Body Rhythm Dance Theatre













Shirley Ann Bryant (Artistic Director) a native Detroiter, who graduated from Detroit Northern High School, BA in Computer Science from Marygrove College. Shirley was introduced to modern dance at the age of 10. Training includes Modern, Jazz, African and Dunham dance techniques locally and out of state. She studied under local artist Jacqueline Hillsman, BaBa Ali Abdullah, MaMa Fabio Manzira, Carole Morisseau, Jeri Sterrett, Greg Curry and Crystal White-Cade. She has performed in plays and festivals throughout the Detroit Metropolitan area.  Her dance experience includes:  Afro-Dance Workshop (1979-1982), Experimental Movement (1980-1982) artistic director Jacquelyn Hillsman, International African Cultural Arts Exchange Center (1991-1994) artistic director Ali Abdullah, Detroit City Dance Company (1995 - 1996) artistic director Carole Morisseau and Jazz & Spirit Dance Theatre of Detroit (1997-1998, 2002) artistic director Jeri Sterrett. She has worked as an IT   Specialist since 1987.  Co-Owner of ‘Body Rhythm Aerobics’ in Detroit Michigan and Founder of ‘Body Rhythm Dance Theatre’. Creator of Detroit's musical, Black Bottom's Paradise a Musical.

Debra Cherveny. (Ballet Instructor) began her classical ballet training at the Taynton School and Center for Creative Studies in Detroit Michigan with Madame Mao and Joanne Dantol. Her studies continued with scholarships at the Dance Theatre of Harlem professional Ballet School in New York City. She then earned her BFA/Dance Performances Degree at Margrove College. Ms. Chervey  professional credits includes, performances with the Michigan Opera Theatre, Onyx Modern Dance Company and on tour with Aretha Franklin throughout the united States and Canada, including the Radio City Music Hall and Carnegie Hall in New York City. Debra serves has a ballet instructor at Body Rhythm Dance Theatre, DMX Dance Center and Fem Fatale. She is also adjunct faculty for Margrove  College undergrad dance department. She has taught ballet throughout her community for several years. She enjoys introducing kids to ballet. Taking the classical form and applying it to the urban experience has been her life mission for teaching ballet. 

Ta’Rajee Omar (Teacher, Choreographer, Dancer), born in Detroit, Michigan, started her dance training at the age of seven at Wendy’s School of Dance (Wendy Morris) in Detroit, Michigan in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Hip Hop, African, and Modern, then continued her training at Fem Fatale Dance Studio (Rita Mosley) in Oak Park, Michigan. After graduating high school, she decided to continue her dance training at Wayne State University. During her time at Wayne State University she performed in the faculty works of Meg Paul, Jeff Rebudal. Proceeding her training at Wayne State, she has had the privilege of working with talented artist such as; Janis Brenner, Nathan Trice, Wanjiru  Kamayu., Jennifer Archibald (ArchCore40), Ronald K. Brown, Francesca Harper, Jawole Zollar. She has worked with visual artists Sameer Redy, Indigo Artists Collective, and Nick Cave, and collaborates with Brooklyn based dance company Brother(hood) Dance. A model in New York Designer Rachel Comey New York City Fashion Week (2015), and was featured on the Vogue website  and a recipient of the Moving Beauty Series December 2017 Commission.

Christopher Woolfolk
(Teacher, Choreographer, Dancer)has a Bachelors of Science in Dance Education and Business from Wayne State University (WSU). He has been training professionally for two years. His passion for dance has given him strength to accelerate and achieve a great deal in this short time, which has allowed him to perform in numerous repertories and companies. Christopher has performed in the WSU Company One (2010), which included a piece set by Christopher Huggins. He had an opportunity to share the stage with Marlene’s Ballet Company in South America. He recently attended Deeply Rooted Dance Theatre intensive in Chicago, IL, and Complexions Contemporary Ballet intensive in Detroit.  Christopher believes dance to be a transforming art form of expression. He uses this art form to educate, teach hip hop at local schools and liturgical praise dance at Lomax Temple A.M.E. Zion Church.  He has training in Ballet, Modern, Hip Hop and African. 


