Our festival offers some of the best professional tap dancers in the industry!
Classes will be capped to ensure a quality learning environment.
Don't miss out on having the opportunity of taking classes from these leading teachers, artists and performers in the tap industry!
Below is last year's faculty.
New York, NY
Charles Renato was born and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil. At 14 he began teaching tap dance that lead to him win awards all over Brazil. He has won awards for Best Dancer at the Joinville Dance Festival and the TV Globo challenge show (2009 & 2010).
In 2008 Charles joined the cast of "Sinatra Blue Eyes" the musical in Lisbon, Portugal. Renato was also a member of the "KS Tap Company. Charles spends his free time giving workshops and choreographing for many tap companies throughout the US and the world. He was invited to teach at the Dubrovnik Tap Fest (Croatia), DC Tap Fest, Tap City in NY, Chicago Human Rhythm Project, Odessa Tap Fest (Ukraine), Portland Tap Festival and many others. After he moved to NYC Mr. Renato has been working with Apt 33 directed by Chloe Arnold and performed with Michelle Dorrance and Dorrance Dance. He’s part of the faculty at Broadway Dance Center and Steps On Broadway. At the moment Charles is Artist Resident at American Tap Dance Foundation.
Los Angeles, CA
Joseph C. Wiggan, native of Los Angeles, began tap dance with Paul and Arlene Kennedy. Joseph is a 2003 Music Center Spotlight Award recipient, 2004 Presidential Scholar in the Arts, and 2005 Princess Grace Award recipient for outstanding artistic achievement. Joseph performed in the american tour of Riverdance, Imagine Tap! choreographed by Derick K. Grant, and in the european tour of À la Recherche de Joséphine. Joseph made his broadway debut in George C. Wolfe's Shuffle Along at the Music Box Theater. Other credits include Cirque du Soleil's Banana Shpeel, Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour, N.Y.C.C. Encores!: The New Yorkers, and This Joint is Jumpin' at The Other Palace. As a teacher he has shared his artistry with people in Sweden, Japan, France, Guatemala, and Taiwan to name a few. Joseph has been a cultural exchange performer in Cuba, Peru, and Russia. Also, a featured guest in concert with Orlando Poleo, Roy Hargrove, Marcus Strickland, and Wynton Marsalis, Joseph works as a member of The Double J's, a tap duo act with his older sister Josette. The Double J's performed in Frankie 100 at The Apollo, Tap Ellington at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Appel Room, in Tireless: A Tap Dance Experience at Jacob's Pillow, and Dorrance Dance's The Blues Project at Vail Dance Festival.
Jumaane Taylor, a Chicago native, has been tap dancing since the age of 7 at the Sammy Dyer School of the Theatre. He made his professional debut in 2001 with the tap company M.A.D.D. Rhythms, and has had the opportunity to perform and study with Bril Barrett, Idella Reed Davis, Jimmy Payne Jr., Martin Dumas III and George Patterson III. Jumaane has been part of the ensemble in Imagine Tap! (directed and choreographed by Derick Grant); Tap Into Peace (directed and choreographed by Sarah Savelli and Ayodele Casel); and Rasta Thomas' Tap Stars, that performed in Hamburg, Germany. In 2014, Jumaane created Supreme Love—a tap dance production honoring John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme and the art of tap—which premiered at jazz music and dance festivals including Jacob's Pillow in 2017. In 2018 he established Heel and Toe Productions, presenting The Jazz Hoofing Quartet and alternative tap performances, showcasing exercised improvisation to continue an expressive exploration of live jazz music with respect for its culture. Jumaane has received the Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist Award, and has performed his work for the Museum of Contemporary Art, Jazz Institute of Chicago, and abroad. He teaches in the Hubbard Street Youth Dance Program, Ruth Page Center for the Arts, Sammy Dyer School of the Theatre and the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.
Star Dixon is an assistant director, choreographer, and original principal dancer of world renowned tap company, MADD Rhythms. She has taught and performed at the most distinguished tap festivals in the country including The L.A. Tap Fest, DC Tap Fest, RIFF Dallas, Chicago Human Rhythm Project's Rhythm World, and MADD Rhythms own Chicago Tap Summit. She’s taught and performed internationally in Poland, Japan, and Brazil to name a few countries. She's been featured in Dance Spirit Magazine twice (Artist on the rise & Speed Demon), The Chicago Reader, & independent film "The Rise & Fall of Miss Thang" starring Dormeshia Sumbry Edwards. Outside of MADD Rhythms, she's performed as a guest with such companies as Michelle Dorrance's Dorrance Dance, Chloe Arnold's Syncopated Ladies, Lane Alexander's Bam, and Jason Samuel Smith's ACGI. Most recently, she performed as apart of Savion Glover’s All Funk’d Up. Star is currently on staff at numerous dance studios, schools, and a teen arts program called After School Matters.
