Kareem Best

Kareem Best is a native of Baltimore, MD. He began his training in ballet at John Hopkins University’s Peabody Institute as an Estelle Dennis Dance Scholarship recipient under the direction of Barbara Weisberger and Melissa Stafford. From there he attended Carver Center for the Arts and Technology, where he worked with teachers Stephanie Powell, Maria Royals, and Elizabeth Ahern, continuing his studies in ballet and modern dance. While in Baltimore, Kareem also trained at Morton Street Dance Center, where he trained in ballet, modern, jazz, and African dance, and met dance mentor Algernon Campbell. Throughout his training, Kareem attended summer intensives at Dance Theatre of Harlem, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Joffrey Ballet, BalletX. and Philadanco. 

Kareem earned his BFA in dance at University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where he also danced with Philadanco’s second company, D2. While in Philadelphia, Kareem danced and performed in works choreographed by Donald Lundsford, Douglas Becker, Lewis Johnson, Milton Myers, Gary Jeter, Anthony Burrell, and Tommie Waheed Evans. As an independent artist, Kareem has taught and choreographed at Royal Performing Arts Center, Morton Street Dance Center, Carver Center for the Arts and Technology, Studio A Modeling and Dance, Ballet Nouveo, The Philadelphia High School of Performing Arts, and Philadanco D2 and D3. 

Kareem has also facilitated and directed arts after-school programs in the Philadelphia public school system as the project manager and teaching director of the Association for the Advancement and Integration of Design (AAID). Over the past several years, Kareem has produced collaborative projects with his collective, A Vision Beyond Confinement,  in Philadelphia (Kareem Best and Friends Presents an Evening of Dance concert series, in collaboration with Performance Garage, Marquice Furr, Philadanco D2, Rachel Byers and Barnel Anderson) and Las Vegas (Come Together Summer Intensive 2020, in collaboration with Free Spirit Dance Studio).  Kareem has also worked with Debbie Allen, Tyler Perry, and was a dancer on Kanye West’s album release event. Kareem has also danced with concert companies such as Contemporary West Dance Theatre and Ballethnic Dance Company.

LaMia Dingle

LaMia Dingle is the Executive Director and co-founder of REVEAL Movement. LaMia is from Camden, NJ and is a graduate of the city’s first arts high school. She attended the University of the Arts in Philadelphia where she trained vigorously in ballet, modern, jazz, and other cultural dances. LaMia’s artistic flare was recognized while in high school when she was cast as lead dancer in Jill Scott’s directorial debut music video. Always an avid student of hip-hop, LaMia began to delve into the style more intensely after joining Face Da Phlave, a hip-hop company that focuses on pure hip-hop movement and positivity. She has also performed as a dancer for the Garden State Dance Festival’s repertoire company, Philadelphia’s Putty Dance Project, and Project Dance in Washington D.C. LaMia was also the director of dance programs for youth and a co-artistic director and writer of stage productions for a non-profit theater group in Philadelphia. She and the group went on to utilize dance and theater as an instrument of education for young women in Liberia, West Africa. LaMia currently co-directs her training and performing company, REVEAL Movement, while instructing and contributing to works in the Atlanta area.

Jordan Nicole Heusner-Wilkinson

Jordan Nicole Heusner-Wilkinson (Joni) is a Moving in the Spirit alumna, teaching artist, costumer, and on-duty staff member. She graduated from The College of Wooster in 2019 with a degree in theatre and dance. By day Joni is a preschool teacher, and by night she is a costume queen. Joni has been involved with Moving in the Spirit for over 15 years, and she developed her love of costuming when she toured with the organization’s teen company, The Apprentice Corporation.

