Blake started dancing at the age of three and has been in the studio ever since. He has toured internationally with “Tops in Blue,” and has toured nationally with “Oliver,” “West Side Story,” “Gypsy,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Bye-Bye Birdie,” and “Annie.” Blake has taught all over the world and his unique teaching styles, combined with his personality and strong varied techniques, keep him in constant demand on the road. He is an award winning director/choreographer of musical theatre, industrials, and national competition winners. He has had the opportunity to inspire many young dancers/singers/artists along the way.
He has directed and choreographed great shows like “Side Show,” “Working,” “Floyd Collins,” “Anything Goes,” “Godspell,” “Nunsense,” “The Fantastiks,” “Steelpier,” “Copacabana,” “A Chorus Line,” “Tommy,” “Singing in the Rain,” “Jane Eyre,” “Bat Boy,” and recently he was selected to create, direct and choreograph a new show at a brand new venue at The National World War II Museum, called “Let Freedom Swing.” His passion is dance and performing arts, but his love is animals. Blake now serves as the President of Dance Teachers United, a national dance teacher organization that serves dance teachers and educators throughout the country. He was awarded Dance Teacher of the Year in 1998. Blake was recently awarded the International Network of Schools for the Advancement of Arts Education, Teacher of the Year.
Originally from San Diego CA, Chard received his BFA in Dance Performance at SUNY Purchase and his MA in Dance Studies at Laban Centre London. He has performed internationally with Douglas Dunn & Dancers (NYC), Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company (NYC), Compagnia Virgilio Sieni Danza (ITALY), and Cathy Seago & Dancers (UK). Chard has taught modern, improvisation, choreography, dance history and contemporary dance at Laban Centre London, London Contemporary Dance School, Roehampton University and Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in Florida. His company, Chard Gonzalez Dance Theatre, was founded after performing at the first New Orleans Fringe Festival (http://www.charddance.org).
Nikoloz Makhateli began his dancing career as a principal dancer with the National Opera and Ballet Theatre of Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia. He has studied at the Tbilisi National Ballet School and Tbilisi State College of Theatrical Arts, and received the highest level of qualification as Ballet Master and Choreographer in the Kirov Ballet. His past experience includes Ballet Instructor at Bejart’s School, Artistic Director at Mudra-Afric in Senegal, Africa, Professor of Ballet at Tbilisi State Choreography College, and Ballet Master at D.T. Dance Theater in Denver.
He was the Artistic Director of Makhateli Ballet Academy in Denver, Colorado, receiving designation as the Most Outstanding Ballet School in Colorado in 2005 and Most Outstanding Teacher in Colorado in 2006 by Youth America Grand Prize. He has danced, choreographed, and directed numerous full-length ballet productions across the world.
Kesha McKey is an energetic and innovative performer, instructor and choreographer. She is a graduate of NOCCA and received a BS from Xavier University of Louisiana. Inspired at a very young age by stage performances, Kesha began to study dance at various institutions in New Orleans such as NOCCA, Tulane University and Loyola University. She received scholarships to study at Jacob’s Pillow, Bates Dance Festival, The Musical Theatre Project of Tampa, and Celebration Barn Theater where she studied with Robert Battle, Michael Foley, Tania Issac, Lynn Simonson, Anne Reinking, Chet Walker, Fred Garbo and Luigi.
Kesha is currently a dance instructor at NOCCA and the Program Coordinator of the Kuumba Institute, Ashé Cultural Arts Center Youth Program. She is the Co-founder/Choreographer for CCC Dance Ensemble and is a featured dancer/singer and the assistant rehearsal director for the Lula Elzy Dance Theatre, Ashé Cultural Arts Center, Prophecy Dance Company and Exhibit Dance Collective. Her most recent acting roles have been Motormouth Maybelle in “Hairspray” at Le Petite Theatre, Calpurnia in “To Kill a Mocking Bird and Almeda/Lula Buffington in “Violet” with NOCCA Stage Company. She has also participated in the productions of several commercials and films such as McDonald’s, Times Picayune, “Ray” and “Eve’s Bayou.” She continues to nourish her artistic talents and grow as an accomplished performer as she teaches, choreographs and performs throughout the United States.