South Shore Dance Alliance


Executive Director and Founder of South Shore Dance Alliance

Instructor: Jazz and Modern Jazz Technique, Ballet


Larry Brewer studied ballet at Indiana University, Bloomington, Ruth Page Dance Academy, Dance Theater of Harlem, The Alvin Ailey School, and the Chuck Davis African American Dance Company.  He first began performing in 1975 with the Gary Theater Ensemble. Since that time, he has performed with the IU African American Dance Company, IU Modern Dance Company, Indiana University Ballet Department, and the Windfall Dancers all located in Bloomington, Indiana.  In addition, he has performed with several local dance companies, Sesame Street Live 1988 tour, several variety shows, and trade shows.  In February, 2000, he began (and continues) teaching dance for the Emerson School for the Visual and Performing Arts  in Gary. Seeing the amazing potential in the young dancers throughout the Northwest Indiana region, he began to develop  his plans for a dance company and studio, which became a reality in 2002. Brewer recently received the Quality of Life Council Sustainability Award (2009) and was an Education 2010 finalist in the College Mentors for Kids: Inspire/Power of Mentoring Awards. To contact Larry, call the studio at 219-513-9368 or email 



Dancer: The Bloc Agency, Los Angeles


Kacie began her dance training in 2001 with Larry Brewer at the Emerson School for the Visual and Performing Arts. (It was also at Emerson where Kacie and Renaldo Maurice danced and performed together, winning IHSDTA ensemble and solo championships.) She continued her training at Ballet Chicago, Alvin Ailey, the Debbie Allen Academy, and majored in dance at Wright State University. She is currently a dancer for the Bloc Agency, Los Angeles, and she recently danced with Rihanna's Anti World Tour. She also appeared on NBC's live production of "The Wiz" and has also performed with Helene Fischer in Germany on television and stage. Kacie has also performed as a featured dancer with Disney and for the Cee Lo Green Loberace show in Las Vegas. She will be residing part time in the Northwest Indiana area.

Company Member: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, New York City


Renaldo Maurice Gardner attended the Emerson School for Visual and Performing Arts and studied with Larry Brewer and Michael Davis from sixth grade until receiving an Ailey School NYC scholarship at the end of his junior year. Since 2011, he has been a company member of the world-renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, based in New York City. Renaldo was also a scholarship student at Ballet Chicago and Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, and had an internship at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance. In 2008, he received second place in modern dance from the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts and received the Dizzy Feet Foundation Scholarship in 2009. In February 2012, Renaldo was honored with the key to the city of Gary, Indiana, his hometown.

SSDA Faculty: Ballet (Vaganova Technique)  


Cheryl Barnes teaches classical ballet in the Russian Vaganova System of Training that fuses the best from Russian, Italian, and French styles of classical ballet. She received her training from Madame Elizabeth Boitsov, artistic director of Boitsov Classical Ballet Company and School who holds a Master of Arts Degree in Ballet Teaching and Choreography from the State Bolshoi Theatre University of Theatrical Arts in Moscow. Ms. Barnes has an extensive portfolio of teaching experience and has used that knowledge to train and graduate students from the Vaganova Eight Level/Year System of Training at the Boitsov Classical Ballet School. She has performed all major classical roles including the pas de deux from the wedding scene from the ballet "Don Quixote"; nocturne, waltz, and mazurka from the ballet "Les Sylphides"; and the leading role of the "Witch" in Madame Boitsovs' original ballet "Hansel and Gretel". Ms.Barnes has extensive performing experience in many venues across the United States and in a full spectrum of dance forms from traditional Afrikan to modern to Russian classical ballet. She was also nominated for Best Performance in a Music/Dance Program at the  Annual Ira Aldridge Black Theater Alliance Awards for her solo "Russian Bride" from the ballet "Swan Lake." Ms. Barnes maintains her position as soloist and teacher for Boitsov Classical Ballet Company and School and Ballet Mistress/Company Member for Najwa Dance Corps which is a living anthology of the Afrikan-American experience in dance, both in Chicago. Recently Ms. Barnes accepted a position as a faculty dance instructor for Wirt-Emerson Visual and Performing Arts High Ability Academy in Gary, Indiana.

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SSDA Assistant School Director

SSDA Faculty: Ballet and Contemporary


A native of Gary, Indiana, Briana Robinson began dancing at her church at a young age. Ms. Robinson’s formal dance training began at the age of eleven, at the Emerson School for the Visual and Performing Arts, under the direction of Larry Brewer and Michal Davis. In 2013, Ms. Robinson graduated and received her Bachelor in Fine Arts degree from The Juilliard School in New York City, where she had the opportunity to perform works by Ohad Naharin and William Forsythe. After graduating, Ms.Robinson became one of the dance captains in Julie Taymor’s production of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in Brooklyn, NY.


Briana made her professional choreographic debut, in the summer of 2015. She premiered "Go Ahead And Turn Back" at the Athenaeum Theatre, as a part of Thodos Dance Chicago's "New Dances", choreography initiative. Briana is very thankful for the many opportunities she's had to perform, choreograph, and teach in her hometown and in the surrounding Chicago area. Ms. Robinson is looking forward to continually sharing her passion for movement, and is excited to begin her second season with Thodos Dance Chicago.


SSDA Studio Manager

SSDA Faculty: Tap and Jazz

Company Member: CHicago Human Rhythm Project  


Jessica has been dancing for 20 years, starting her training in Collierville, Tennessee at Ginny Mount School of Dance. She continued her training and graduated with honors, receiving a BA in Dance from Western Kentucky University, with a minor in business administration. After graduating, she moved to Chicago where she danced as an apprentice with Chicago Tap Theatre, under the direction of Mark Yonally, for three years. In 2014, she began dancing with Tristan Bruns and his company TapMen, and is currently a dancer with the Chicago Human Rhythm Project under the direction of Lane Alexander and Dani Borak. Jessica has performed all over the Chicago area, and has travelled abroad, dancing in Italy, France, and Spain. With the Chicago Human Rhythm Project, she has performed works by Dani Borak and renowned tap dancer and choreographer Michelle Dorrance.

SSDA Guest Faculty: Modern (Horton and Graham techniques)

Company Member/Emerging Instructor and Choreographer: Deeply Rooted Dance Theater  


Joshua Ishmon began dancing at an early age and continued with formal training entering the Emerson School for the Visual and Performing Arts in sixth grade until his graduation in 2007. He has also trained with Ballet Chicago and Deeply Rooted Dance Theater in Chicago and  is a gifted choreographer. He currently is First Company Dancer/Teacher/Emerging Choreographer with Deeply Rooted in Chicago.

SSDA Faculty: Modern


Aquanita Yancey began dancing at age 9 at Corinne's Dance Studio in Gary, IN. After dancing there for a year, she went under the direction of Porsha Reese and Larry Brewer, where she spent the rest of her pre-professional career. She's done numerous summer dance intensives including Ballet Chicago and Dance Theatre of Harlem. Once graduating from Emerson VPA, she continued her dance studies at Indiana University Bloomington majoring in kinesiology with a dance focus. While in her junior year, her choreography 'Birds of Paradise' was chosen to be performed at the American College Dance Festival Association, now known as ACDA to compete against other colleges within the Midwest region. After leaving Bloomington in 2015, she made her professional debut at the Emerging Choreographer's Showcase under Joshua Ishmon's direction. She now teaches various modern dance styles.

South Shore Dance Alliance