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




Montserrat Olmos | Traditional Mexican Dance

Montse was born in Mexico City in 1991. Her ancestors are Totonaca (Tutunaku) and she grew up in Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas, Mexico. She is a ceremonial dancer with Tonalxochitl, a community of Indigenous people from Mexico committed to preserving ancient traditions and ways of life and also plays percussion with Tepeyolohtli, an ensemble of musicians dedicated to rescuing and evolving Son de Tarima, the Afro-Indigenous music and dance native to the state of Guerrero. In her residencies, Montse explores social justice and environmental issues through the lens of Indigenous Mexican culture and philosophy; the genres she teaches are Son Jarocho, Son de TarimaandDanza Mexika. 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




Tatyana Popova | Flamenco, Bharatanatyam

Tatyana Popova holds BAs from three different universities of dance, each in its country of its origin. Specifically, she is trained in Bharatanatyam, a classical Indian dance, and Flamenco, the dance of Spain. She choreographed, produced, and toured with theatrical dance production “Journey across the Globe” in Spain and her show “Gypsies,” named by Time Out as a top pick in May 2017.




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



Grace Galu Kalambay | Songwriter, Poet, Performer, Composer

Grace Galu is a vocalist, actor, and composer who combines the sounds of her Irish and Congolese heritage with a soulful and gritty twist. Her composition, “Ordinary Sentiment” was featured in the Ed Burns film, Purple Violets and premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. She now works with Trusty Sidekick Theater devising new works and is a core member of the band Soul Inscribed, who have twice been selected as cultural ambassadors for the American Music Abroad program. 


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

Trina Basu Ramamurthy | Violinist & Performer

Trina Basu Ramamurthy is an improvisor and educator living in Brooklyn, NY. Originally from Miami, Her unconventional path as a violinist is largely influenced by her South Asian and North American roots, identity as a mixed-race woman and her experiences working with creative musicians across multiple genres and disciplines. She finds some of her greatest inspiration in the infinite and tiny beauties of nature and this place we call home.





Amira S. El-Behiri | Poet

Amira El-Behiri is a researcher by day, writer by night. She is in the process of publishing her first chapbook, “Most Merciful”, where she reconciles her relationship with Islam and her dominating experience in an antonymous progressive environment.




Haleh Liza Gafori | Poet, Vocalist, Translator, Performer

Haleh Liza Gafori is a vocalist, poet, and translator, born in NYC, of Iranian descent. Her poems have been published by Columbia University Press and Rattapallax Press. As a vocalist, she enjoys singing in Persian, English, and Spanish. Haleh is currently completing a manuscript of translations of poems by the Persian mystical poet Rumi. In one of her workshops, she leads participants in an exploration of Persian mysticism through the poetry of Rumi and Hafez. 


Jan-Henry Gray | Poet

Jan-Henry Gray was born in the Philippines, grew up in California, and worked as a chef in San Francisco for more than 12 years. A graduate of San Francisco State University and Columbia College Chicago’s MFA program, he received the inaugural Undocupoets Fellowship and awards from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation and the Academy of American Poets. Jan is a Kundiman fellow and teaches writing and poetry workshops. 



Sergio Jimenez | Poet & Performer

Sergio Jimenez is a poet, performer, visual artist and has been a teaching artist for Urban Word NYC, Cooper Union, Project X, The Harlem Bomb Shelter, and a variety of public and private schools across the country. Sergio continues to teach and perform across the city while hosting his weekly open mic “The StageBox.” 





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 can have.  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




Mauricio Alexander | Theater & Film

Mauricio Alexander is a first generation immigrant artist of Latin American and East European roots. A graduate of Oberlin College and the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts, Mauricio has directed and performed under SAG-AFTRA contracts in film, television, commercial, voice over, cable and new media, and on Actors’ Equity stages in over 40 states. He has served various bilingual communities in New York City as a teaching artist in film, theatre, music production, rap and spoken word. A member of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers and the Brooklyn Arts Council, Mauricio is a resident producing and teaching artist at The Schermerhorn in downtown, Brooklyn. MORE


Katelyn Atanasio | Theater Artist & Comedian

Katelyn Atanasio is a theatre artist, comedian and educator who focuses on physical theater, masks and storytelling. She has taught workshops in devising, commedia dell’arte, clown, Lecoq and movement both in New York City and abroad. She works as an actress in theater, voiceover and film and is a founding member of the American Lore Theater. She is primarily interested in devised performance that explores the intersection of myth and ritual within the framework of a larger community. 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





DawN Crandell | Dance, Theater Art & Poetry

DawN Crandell is a performing artist that creates within the intersections of theater, dance, and poetry. DawN is the creator of Mixed Movement – an improvisational dance event that brings different dance communities together. She is also the co-founder of Creative Traffic Flow, a theater collective that is committed to creating ensemble-driven performances led by queer people of color and women. DawN has performed in several NYC venues over the past twenty years, including Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors, Central Park Summerstage, The legendary Blue Note, La Mama Theater, Nuyorican Poets Cafe, and the Bowery Poetry Club, to name a few. Dawn views arts education as essential to her artistic practice and has worked as a teaching artist for the past twenty years, leading and performing in workshops nationally and internationally. 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

Alan Calpe | Video & Performance

Alan Calpe is a visual artist that works primarily in video and performance living in NYC. His performance work has been featured at the New Museum, The Kitchen, Danspace Projects, and the Abrons Art Center. His work with the collaborative project, Cloud Seeding, included performances at The Wexner Center, McKinney Art Contemporary, VCU, and RISD, receiving a Franklin Furnace Grant for Performance Art. 


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




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




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





Mei Kazama | Multimedia Artist

Mei Kazama is a multimedia artist.  Her work combines drawing, sculpture, video, photo and installation. Influenced by her Japanese and American backgrounds, her practice investigates themes including: object and body, alternative spaces of belonging, and new modes of relationality. She graduated from Williams College with and a B.A. in Studio Art. Mai’s work has been shown in both the U.S. and Japan.  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


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