Orange County, CA
Leah Silva is a sought out International Dance Adjudicator and Instructor, Award-Winning Choreographer, Artistic Director, Producer and Critically Acclaimed Performer. Leah is well known for her enthusiastic and technique driven teaching style as well as for her expressive, impactful and dynamic choreography. Featured in various publications such as Dance Teacher Magazine, some of Leah’s credits and accomplishments include choreographing for the EMMY Awards Governors Balls, performances for Mattel Toys, vocal and dance performances for American Idol top finalists, was the featured pre-show entertainment for Broadway’s hit touring show- 42ND Street, choreography for Nestle international dance campaigns, appearances on national television shows, international performances with Tap Music Project and was the Choreographer and Artistic Director of Encore Tap Company and Reverb Tap Company.
Leah’s hit and award-winning choreography has also been featured across the U.S. at acclaimed film festivals, prestigious venues, dance concerts, and events such as the acclaimed Newport Beach Film Festival (2018 Official Selection), AT&T Performing Arts Center in Dallas, TX, University of D.C., Tempe Center for the Arts Theater, Weinberg Center for the Arts and at the Barclay Theater to name a few.
Ricci Milan attended Larkin Dance Studio for 12 years. He than did the "New York Thing" for a year. In that time he performed tap dance for Mya, PBS, botmisfas, and on subway platforms. He also taught competion kids in New Jersey and joined up with some guys to create the original cast of "Break the Floor". He than did the "L.A. Thing" for 9 months where he street performed with 10 foot 5 to pay the bills while he was coming up short at 100's of industry auditions. Ricci fell out of love with LA. So he drove to South Carolina. After a year at a family theater in Myrtle Beach (Gaylord Productions) and a year in Tokyo (Tokyo Disney Sea) he moved home to Minneapolis. He rejoined with "10 foot 5" and they recharged and rebranded with the 2004 debut of the internationally acclaimed "Buckets and Tap Shoes" In 2008 he turned his focus to the creation of a passion project titled, "Rhythmic Circus" in that same year he started his career as a dance competition choreographer, began hosting events for Hall of Fame dance Challenge, and met a girl named Brittany. Rhythmic Circus has toured the world and released its second successful touring production Red and Green. Ricci's competition pieces are winning high scores awards around the country. Hall of Fame Dance Challange is one of the most well respected company's in the industry and He and Brittany are married with a baby boy named Leonardo!
Tré is a tap dancer, choreographer and actor, from Chicago, IL. He received most of his early dance training and his first teaching experience at Tommy Sutton's Mayfair Academy of fine Arts on Chicago's south side. He's a graduate of Clark Atlanta University holding a B.A. in Mass Media Arts with a concentration in Speech and Theatre Arts. Since 1995 he's taught and performed regularly at various festivals including CHRP's Rhythm World, the L.A. Tap Fest, the St. Louis Tap Festival, Third Coast Rhythm Project, Chicago Tap Summit (which he co-founded), North Carolina Rhythm Tap Festival and the Vancouver International Tap Dance Festival among others. Tré was featured in the North American and European tours of "Riverdance" for over 3 years. In 2001 Mr. Dumas partnered with Bril Barrett to create M.A.D.D Rhythms, and the M.A.D.D. Rhythms Tap Academy. He portrayed a fiery tap dancing preacher in the vignette "Dance Like David" in director/choreographer Derick Grant's "Imagine Tap", and co-starred w/Dormeshia Sumbry Edwards in the critically acclaimed independent film "The Rise and Fall of Miss Thang". He was also seen on the only aired episode of Secret Talents of the Stars dancing with R&B songstress and tap dancer, Mya. He's worked with Jason Samuels Smith's ACGI. And he created Chicago's most musical professional tap ensemble, Jus'LisTeN, featuring Nico Rubio and Jessica Chapuis. Most recently he was featured dancing and singing in Night Cap at Vancouver, BC, Canada's Fox Cabaret w/Joel Hanna & Danny Neilsen. He's taught and performed throughout the U.S., Canada and Germany as well as other parts of Europe, South America and Asia. Aside from his beautiful daughter, Lauren, his greatest joy lies in tap dancing and sharing his love and knowledge of tap dancing with others and receiving the same in return.