Kyla Langdon

Kyla Langdon was raised in Chicago, IL. Kyla’s formal dance training began at a small community studio on the city’s south side. From there, she trained with the Joffery Ballet, Chicago’s community program, as a part of the city’s Gallery 37 initiative. She studied dance in college at Emory University, where she minored in dance and movement studies and majored in neuroscience and behavioral biology. Kyla continued to train after college with the inaugural adult company of the Anthony Burrell Center for Dance and Dare Dream Dance, under the direction of Anthony Burrell and CiCi Kelley, respectively. Kyla has appeared in awards shows, short films, and continues to train around the city of Atlanta. In 2016, she co-founded RAIIN Dance Theater and presented the work InHuman. Kyla has been working with City Gate Dance Theater as both a dancer and production manager for the past four years. Kyla holds a master’s degree in public health and a second master’s in integrative physiology. Currently, Kyla is pursuing her medical degree (MD) to become a pediatric neurosurgeon.

Dr. Charné Furcron, LPC, BC-DMT, BCC, ACS

Dr. Charné Furcron, BC-DMT, LPC, NCC, MAC, BCC, ACS, CPCS, is the Director of Education and Program Officer for Moving in the Spirit. Moving in the Spirit has been one of her devoted passions for over thirty years. She has contributed to the program architecture and manages program evaluation to provide evidence that proves the impact of the program on the dancers’ self-concept, youth development goals, and dance technique. Charné holds a BFA in dance from Texas Christian University, MA in dance therapy from Goucher College, MA in counseling from the Georgia School of Professional Psychology, and EdD in counseling psychology with an emphasis in program evaluation from Argosy University/ Sarasota. Dr. Furcron is a Board-Certified Dance Therapist, Licensed Professional Counselor, National Certified Counselor, Board-Certified Coach, GA Certified School Counselor, Master Addiction Counselor, GA Certified Professional Counselor Supervisor, and Approved Clinical Supervisor.

In addition to her role as Director of Education, Charné is a Visiting Associate Professor for Pratt Institute and an Adjunct Professor for Lesley University in their Dance/Movement Therapy programs.  Additionally, she maintains a clinical supervision practice. As a researcher, Dr. Furcron has presented locally, nationally, and internationally on various theoretical and research-based topics, focusing on dance/movement therapy, diversity and inclusion, and youth development.

While living through the pandemic, Dr. Furcron co-authored a chapter in Dance/Movement Therapy for Trauma Survivors: Theoretical, Clinical, and Cultural Perspectives. Also, she co-authored two articles with Dr. Leon Rodgers: ‘The Dynamic Interface Between Neuromaturation, Risky Behavior, Creative Dance Movement, and Youth Development Programming’ for the American Journal of Dance Therapy, and ‘Multicultural Competence: Exploring the Link between Globalization, Select Demographics, and School Counselors’ Self-Perceptions’ for the International Journal for the Advancement of Counseling. Her TED-style presentation, ‘Dance: Positively Changing Lives of Urban Youth,’ was featured by the American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA) as the first in a series, “ADTA Talks.” She is highlighted in the Profiles of Dance/Movement Therapists on the ADTA website, in “A Short Primer on Innovative Evaluation Reporting,” and the international documentary, The Moving Child. 

Dr. Furcron serves on the American Dance Therapy Association Board of Directors as the Multicultural Diversity Chair. Under her leadership, the MDC received the Innovation Award in 2019, and in 2020 she was awarded the Exceptional Service Award. Charne also serves on the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO) Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA) committee. She and her NDEO colleagues were awarded the Executive Director’s Award for their planning, presentation, and facilitation of the IDEA 101 conference sessions at the NDEO 2020 conference. In addition, she was one of 13 founding members of the Southern Chapter of the ADTA and served as vice-president and treasurer.

Chelsi Lester

Chelsi Lester is a dancer, instructor, student, and artist based in her hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. At the age of four, Chelsi began to develop a love for dance in her church’s youth dance ministry, where she later recognized dance as one of her gifts. Making the choice at ten years old to pursue a career in dance, Chelsi began formally training under a local dance studio, where she studied ballet, jazz, hip hop, and tap. As she matured in her technical training, she began taking her gift more seriously and enrolled in a dance program at Gotta Dance Atlanta, under the primary instruction of Cicely “CiCi” Kelley. In addition to training locally, Chelsi began traveling frequently to New York City to study ballet under former Alvin Ailey instructor, Peter Brandenhoff. 

