Teaching Artists

We work with a cadre of seasoned teaching artists who are committed to both youth and their own artistic career. We are unique amongst New York City’s many excellent arts education programs in that we specialize in placing traditional and folk artists in schools to share their expertise with students and teachers. We also collaborate with contemporary artists and a host of guest artists whose own artwork explores the themes of community, identity, and history.

We offer artist residencies in these disciplines: dance, music, poetry, theater, visual arts including folk and traditional arts.


Goussy Cèlestin | Haitian Folk Dance & Jazz

Goussy Cèlestin is a pianist, composer, vocalist, dancer and arranger whose mission is to incorporate elements of Haitian folklore and Jazz into her practice.  She is the recipient of several awards that acknowledge the intersectional nature of her work and is also a faculty member for the Middle School Jazz Academy and WeBop programs at Jazz at Lincoln Center. MORE


Yasser Darwish | Egyptian Dance

Marouk-Coe-DougYasser Darwish is a performer and teacher of Egyptian folkloric dance and has been teaching residencies and workshops in NYC schools since 2008.  MORE




Ken Fury | Hip-hop Dance & Jewelry Making

Kenneth “Ken Fury” Marez Jris a multi-talented artist whose vision shines through in: music, dance, painting, jewelry design, photography and filmmaking. Ken came to New York in 2005 to join the hip-hop theater company, Full Circle Productions.  He has performed on the streets of NYC whilst studying with the legendary “NYC Float Committee” and has won 30 of the world’s top Breaking competitions with his crew, Supreme Beingz.  Ken has performed at several prestigious venues, including: Madison Square Garden and the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. and shares his art in the hopes that it might serve as a tool of self-expression and freedom to those it reaches. MORE

Chia-Ying Kao | Chinese Folk & Modern Dance

Chia-Ying Kao is an NYC-based dance artist who founded Chia-Ying Kao Dance and has been teaching modern dance, Chinese folk dance, composition, and improvisation internationally since 2004. MORE

Romanee Kalicharran | Indo-Caribbean & Latino Dance

Romanee Kalicharran, who is of Puerto Rican and Indo-Guyanese descent, specializes in classical Indian dance such as kathak and Puerto Rican bomba music and dance traditions.  She is also the founder/director of Romanee & Co, dedicated to teaching dance choreography and intercultural studies and promoting cultural appreciation. Romanee has worked as a dance educator with numerous arts organizations, universities, and public and private schools.  MORE


Dionne Kamara | Afro-Jamaican Kumina Dance

Dionne Kamara started learning traditional Kumina dance as a little girl in Jamaica under the guidance of her great-grandmother.  Dionne is a member of the world-renowned dance company, Urban Bush Women, with whom she has toured nationally and internationally. Dionne conducts professional development workshops for teachers in Brain Compatible Dance Education throughout the United States and in Europe and also teaches at the Summer Dance Institute for teachers in Seattle, WA. Dionne has been a teaching artist in NYC public schools for 19 years. MORE

Yahaya Kamate | West African Dane

A native of the Ivory Coast, Yahaya Kamate has been teaching West African dance in the U.S. since the 1990s.  He is a former member of the National Ballet of the Ivory Coast and versed in traditional dances from over 60 Ivorian ethnic communities and other dance traditions throughout the region.  Yahaya also heads Kamate Traders, an Ivorian dance ensemble that has performed nationally and internationally. MORE

Cecilia Ortega | Mexican Folk Dance

Marouk-Coe-DougCecilia Ortega is a dancer, choreographer, community leader and activist who teaches social studies through Mexican music and dance in NYC public schools. MORE

Charlene “Chi-Chi” Smith | Hip-Hop Dance

Chi-Chi Smith is a dancer and performer whose teaching specialties include hip-hop foundations and dance hall.  Chi-Chi is also an adjunct professor at PACE and Rider Universities and is a faculty member of the Apollo Theater Education Program. MORE

Malini Srinivasan | Indian Bharatanatyam Dance

Marouk-Coe-DougMalini Srinivasan is a third-generation Bharatanatyam dancer and disciple of disciple of the master, Sri C.V. Chandrasekhar in Chennai.  Malini has been offering instruction in the technique and hand gestures of Bharatanatyam as a teaching artist since 2004. MORE


Guillermo Guerrero | Andean Music

Guillermo Guerrero is a musician whose practice is committed to the performance of traditional Peruvian music.  Guillermo has been teaching Andean music performance and instrument-making for over 30 years in New York City public schools.  MORE

Juan Gutierrez | Puerto Rican Bomba y Plena

Juan “Juango” Gutiérrez is a percussionist and arranger who founded the musical ensemble Los Pleneros de la 21 (LP21) and has been teaching the Afro-Puerto Rican music traditions of bomba and plena in New York City public schools since the 1980s. MORE

