Sue Samuels (Teacher, Choreographer, Performer) has
established herself as one of the staples of the
performing arts community of today. With over 45 years
of experience, her expertise is often sought after for
mentoring and coaching purposes by professionals and
aspiring artists alike from around the world. Her students
have included numerous stage, film and tv stars including Melba Moore, Brooke Shields, and Irene Cara. She received the Flo-Bert Award from the NY Committee To Celebrate National Tap Dance Day for her many contributions to both the Jazz and Tap dance community and continues to serve on the Bessie Award Committee (New York Dance and Performance Awards).
Performance and choreographic credits include lead dancer and assistant choreographer in such shows as Got Tu Go Disco at the Minskoff Theater on Broadway, The Johnny Hallyday Show in Paris, The Brazil Export Show in Rio de Janeiro to name a few. Her work has also been commissioned by dance companies worldwide including the Haitian-American Contemporary Dance Theatre and Jeunes Danseurs d’Haiti (the Young Dancers of Haiti). Televised credits include “All My Children”, “Jerry Lewis Telethon”, “Contemporary Women”, “the Arthritis Telethon with Melba Moore”, “Zoom”, and numerous commercials and industrials for Dr. Pepper, 7 Up, Wheat Thins, Head & Shoulders, Adidas, Glaxo, Members Only among others.
Sue Samuels was the co-founder/owner of JoJo’s Dance Factory in New York City for ten years, which later became Broadway Dance Center. Ms. Samuels was also the director of the Jazz Department and founded the Jazz program for Children at the Fort Lauderdale Ballet in Florida, and ran her own Children’s program in Boca Raton for five years. Ms. Samuels was commissioned to teach at New York University in the Cap 21 program with theater majors, as well as Olympic Gymnastic Instructors in Tokyo, Japan. Other teaching credits include The Joffrey School of Ballet Summer Intensive, The Ailey Extension, The annual Los Angeles Tap Festival at Debbie Allen Dance Academy, The Broward Civic Ballet, Frank Hatchett’s Professional Childrens Program, Dance Masters Association, the Haitian-American Academy of Ballet & Arts, the Dance Teachers’ Association of Haiti (L’Association des Professeurs de Danse d’Haiti), Bento de Danza the Brazil International Jazz Dance Congress (Congresso do Jazz Internacional do Brasil), Bento em Danca (Brazil), and Helsinki Tap Festival in Finland. She continues to travel for master classes often held for Teachers & Instructors to improve upon their own knowledge and for that, has influenced over 4 decades of dance worldwide. In turn, groups come in to study her unique
Jazz Style as part of the founding teaching faculty at Broadway Dance Center in NYC (since 1986).
In 2009 she founded Jazz Roots Dance Company, in order to preserve and promote original repertoire from JoJo’s Dance Factory as well as continue to develop her own choreographic voice that is rooted in classic jazz. She also aims to preserve the work of other classic jazz styles and influences by including works in the styles of Luigi, Matt Maddox, Phil Black, Bob Fosse, Jack Cole, Ron Lewis as well as lesser known choreographers who have influenced the field.
The blending of jazz dance with her classical ballet training makes her style unique. This classical jazz style emphasizes strong and proper body alignment and clean technique by teaching a jazz barre warm-up. She accompanies the floor exercises on Conga Drum. Her choreography features the dynamics of musicality and focuses on creating an overall visual picture. The instructional Jazz workout DVD and CD of her Jazz Barre continues to sell out worldwide for over two decades.
Ms. Samuels’ training began with the Broward Civic Ballet in Florida where she performed with the company for six years and became the first soloist. She also studied in New York with the distinguished Madame Swoboda of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Her jazz training includes JoJo Smith, Frank Hatchett and Michael Shawn, as well as tap with Judy Bassing, and voice with William Daniel Grey.
For a complete bio, please visit Sue Samuel's webpage on Divine Rhythm Productions.
