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Biography: Jaye Allison

Celebrating 40+ years as an independent female in the performing arts world: Debuted as an Author December 2015 with AuthorHouse Publishing her Chronicles of Carols in Color, the storybook, Pew Arts & Heritage Dance Advance Awardee. Allison ‘s experiences as dancer, rehearsal mistress, choreographer, director to producer show her ability to contribute to the performing arts world that she loves. Jaye created and established: Philly TAP Challenge “ON FIRE!”tap dance festival and events 2004-14, Great Day In Philadelphia Tap Photos, The Virtual Quilt project, JADA TapDance Ensemble 2009 and New LEJA Dances, the company -a concert dance vehicle originally established in 1980 as a founding director; incorporated in 1999, transitioned to production company in 2006. Two holiday dance theater musical traditions: “I AM” 1999-2002 The Life of Jesus as told by his peers and ‘Carols in Color’ 1991-94 Inspired by Langston Hughes’ Black Nativity. 2009-13 Jaye completed work as: choreographer for both Leslye Headland's "Assistance" & Theresa Rebeck's, “The Understudy” by the Wilma Theater, chorus dancer in ‘The Gate Called Straight’ with Stephanie Mills and Bebe Winans, produced two gala benefits for the 2nd Generation Silver Belles of the Legendary Silver Belles and organized/ choreographed the Delaware County Links Association Benefit Gala at Independence Seaport Museum. January 2012 marked the end of an era when Jaye’s artistic mentors lived: Cheryl V. Shepherd, Rod Rodgers and Alicia Dakerian Craig. Allison, under the latter’s company employment from 1991-2011 as soloist~moderator~project director, helped PCBC's mission reach more than 1,000,000 students by 2004. Philadelphia Civic Ballet Company, (the oldest Ballet Company in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania), delights audiences by providing dance education through interactive performances to Public and Catholic Schools in and around the Philadelphia area. Rod Rodgers developed a work conceived in circa 1960's, "Quest" and workshoped sketches toward new work through LEJA 1992-2002. Cheryl Shepherd fixed Jaye's speech impediment while guiding her training methods of developing dancers and themes which are complimentary. 

Allison was a pioneer teaching artist for Dancing Classrooms Philly, serving 5th graders with Ballroom Dance training with Pierre Dulaine (Mad Hot Ballroom) for 5 seasons. Jaye secured the following grants for her professional development and company projects of artistic merit: Dance Advance, PA Department of Community and Economic Development grant, Leeway Foundation Art and Change Award, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA) Fellow and Intern programs, Community Education Center’s (CEC), PIAS, and Emerging Choreographer for Choreo LAB with Martha Meyers of American Dance Festival.

Notable history:

Jaye performed and choreographed professionally with: Philadanco, Philadelphia Civic Ballet Company, Power 99 FM Dancers, TapTeam II & Co., Dancefusion and fusion2. Allison toured Europe as a featured dancer (Jazz and Tap) in “Le Jazz Expectac.”  Residencies for instruction, creation of new work, reconstruct choreography: Johari Dance Ensemble (Purdue University), Bryn Mawr College, Temple University, Drexel University, PennDance, Variety Club of PA., created her first dance musical, “The Fantastic Voyage to Shangrilah!” performed at the Teatro Petruzzelli in Bari, Italy for the Rosanna Scuola di Danse Arte’. Miss Allison has an extensive choreographic repertory with signature works :Oluwa (1981) and Black Jazz – 101-Skidelybop (1992). 

Jaye Allison envisions a world filled with human potential and avenues for people to achieve their goals. By creating performance and educational opportunities to the community regardless of age, race, gender, and physical ability, providing excellent theater and focusing on community, she strives to be a significant force in the evolution of tradition. In a Philadelphia Inquirer review, Marilyn Jackson confirms, “LEJA is an American Dance Theater organization that includes broad community involvement nourishing performers, professional or not, and new audiences for them.” Her mission enabled Philly TAP Challenge “ON FIRE!” to contribute to the vitality of tap dance in Philadelphia as a part of American dance culture by: creating venue and opportunity for tap dancers of every age, race and skillset. Bonding is a crucial portion of community building. Rob Watson from the Philadelphia Inquirer urged “Do This!” in his half page preview of PTC ’06 and LEJA 25 THE SILVER ANNIVERSARY FAREWELL CONCERT. He continues, “There will be a whole lot of hoofin’ going on at the Iron Gate Theater…with two shows highlighting some of the top dancers in the city.” During its 3rd year, PTC ’06 expanded from its original format which was based on the performance showcase, to include four components as a means of education for the masses: tap workshops, a performance showcase, “The Philly Tap Idol Challenge” and 1st presentation of the Philly Master of Tap Award to LaVaughn Robinson. Jaye Allison celebrated and ended 25 years as Founding Director of New LEJA Dances, the company.

Miss Allison's MFA and BFA from Ashwood University, attended Philadelphia College for the Performing Arts (UARTS), U of MA at Amherst certificate in Arts Management. Additional professional training from Philadanco. In New York City she trained at the Ailey School, Rod Rodgers Dance Company, the Performance Institute, and the Broadway Dance Center where she was awarded a scholarship. Her teachers included the best in the modern, jazz and tap dance arena, including; Frank Hatchett, Maurice Hines, Hinton Battle and Cecilia Marta.

Among her favorite dance performances are: The Virtual Quilt Project that connected 3 generations of women tap dancers performing against video backdrop (the Quilt) of honored women in tap and chorusgirl history to present day, the THRILLER video for KYW-3’s Evening Magazine, Tweet Theater Production'sWalking Down on Broad Street, and performing as a solo dance artist for Baba Olatunji at the Million Women March. Allison also appeared in movies,“Beloved”, “Rocky III” “Mannequin II”, “Taps”, and a few 80’s music videos.

Miss Allison trains students in modern (Horton), jazz and tap in Philadelphia and NJ area dance studios. Her youth repertoire and competition choreography has done well YAGP- Youth America Grand Prix, Starbound, All American Talent Awards and several local competitions.

LEJA members have gone on to healthy careers in modern dance with renowned companies as: PHILADANCO, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Company, Rod Rodgers Dance Company, Bejart and others. They have also achieved status as directors, teachers and choreographers of good reputation throughout the U.S. and Europe. Students are regularly accepted into accelerated programs like: Philadanco programs, Ailey's Summer Program, PA Governor’s School for the Arts, Arthur Mitchell's Dance Theater of Harlem, Tap Festivals, Fordham U, 2nd compaies for Paul Taylor and Ballet Hispanico.

Photo: Tyrus Davis Photography
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