Dancers

Steven James Hamilton hails from the Los Angeles area, where he learned to dance by watching “Soul Train” on TV when he was a teenager. Dancing became Steven’s main means of expression when he was growing up gay in the suburbs of L.A. “I couldn’t share my feelings with anyone,” he says, “And I didn’t dare keep a diary, so I danced.” After relocating to the Bay Area, Steven was introduced to ballroom dance in 2002. He began taking classes in the waltz and foxtrot and started studying ballet and modern dance in 2003. Steven discovered a love of performing by participating in the Metronome Dance Center’s biannual showcases, and his diverse résumé now includes multiple performances in ballroom, modern, jazz, salsa, Afro-Brazilian and ballet. He has also won several awards in same sex ballroom dance competitions, including a Gold Medal in Men’s International Standard Ballroom Dancing at the Chicago Gay Games VII Dancesport Competition and First Place in Gold-Level Cha-Cha and Gold-Level Rumba at the April Follies: California State Same-Sex Dance Championships. In 2008 and 2009, Steven was chosen to perform as a principle dancer in Paco Gomes’s original pieces, “Birth of Omolu” and “Trinity,” and he continues to pursue his passion for performance as a Co-Founder and Contributing Choreographer with Gnosis Dance Collective. “For me, dancing is not an escape from reality; it’s a way to celebrate the body and transcend it at the same time. I’m most alive when I’m dancing.” Steven is also an actor, writer and accomplished visual artist.

 

Michael Leavell is a Gnosis Dance Collective Co-Founder and Contributing Choreographer. Michael has enjoyed social dancing his whole life but only began formal training when he took up salsa eight years ago. Upon performing with a same-sex salsa troupe in the 2006 Metronome Dance Center production of “Winter Wonder Dance,” he became hooked. Shortly thereafter, Michael started taking cha-cha, Argentine tango and modern dance classes. Since then he has danced in several performances, including a Bollywood-inspired modern piece titled “Chicken in the Pot” and a contemporary piece titled “Drift” at Theater Artaud and a modern dance version of “Fame” at Fort Mason’s Cowell Theater. In 2008, Michael began studying Afro-Brazilian and continues studying modern, Latin dance and jazz at Alonzo King’s LINES Dance Center and ODC/Rhythm & Motion. In April 2009 Michael was featured in the “Bailando” music video, dancing salsa to the music of Carmen Milagro. He has also performed with Tania Santiago of Aguas Da Bahia Dance Company in San Francisco’s Carnaval Grand Parade. Most recently, Michael has performed as a principal dancer for esteemed choreographer Paco Gomes and, in addition to his work with Gnosis, he also dances with an all-mens’ performance group led by dancer/choreographer Weidong Yang.

 

Co-Founder and Contributing Choreographer Tamara LaRee Smart is a fourth-generation dancer and dance teacher from a long line of artists and performers. She came to the Bay Area from Los Angeles in 2005, where she worked as an actor, dancer, choreographer and instructor. With over 25 years of training and performance experience including ballet, jazz, modern, hip-hop, Middle Eastern dance, swing, salsa, Brazilian samba, burlesque, aerial dance and circus arts, Tamara has been featured in numerous productions ranging from film and TV to the theater and beyond. As a dancer, she has been blessed to work and share the stage with such talented and inspirational artists as Alessandro Sol (Sol Salsa), MaDonna Grimes Dance Fitness Theatre Company, Molly Underhill Kozma, Sarah Bush Dance Project and Freeplay Dance Crew. Her work has been featured at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Paramount Theater at Hollywood’s legendary Paramount Studios, Project Artaud Theater, Dance Mission Theater and the Palace of Fine Arts. Most recently, Tamara has taught at the prestigious Cheryl Burke Dance in San Francisco and currently conducts private sessions and workshops in performance technique and authentic movement. She is the Director and Producer of “Dance for Another Day” and holds a Master’s Degree in Expressive Arts Therapy.

 

Alanna Taylor-Tobin is not only a Co-Founder and Contributing Choreographer with Gnosis Dance Collective, she is also an accomplished musician and professional singer. With her diverse background in music and dance performance, Alanna brings a unique level of creativity and musical sensitivity to all of her work. Alanna has studied and performed many different forms of dance, including ballet, tap, hip-hop, modern, flamenco, salsa, tango, Brazilian samba, belly dance, ballroom, musical theater and various folkdances of Europe and Central America. A guitarist from the age of six, Alanna finds endless dance inspiration in music of many sorts. She has performed twice with Molly Underhill Kozma at Theater Artaud and has entertained thousands with her English Country Dance troupe at folk dance festivals and other venues across Northern California. In addition to dancing with Gnosis, Alanna can be found playing and singing with other talented musicians throughout the Bay, including Lea Carey Grant, The Honeybelles and the acoustic comedy quartet Bugs In Costumes.

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