Purchase Sue's DVD and CD of jazz barre, floor exercises and isolations at Divine Rhythm Productions
Kelly Carrol (Choreographer) began her dance training in Chicago and spent three years touring internationally with the Lenore Sutton acro-dance company. She came to New York and began a long career as a triple threat performing on Broadway, television, film, night clubs and international concert venues. Kelly choreographed a revival of Jesus Christ Superstar at the Longacre Theater on Broadway, Jazz Age Revisited music video, Rockula music video, The Gaslight Club Speakeasy review, and a special dance segment for As The World Turns. She also created choreography for the lead and back-up singers of musical acts such as Vickie Sue Robinson’s international tour, 70s Disco Revival at Radio City Music Hall, and The Harlettes. Kelly has been lovingly choreographing for Jazz Roots Dance Company since its inception.
Judy Emmett (Choreographer) performed in Night Clubs and production shows throughout the US for 18 years. danced in Las Vegas night club shows at the Sahara Hotel with choreographer Jerry Jackson, the Marina Hotel with choreographer Ron Lewis, and many years at the Flamingo Hilton where she both danced and ice skated. Her early training took place in and around Tampa, Florida. She was a member of the Tampa Civic Ballet and Central Florida Ballet. Judy most recently toured with the Move Free Dancers, promoting Schiff vitamins. She lives in Stamford CT where she taught for 10 years at Classical Kids. She also taught at D’Valda and Sirico Dance Center in Fairfield CT. Judy has been inspired by the dancers of Jazz Roots Dance and is excited to be a part of the creative team for Jazz on the Westside!
Billy Grey (Associate Director, Music Coordinator, Graphic Designer) was the arranger, conductor and featured singer for the Fifth Dimension Show for JoJo’s Dance Factory on Broadway at the Gershwin Theater, the Johnny Hallyday Story in Paris, and on television, a 13-week season of It’s All In Your Head. His musical theater credits include the national tour of the rock opera Tommy and the original Broadway production of Jesus Christ Superstar, and subsequently directed the Broadway revival at the Longacre Theater. Mr. Grey was the lead vocalist and trumpet player in the Widespread Jazz Orchestra writing several originalsongs for the band, including the title cut from their album Swing is the Thing, and performed at major jazz festivals around the world. Mr. Grey was the Art Director and Dance Critic for Dance Pages Magazine for 12 years, and has been working with Jazz Roots Dance Company since its inception.
Bri White graduated from Wichita State University with a BFA in Dance. After graduating she spent two years in Chicago performing in several projects and teaching. When she moved to New York she became one of the founding members of Jazz Roots Dance and is currently the featured soloist, dance captain and rehearsal assistant. Her performance credits include Ballet Wichita, Wichita Contemporary Dance Theatre, Mid-American Dance Theatre and Alithea Mime Theatre.
Laura Stecher started with rhythmic gymnastics on a high competition level in Germany when she was little. At 19 she switched her focus to dance and studied at New York City Dance School in Stuttgart/Germany. Laura won Gold for her Solo Performance at ESDU Austrian Opens and again at ESDU World Dance Masters in Porec/Croatia, where she was awarded as best female talent, best dancer and received the Diamond Star for the highest score in the entire competition. She danced in the Musical Bonifatius and in Die Päpstin as Swing and Dance Captain in Fula, Hameln and Erfurt/Germany. She moved to NYC to study dance at Joffrey Ballet School on scholarship. She danced in music video clips from Basement Batmen as well as at New York Fashion week.
Aubrey Kate Hensley studied at the Rock School and Kansas City Ballet as a recipient of The Kansas Culture Trust, sponsored by the Koch Foundation. Ms. Hensley graduated from Wichita State University with a BFA in Dance, where she performed with Wichita Contemporary Dance Theater and Mid-America Dance Theater. Aubrey toured with Alithea Mime Theatre and performed in the Warsaw International Mime Festival. She also was a Featured Performer with the Crown Uptown Theater and was with Ballet Wichita as a Principal Dancer for six years.
Becky Robles hails from Smithtown, New York, and has over 20 years of dance experience. She graduated from Binghamton University with a degree in Business Management and danced in various campus groups throughout her years in college. During her time at Binghamton, she ran her college kickline team and was also a teacher’s assistant for the college level jazz class taught by professional dancer and Professor Fred Weiss. In addition to her college training, Becky has studied under Ann Mercedes for most her career as well as at Broadway Dance Center and Alvin Ailey Studios. She has performed at concerts for KTU’s Dance Factory Live with Coro and Tymz2 for a BLI Rising Stars concert. She was also the lead dancer for the opera Carmen at the Tri-Cities Opera House. When she is not dancing with Jazz Roots Dance, you can find her teaching jazz at a local studio on
Elena Wood grew up training in Theater Jazz, Ballroom & Musical Comedy at The Walter Schalk School of Dance in Wilton, CT. In 2011, she graduated from Hamilton College with a BA in Chemistry and Dance, where she studied Ballet and Contemporary under the artistic direction of Leslie Norton, Elaine Heekin, and Bruce Walczyk. Aside from dance, Elena works on the Global Skincare Product Development Team at Estée Lauder. Elena has been a member of Jazz Roots Dance since August 2011.