Born and raised in Central Florida, Sydney has been dancing for over 15 years. Nurtured as a tap dancer by her mentor Danny Wallace, Sydney trains closely with artists Michelle Dorrance, Sarah Reich, Derick Grant, Anthony Morigerato, Max Pollak, and more. At age 12, Sydney traveled throughout the U.S. and Canada in the National Broadway Tour of Billy Elliot. She has appeared in publications such as Dance Magazine, Dance Teacher Magazine, the New York Times, and was recognized as one of “Tap’s Next Generation” in Dance Spirit Magazine. Most recently, she was featured on the cover of Dance Spirit Magazine as the 2018 Cover Model Search Winner. Sydney has performed solo choreography by Michelle Dorrance in Tap City’s “Tap Future”, performed in works by Derick Grant in the American Tap Dance Foundation’s “Rhythm in Motion”, and performed a duet with Max Pollak in Riff Dallas’ “Tapn2tap” faculty show. Sydney is a 2017 YoungArts Silver award winner in tap dance, a 2018 Presidential Scholar in the Arts semi-finalist, an alumni of the Jacob’s Pillow Tap Program, and co-founds the Orlando Tap Festival with Marshall Ellis. Sydney is an HDTP company member and she has been invited to teach and perform at tap festivals including Riff Dallas, The SoFlo Tap fest, and more. She enjoys mentoring young dancers as well as teaching and choreographing for studios throughout the country. Sydney is working towards her BFA in Commercial Dance at Pace University, NYC and is part of the Pforzheimers Honors College.
Josh Nixon began dancing at the Centreville Dance Academy in Virginia. As a well-rounded student of dance, Josh trained in ballet, lyrical, jazz. Mr. Nixon’s professional choice was the art of Tap Dance, encouraged by his trainers Pam McCormick and Heidi Stafford. Josh joined MYTE (Metropolitan Youth Tap Ensemble), a semi-professional company, based in Virginia under the direction of Katie Padgett and Jason Holley where he was exposed to performing opportunities throughout Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC. Performing live, Corporate events and television commercial choreographic works, by Broadway veteran Joseph Webb and Crishon Jerome.
Mr. Nixon has become a well-respected Tap Dance performer and instructor, with the privilege of participating in shows, residencies, workshops and festivals in over 30 states in America and 20 countries throughout the world. His professional career evolved to also afford him the opportunity to serve as the Assistant to Joseph Webb, the Artistic Director of the House of Tap youth company for 2 years. His continually evolving career has brought him to be seen in Dance Teacher and Dance Magazine features, as well as production and performance opportunities alongside his mentors Chloe and Maud Arnold, Derick Grant, and Ted Louis Levy. Josh is a proud member of Chloe Arnold's Apartment 33, Ryan Johnson's SOLE Defined and Heidi Stafford's Sundays on Tap, and has been a repeat-guest performer of Tap New Generation based in Brazil. Josh has been seen most recently performing at the Root 100 Awards, Lincoln Center, The Smithsonian Institution, and on the Hapag and Lloyd cruise ship, MS Europa 2.
When not traveling, pursuing his Bachelor’s Degrees from Arizona State University, Josh passes on his love, respect and knowledge for tap dance as a guest instructor at Universities and throughout the DC/Metro Area.
Sauk Rapids, MN
Ashley Gonzalez was born and raised in Central Minnesota. She began training under the direction of Chloe Arnold and Ricci Milan, growing and exploring in the art form. She has expanded her training by studying under Sarah Reich and Aaron Williams where she has had a strong focus on technique and musicality, while continuing to travel all over the world to learn as much as she can from professionals with various different styles. Ashley has a passion for rhythm and learning, she teaches, performs and does choreography. Ashley has danced many styles of dance for 13 years. She was a member of Chloe and Maud Arnold’s No Filter Sole Talk youth tap company, American Tap Company, and the Minnesota Dance Ensemble. Ashley performed at the 2018 Governors Ball Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, the 2018 MLBA All Star Pre Party Concert in Washington DC, and was a special guest performer in who brought the HUMBUG Christmas production in Minneapolis, produced by Ricci Milan. Ashley performed at the Voices of the People Welcome Celebration for the 2017 Presidential Inauguration. She performed in the Disney Newsies Broadway Musical at the University of Northwestern. In addition to this, Ashley has performed and competed internationally, receiving a bronze medal for her tap solo at the IDO World Performing Arts Cup in Seoul, South Korea. She also received a bronze medal at Dance World Cup Championships in Offenburg, Germany for a tap duet. Along with her tap education, training, and performing, Ashley was chosen to represent the state of Minnesota as a tap dancer in the book Dance Across the USA by Jonathon Givens.