After graduating from Sprayberry High School in Marietta, GA, Chelsi attended Spelman College. There, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in dance performance and choreography. In addition to serving as co-leader of Spelman’s praise dance ministry, Movements of Praise, Chelsi was blessed with many opportunities to perform, choreograph, and teach dance classes outside of the university setting. Such opportunities include a position as lead choreographer for MTV’s Wild N’ Out cast member, Mope Williams, and a teaching position at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center. 

Chelsi Lester wholeheartedly believes in remaining a student, even in spaces where she is titled the lead instructor. While fulfilling the duties of a leader, she simultaneously and humbly positions herself to learn from others in whichever space she encompasses, understanding that grand visions are not intended to be executed alone.

Chris McCord

Chris McCord first saw Moving in the Spirit perform over twenty years ago, when he was twelve years old. He was so inspired that he called Artistic Director Dana Lupton every week to make sure he didn’t miss auditions for the following year. After touring nationally and internationally with Moving in the Spirit, Chris graduated from Lakeside High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from Georgia State University and a Georgia Peace Officer certification from the DeKalb County Police Department.

He later returned to Moving in the Spirit to found and direct our Summer Camp and Men in Motion programs. Chris is a graduate of the Devos Urban Leadership Initiative. He won the WB Unsung Hero Award in 2005 and Moving in the Spirit’s first Alumni Award in 2007.

In addition to his work with Men in Motion, Chris has personally performed for the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, Studio Dionne, Abundant Life Church, and with choreographer Nicole Livieratos.  He has also presented as a guest for the dance program at the University of Georgia in Athens.

Chris is an active member and leader in the South Atlanta community and serves as the Treasurer of the South Atlanta Community Association.   In addition, Chris volunteers his personal time with Charis Community Housing, Adopt-a-Grandparent, and the holiday party for Atlanta’s Special Citizens. Chris’ story has been featured in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Dance Studio Life magazine.

Gabriela Ramos

A child immigrant from Cuba, Gabriela Ramos started training in ballet when she was eight years old and later studied improvisation and contemporary dance with teaching artists from Mia Michaels’ program at New World School of the Arts. She received a scholarship in New York City from Wade Robson and continued to dance throughout her undergraduate college years at Florida State University, where she majored in psychology. In 2015, Gaby relocated to Los Angeles to pursue a professional dancer career and continue her education in psychology. During her time in LA, she became a dance teacher for an all-girls Catholic high school where she introduced inner city youth to different styles of dance. She also toured to over 27 cities in the U.S and South America with a Latin Grammy Award-winning artist, and received her master’s degree in clinical psychology with a specialization in marriage and family therapy. Currently, Gaby is pursuing her doctorate degree and writing her thesis with a focus on Highly Sensitive Persons. She is a firm believer that movement heals and holds her passion for dance close to her heart.

Chris Shepard

Chris “Twix” Shepard is a graduate of the University of Central Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance performance. A dynamic and engaging dancer, Chris performed in children’s theatre for over 18 years with Rhythmically Speaking in St. Paul, Minnesota. Chris danced in Oklahoma City’s  R.A.C.E. Dance Collective for ten years and served as the company’s community engagement director for five years. Other affiliations include: O’City Crew, Oklahoma City Thunder’s dance team; Generation Why, a nonprofit organization centered around bullying and mental health; Sparklahoma, a sound painting group; and dance crew Band of Misfits

In addition to dance, Chris loves to act and sing. Notable credits include Pollard Theatre’s productions of In the Heights, Shrek The Musical, The Color Purple, Hairspray, Fences, and Bring it On, as well as Lyric Theatre’s production of A Christmas Carol.