Carol Bartlett. Notably, in 2011, LaTeisha earned the first -place gold medal for "Dance and Choreography" in the NAACP Act-So competition as well as being the 2011 recipient of the Hutzler's prize, the Joan G & Joseph Klein Jr. scholarship and the Virginia Commonwealth 4-year Departmental scholarship award.
In the fall of 2015 LaTeisha received her B.F.A. in Dance and Choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University where she created work and performed a plethora of works by: Nathan Trice, Christian Von Howard, Johnnie Mercer and Autumn Waddell. Post-graduation, LaTeisha has performed with "Ashani Dances" from Seattle Washington, “UNUM Dance Collective" from Baltimore Maryland and “Dance Iquail” from Philadelphia Pennsylvania; along with other collaborations and projects in the Baltimore/Washington area.
She has further training at the American Dance Festival, the Houston Metropolitan Dance Theatre and the SYTYCD Excel in Motion convention; all on scholarships. In 2017 Lateisha was inducted into the “SYTYCD excel in Motion” honor society as well as being awarded a partial scholarship and 6 honorable mentions. LaTeisha is currently a Guest Artists and Company choreographer at Georgetown University in Washington D.C as well as a teacher and choreographer at Maryland School of Dance in Rockville, MD, Coppin State University Community dance Program in Baltimore, MD, and Dance with Me Studios in Belair, Maryland. She has presented work at the Gonda Theatre in Washington D.C and the James Weldon Johnson Theater at Coppin State University. LaTeisha continues to work as a freelance dancer, collaborator, teacher, choreographer, and aspiring dance fitness model in the DMV area.
James received her BS in Dance at Coppin State University in the Spring 2014. She began dancing in 2005 under the direction of Darby Pack at the Israel Baptist Church where Frances is the current Ministry Choreographer. Frances has choreographed for numerous Liturgical Dance Ministries and companies in Baltimore City. She has choreographed for the Unified Voices of Johns Hopkins productions: "Smokey Joe's Cafe" and "Q-The Legend". Most recently, Frances worked as a Dance Teacher in the Baltimore City Public School system through Bring Da Noise Network. She is an active member of Trajectory Dance Project under the direction of Alice Howes. She has performed in numerous Collegiate Dance Festivals and workshops. Frances performed her self-choreographed solo "For John", in memory of her late father, John Johnson Jr., at the Black College Dance Exchange in Chicago. Frances uses her own experiences to choreograph thought provoking work. The piece most important to her is entitled ";". It was inspired by her own issues with bullying and suicide. Frances hopes that her choreography and teaching will help people going through similar issues and give them something to help them overcome.
Modern and Jazz
A performer, choreographer and instructor based in central Maryland. Alex teaches at various private and non-profit dance organizations in central Maryland, as well as Howard Community College where she serves as the Assistant Director of Howard County Community College’s (HCC) dance company, and Assistant Coordinator of the annual HCC Dance Festival. She began her dance training in 1996 and is primarily trained in Ballet. In college, she found her love for Modern dance, and has worked in the realm of Modern dance ever since. Alex always had a passion for dance and choreography, but her greatest love has always been teaching. She holds a BA in Dance from the University of Maryland Baltimore County(UMBC), where she performed with Baltimore Dance Project (UMBC's resident professional company). l. She currently performs with LucidBeings Dance, and Masala Soul Project (which is scheduled to perform at The Kennedy Center in the spring of 2018). Other performances include Megapolis Music Festival, Akimbo(Baltimore), and Artscapes. She has choreographed work for HCC students as well as faculty, and Kinetics Dance Company (including Peter and the Wolf in collaboration with the Columbia Orchestra). In the future, Alex plans to pursue an MFA in Dance to continue her journey of educating at the collegiate level.
Modern and Hip Hop
A dancer, choreographer, educator, and visual artist originally from Norfolk, VA. He began his dance training while attending Salem High School of Visual and Performing Arts Academy in Virginia Beach under the guidance of Quiana Erb, Pamella Washburn, and Shannon Waters. While at Salem High School, Scoggins received several scholarships, including the Virginia Governor's School Residential Summer Program, and two to Bates Dance Festival. As a 2011 graduate of Salem High School, and he was inducted into the National Honor Society for Dance. Scoggins holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance and choreography from the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). During his time at VCU he trained with Dr. James Frazier, Scott Putman, Martha Curtis, Courtney Harris, Christian von Howard, Autumn Proctor Waddell, Judith Steel, Melanie Richards, and Dr. E Gaynell Sherrod. Scoggins began teaching for Sam Rountree's School of Dance in Virginia Beach, VA. with a focus on performance development, ballet and contemporary modern. In 2017, Scoggins became a company member and teaching artist with Maryland’s ClancyWorks Dance Company. During the Spring of 2017, Patapsco High School dancers showcased Scoggins piece in The Baltimore Theater Project’s collaborative show between Coppin State University's Dance Department, and ClancyWorks. Scoggins is newly teaching for Leaders of Tomorrow Youth Center and Spotlighters Theatre in addition to teaching for the Coppin State University's Community Dance Program (CDP)
Mya D. Ajanku
For more than twenty years, dance has served as my medium for sharing and healing. During my classes I share my knowledge of movement from the African Diaspora. When I initially began to study dances of the diaspora, I noticed classes not only offered challenging techniques but a culture that openly welcomed others. During my learning experiences, I admired the instructor’s ability to teach strong foundation movement while nurturing and encouraging individuality. Inspired and supported by the instructors in Sankofa Dance Theater, I began instructing class at age 13. To date, I have taught classes all over the United States, for all levels of dancers and in all kinds of programs; because I believe knowledge is best when shared. As a performer, I shared the stage with artists such as Roberta Flack, Fertile Ground, M.I.A, and Spank Rock. My movement research includes time with: Sankofa Dance Theater, NaZu &Co, the National Ballets of Senegal and Cote D’Ivoire, as well as numerous instructors that specialize in movement from the diaspora. I hold B.A. in Dance with a K-12 teaching certificate from the University of Maryland Baltimore County and an M.F.A in Dance from Hollins University in collaboration with ADF and the Forsythe Company. During my tenure with Sankofa Dance Theater, she served as dance captain for the adult company and director of Sankofa Dance Theater Youth Ensemble. Working in autism research and development with Kennedy Krieger Institute taught me a wealth of knowledge in alternative teaching practices promoting my successful careers with Maarifa Shule, ConneXions Leadership Academy and Baltimore County Public Schools. I recently served as curriculum writer for Baltimore County Public Schools as well the Open Society Fellow Meshelle Sheilds’ Goal Diggers: The Sankofa Project. I presently enjoy my position of Upper School Dance Instructor for the Bryn Mawr School for Girls, adjunct professor at Coppin State University and coordinator for the community dance program.
Former Community Dance Instructors
Christina Brown (CSU Dance Major Graduate - Modern)
Everlea Bryant - Modern Dance & Dance Company
Diedre Dawson - African & Modern
Lorenzo "golo" Evans - Hip Hop
Marcia Evans - Ballet & Modern
Tracey Ferenc – Ballet
Socorro Jones - Vegas Jazz, Hip Hop
Quynn Johnson - African & Tap
TuTu Jones (CSU Dance Major - Modern and Jazz)
Cjay Philips - Musical Theater/Acting/Jazz
Rolanda Williams (Tap, Musical Theater and Combo Class)