Costanza Deserti is originally from Italy and one of the main reasons why she moved to NYC - where she has spent the past 5 years of her life - was the incredible opportunities in the dance scene the city has to offer. Costanza primarily trained in classical ballet, first in Italy, then Switzerland and subsequently on a scholarship in Germany at the John-Cranko Schule Academy. There she performed in the school ensemble in Prokofiev’s Symphony in D and in the opera Le Nozze di Figaro at the Stuttgarter Staatsoper. Decided to expand her dance repertoire, Costanza ventured into classical jazz style and that’s how her journey into the Sue’s Jazz Roots Dance world started! Her favourite pieces are Rat Pack, because of the glamour and joie de vivre, and Papa was a rolling stone, for its resonating rhythm and sharpness of the steps.
Pablo Ito started his career as a performer in Okinawa, Japan. He came to New York to study Musical Theatre. He has been studying acting in HB Studio, dancing at Broadway Dance Center and singing privately in New York City. He has been performing in several musicals and cabaret shows. His recent credits include “Cinderella” at Players Theatre, “Find The Golden Bird” at Polaris North and “Miss Saigon” at Clock Tower Players.
Chris “Chrisy” Kakurai was born in Japan, and started dancing Classic Ballet at the age of 3. She entered the “Academi de Dance Princesse Grace classic ballet de monte-carlo” in Monaco on a scholarship where she took the top prize, and performed at the Opera house. She has studied Modern, Jazz, Street dance, contemporary, Tap, Acting and Singing in Japan and NY. She performed in productions as a dancer and actor at famous entertainment parks, TV, Theater, music video, movie, Model and many Night Clubs. She was picked to be the main character IA of dance Vocaloid in “Comicon New York2014”, she was featured in NY and Japanese anime media magazines. She created a performance show with the choreography and dancing coach workshop of the world voice ensemble Inc. in NY.
Alyssa Noelle Pitaluga hails from Long Island and has been dancing since she could crawl. She has studied Ballet, Pointe, Tap, Jazz, Lyrical, Modern and Hip Hop. Classically trained by Ali Pourfarroukh and katherine Healy, she became a member of the Eglevsky Ballet Junior Repertory Company, American Theater Dance Workshop and Dany Holdstein’s Two Worlds Dance. Alyssa was Captain of Oceanside High School Dance Team. She attended various intensives which include Larry Keigwin, Limón, EMIA’s Life Dance Co., Amy Marshall, Mark Morris, Paul Taylor, Briansky Ballet, Eglevsky Ballet, and American Theater Dance Workshop and more recently the Joffrey Ballet on full scholarship. As senior dance major at Adelphi University, she performs with the Adelphi Dance Department, Long Island Dance Project and Jazz Roots Dance Co. Credits include Dance Adelphi, Jazz Roots Dance-Jazz on the West Side, Two World’s Nutcracker-Columbine Doll, Snowflake, Spanish and Flower, Eglevsky Ballet-Sleeping Beauty-Bluebird soloist, excerpts from Paquita, La Bayadere and Coppelia and Divine Rhythms Dance- Snow Queen and Sugar Plum soloist. Alyssa recently completed a teaching internship with Ballet Hispanico and currently teaches dance at three Long Island studios.
Bonnie Jackson is a Queens based freelance dancer. She began her training at the age of three at June Parodi School of Dance. Jackson continues her studies at Broadway Dance Center and is expanding her skill set into improvisation and vocal performance. In 2013, She made her Off-Broadway debut in The Nutcracker and the Mouse King at Theatre Row. Soon after, Jackson became a Company Member of Sue Samuel's Jazz Roots Dance Company.
