LELA AISHA JONES
Is founder/director of Flyground which “develops movement performance projects that re-imagine and cultivate disaporic lineages of angst and delight in the body to multiply the stories of blackness” Ms Jones has an MFA in Dance from Florida State University and a BS in Health Science Education, University of Florida. She is currently a PHD candidate in Dance Theory & Practice at Texas Women’s University.
Currently she has a two year artist in residency at the CEC. Her projects have been supported by the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, PA Arts Council, PCAH and DanceUP’s New Stages for Dance. She won a peer recognition award from the local dance community with a Rocky Award in 2013. She teaches k-12 students through Artists in Education in New Jersey, Young Audiences and Live Connections. Locally she has taught as adjunct faculty at Bryn Mawr, Swarthmore, UArts, Muhlenberg and Widener, colleges and universities.
Jone’s work has been commissioned by First Person Arts, Kulu Mele in Philadelphia and further afield by California State University at Sam Bernadino, Lilly Vonn Dance in DC and Shenandoah University, Virginia.
For the PDP residency she will present “Black Pop Moves.” It is a contemporary experience with popular movement, dance, and culture in the African/Black Diaspora and in the U.S. across generations and locations in the world. Geared to community students, this class/workshop residency explores social, spiritual, contemporary and traditional diasporic dances. The experience can include a range of dances such as Amizade (a welcome dance from Guinea Bissau), Hip Life (a pop dance from Ghana), Southern Base and the Electric Slide (pop dances from the U.S.). The beauty of the experience is the similarity and diversity of movement created in and popularized from global Black communities.
Melanie Cotton is a Philadelphia native and a staple in the hip hop dance community. She started her Dance/ Theater career at Freedom Theater’s School of Performing Arts. In 2004 she received an associates
degree in Communications Theater from Community College of Philadelphia. With a growing passion for hip hop dance culture she continued her training with Philadelphia’s premiere all female hip hop dance company Montazh and then went on to become a core member of Rennie Harris: Puremovement.
Armed with hip hop foundation and a passion for theater Melanie has choreographed and offered her unique
movement style to various theater and dance companies like 1812 Productions, Philadelphia Theater Company and Temple University’s Theater Department. She is has a particular interest in working with young women using hip hop dance as a tool for empowerment. Her teaching credits include: teaching artist for The ESF summer program, Girls on the Move art therapy program, hip hop theater workshops with
Puremovement as well as teaching in studios and facilitating workshops for youth in the Philly/NJ area.