Julia Gutiérrez-Rivera | Puerto Rican Bomba y Plena


Julia Guitérrez-Rivera has been a teaching artist of Puerto Rican bomba y plena for the past 15 years.  Within her teaching, Julia focuses on the rich history, vocabulary and dance techniques of bomba and plena. MORE

Hector Morales | Afro-Peruvian Percussion & Latin Jazz

Hector Morales is a Peruvian drummer and percussionist versed in the musical traditions of Afro-Peruvian, Jazz, and Latin Music.  He leads the Afro-Peruvian band Afrodita, has performed across the U.S. and internationally and is a published author.  Hector has been teaching in NYC schools since 2003.  MORE

Baba Israel | Hip-Hop Artist, Poet, Performer, Producer

Baba Israel is a Hip Hop artist, poet, performance maker, producer, educator, and consultant. In addition to being Artistic Director and CEO of Contact Theatre in Manchester, Baba has worked abroad as a cultural ambassador through the U.S. State Department in South East Asia, Russia, Taiwan, Mauritius, The South Pacific, West Africa, and Turkey. Baba is a long time educator who has taught beatboxing, emceeing, spoken word, improvisational theater, directing and music production across all ages with organizations such as BAM, Urban World, Arts Horizons and Colab. MORE


James Loop | Poet & Performer

James Loop is a poet, performer and educator who engages the themes of monstrosity, myth and divinity as channels to explore the potential effects that an artist’s social role and labour.  MORE


Purvi Shah | Poet & Performer

Purvi has created several short films and published poetry collections and chapbooks that navigate themes of migration and belonging, which she aims to bring into dialogue with her students.  MORE



Kate Bell | Theater Artist, Writer & Singer/Songwriter

Kate Bell is a theater artist, writer and performer whose plays have been produced in several theaters and academic institutions within and without of NYC.  She has been a teaching artist in New York City since 2004.  MORE

Nate Speare | Theater Artist, Story Teller, Researcher

Nate Speare is an interdisciplinary theatre artist who focuses on the realms of astrology, folklore, Buddhism, and sound.  As a teaching artist, Speare has worked with Marquis Studios, Urban Arts Partnership and Storyeon at ARAS (Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism). His teaching focuses on storytelling through the lens of performance and rites of passage and has included leading storytelling circles with men of various ages at Rikers Island. MORE

Lu Yu | Dance Theater

Marouk-Coe-DougLu Yu is a dance theater artist who is trained in both ballet and classical Chinese dance.  He is also a professional film actor and has worked with renowned directors like Woody Allen. Lu has been working as a teaching artist in NYC public schools for over 30 years.  MORE

George Zavala | Theater & Installation Art

Marouk-Coe-DougGeorge Zavala is a theater artist, visual artist and educator.  He was co-founder and director of PAX Theater Company, a youth theater program, and has continued to work as a theater consultant for youth theater programs throughout NYC.  George’s visual artwork and installations have been shown at galleries in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Puerto Rico.  MORE

Visual Arts

Howard Better | Film & Collage-making

Howard Better is a filmmaker and mixed media collage artist who has taught video and animation courses as well as 3D computer animation at the college level.  Howard has collaged objects such as:  cans, book covers, globes, skulls, and metal disks. He also uses the approach of collage and overlap in his films to create a “stream of consciousness” experience for the viewer. MORE

Haifa Bint-Kadi | Mosaic & Mixed Media

Haifa Bint-Kadi is a first-generation Arab-American who has been designing and fabricating public art through a community-engagement framework since 1993.  She works in several types of visual arts, including mosaic, book-making, steel sculpture, and print-making.  Haifa has been working with City Lore since 2004.  MORE


Donna Maria de Creeft | Mixed-Media Artist

Donna Maria de Creeft works in a variety of media, including hand-crafted books, paper, and textile arts, as well as puppetry and storytelling. Donna Maria has been leading workshops in NYC schools as a teaching artist since 1998.  MORE



Kwok Kay Choey | Chinese Painting, Music, & Tai Chi

Kwok Kay Choey teaches Chinese painting, whilst incorporating Chinese music and the practice of Tai Chi into his pedagogy. Kwok has worked with City Lore for over ten years and has also served as an educator at Queens College and at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. MORE


Karl Orozco | Printmaking & Animation

Karl Orozco is an interdisciplinary artist and educator based in Queens, NY.  He teaches sequential art, printmaking and animation, and uses narrative to challenge assumed notions of race, family, migration and power.  Karl has exhibited and taught throughout New York City, as well as Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Denver, and Albuquerque.  MORE


George Zavala | Theater & Installation Art

Marouk-Coe-DougGeorge Zavala is a theater artist, visual artist and educator.  He was co-founder and director of PAX Theater Company, a youth theater program, and has continued to work as a theater consultant for youth theater programs throughout NYC.  George’s visual artwork and installations have been shown at galleries in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Puerto Rico. MORE



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