Bridie Clark is a born New Zealander with over 20 years dance experience. In 2008 she decided to study full-time at the National Theatre Ballet School where she graduated 2010 with an Advance Diploma of Dance (Elite Performance) CUA5011, during her time studying she performed in many full length Classical productions including Swan Lake, Giselle, The Nutcracker and Cinderella to name a few. After graduating Bridie decided to retire her pointe shoes and take to Musical Theatre. Her first show out of college she was made Dance Captain for Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Cats”. Her passion for Musicals didn’t stop there she had very successful seasons in "The King And I”, “42nd Street” and “Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street”. Besides performing Bridie has a passion for teaching and sharing her knowledge with the next generation and keeping traditional dance styles alive.
Michael Patchen danced competitively for 14 years in Minnesota before moving out to New York for school. He attended The American Musical and Dramatic Academy, and since then has performed in the New York Renaissance Faire and Point Break Live. This is Michael's first year with Jazz Roots, and is super excited to be a part of this wonderful company.
Jordan DuMars started her dance career at Dee Buchanan Studio of Dance in Middletown, Maryland when she was three years-old. She is a graduate from the University at Buffalo, where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in dance. She currently resides in Brooklyn, NY where she continues to train and develop her dance career. She has back-up danced for singer JLine, who travels the country performing his hip-hop/street jazz show for students of all ages as well as share his anti-bully platform and promote tolerance and acceptance of others. Jordan was also featured in a Pants Velour music video which it set to be released later this year! On top of her performance career, Jordan is also an accomplished teacher and choreographer. She is a certified Dance Masters of America teacher in ballet, tap, jazz and modern and as also received a handful of choreography awards. Her students have won regional titles, scholarships and choreography awards under her mentorship.
Marvin Drummond was born in Jamaica, W.I. and received most of his dance training in Jamaica from doing cabaret shows and dance festivals. Marvin migrated to the United States in 2014 and is a former scholarship student of Garth Fagan Dance School in upstate Rochester. Garth who is the choreographer of the award winning "The Lion King" offered him a spot in his company, he joined in early 2014 traveling both nationally and internationally. Marvin is a two time overall division winner of the World Championships of the Performing Arts (WCOPA) held in Hollywood, California in the categories of Jazz and modern contemporary. During this time in Hollywood he was offered a scholarship at Millennium Dance Complex. Upon completion Marvin moved to Brooklyn, New York to continue pursuing his dreams and goals at Hunter College where he is completing his Bachelor Degree in Liberals Arts/Dance. As for now, he is taking strides in making his imagination become his reality.
Paige Ketsoglou grew up on Long Island, NY and began her dance studies at the age of two at the Hannah Kroner School of Dance. Paige attended LIU Post and graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in dance studies and also completed the Broadway Dance Center Training Program. Paige has choreographed and preformed with the Post Concert Dance Company all throughout her college career and had one of her pieces brought to the American College Dance Festival in 2014. In addition to performing at school, Paige has preformed with the Eglevsky Ballet Company in the Nutcracker, the Post Choreographers Showcase at Symphony Space, an American Apparel Spec Commercial, a back up dancer for a performer at Japan Day in Central Park, preformed with the PMT dance studio on The Today Show and danced as well as choreographed for DanceWorks NYC. She has had the opportunity to work with extremely talented choreographers such as Michael Leon Thomas, Matthew Clark and Darnetha Lincoln M'Baye. Paige currently works as a dance teacher at studios as well as at the Olympic center in Lake Placid.
Alycia Heckathorn comes to Jazz Roots from northern Michigan. She grew up dancing primarily ballet and tap at Ironwood Dance Company. While studying for a Theater degree at Northern Michigan University, she also received a dance minor that allowed her to both perform and choreograph. During her high school and college years, she taught ballet at private studios, which led to her decision to pursue a Master's degree in Dance Education at NYU that she will complete in May 2016. She is thrilled to be honing her classic jazz skills with Jazz Roots!
Yumiko Suzuki started ballet at the age of six. She also has experience of rhythmic gymnastics, modern dance, Zumba, Pilates, and yoga. She currently performs a variety of styles based on Jazz dance. Yumi teaches dance and Japanese to children, while dancingwith Sue Samuels’ Jazz Roots Dance Company.
*Yumi is currently based in Japan, but dances with JazzRoots Dance whenever they are in Japan!