Kiarra Ambrose (Dancer) is a Detroit native who graduated from Renaissance High School.  Upon graduation, she attended Eastern Michigan University, where she received a Bachelor of Science for Secondary Education with a concentration in Mathematics and Language, Literature and Writing. She also holds a Masters in Educational Leadership from Grand Valley State University.  As a child, she danced at Artistry in Motion Dance School and later at Renaissance High School as a part of Dance Workshop under the direction of Gina Ellis. Once she graduated from high school, she continued pursuing her love for dance by joining Diversion Dance Troupe at Eastern Michigan University.    She joined Body Rhythm Dance Company in 2012.

Terrie Murphy-Daniels (Dancer) is a Detroit native with a BS in psychology and a MS in Human Services.  Her love for dance began as a toddler, she was first introduced to African Dance in Kalamazoo, while she was a mentor with Ujima, an African- Centered after school program.  She is honored to have learned West African Dance from a number of Master Dancers and Dance Companies in Detroit, Lansing, Ohio, and Washington including Baba Ali Abdullah, Black Folk Arts, founded and directed by Mama Khamba Martin; KanKouran West African Dance Company, founded and directed by Baba Assane Konte; and Mama Fabio Manzira.   Terri has danced with Shirley  Bryant since 2001 and joined Body Rhythm Dance Theatre in 2006. 

Phina Ross (Dancer) born and raised in Detroit, MI., with an industrious attitude and thirst for success. Channeling these traits toward education, she earned a Bachelor in Sociology from The University of Michigan and a Masters in Social Work from Wayne State University. She gets most of her fulfillment through community outreach, both through her work as a Clinical Social Worker and her membership in Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated. Phina joined Body Rhythm Dance Company in 2006. 

Erica (Johnson) Barham (Dancer), a Detroit Native, graduated from Renaissance High School. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Accounting from Michigan State University and a Master of Science degree in Accounting from Wayne State University. Currently, she has a career as a Senior Financial Analyst. Erica began dancing at the age of 4 after being inspired by her older brother, Edward Johnson. She attended several dance studios including Toni’s School of Dance, Mr. Tatum’s School of Ballet, and MBS Training Center practicing ballet, tap, jazz, Pointe, and gymnastics. Gina Ellis introduced her to the world of modern dance, teaching techniques such as Dunham and Graham. While at Renaissance High, she participated in both Dance Workshop and the Varsity Cheer team for four years. Under Gina Ellis’ instruction, Erica had the honor of performing pieces by several talented choreographers such as Ray Mercer, William McClelland, Judith Molina, Edward Franklin, Christopher Huggins, Shelika Tate, and Brittany Ward. While at Michigan State, Erica joined Urban Dreams dance team which represented both hip-hop and modern dance. In 2008, Erica joined Body Rhythm Dance Theatre under the direction of Shirley Bryant, where she continued her training in modern dance and expanded her repertoire to include African dance.

Brooklyn Lashae Parks (Dancer) is a performing artist from Detroit, Michigan. Brooklyn has been dancing and singing for 8 years. She is a graduate of Cass Technical High School and is currently a second year BFA dance major at Wayne State University. Brooklyn really enjoys singing! This is Brooklyn’s first season with Body Rhythm, as she looks forward to more.

Olivia Alise Bryant (Dancer) is a senior at Southfield A&T High School, she started dancing at the age of 3.  She trains at Body Rhythm Dance Theatre a local studio in Southfield Michigan.  Her dance training consist of Ballet, Modern, Jazz,  Contemporary, Tap, African, Hip Hop and Lester Horton technique. She has participated in summer intensive with Dance Theater of Harlem, Complexions Contemporary Ballet and Debbie Allen Dance Academy.  This is Olivia's first season with Body Rhythm Dance Theatre Company.


Aleia Williams (African Instructor, choreographer, Dancer)

A’leia Williams has been dancing for 20 years. She was introduced to and trained in African dance at an early age by her Grandmother,
Fabayo  Manzira.At two years old, she began attending dance classes and rehearsals with her grandmother, where she danced on the sidelines. She officially became a member of Thiosane Performing Arts Company, a Detroit children’s drum and dance company, at the age of four.  As a company member, A’leia learned and performed traditional drum rhythms, dances, and songs from West Africa.  She travelled and performed throughout Michigan, exciting audiences everywhere. A’leia became a principal dancer and dance assist in the company.  A’leia did a summer intensive with Heritage Works where she continued to study  African dance along with jazz and hip hop. She performed around Detroit with the group.  A’leia travelled throughout the United States studying dance with such renowned teachers such as Marie Basse,Assane Konte, Idy Cisse, and Amaniyea Payne.  In additional to African dance, A’leia also studied hip hop.  

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