Artistic Team

Artistic Team

Marcus Johnson - Dance Institute of Washington

Marcus Johnson is a native of Washington D.C who has been studying, and training rigorously in professional dance for 12 years. Marcus is trained in Ballet, Modern, African, and Hip Hop and started professionally training at Duke Ellington School of The Arts. Following his tenure at Duke Ellington, Marcus was chosen to tour in China for an international dance conference. He has performed with Sting and Paul Simon, toured in Los Angeles, where he also kept up his training. Marcus has been teaching dance for about 7 years at the Dance Institute of Washington, where he’s had the pleasure of instilling all that he has learned through the years to the next generation. Marcus believes it is very important to be versatile and adaptive in this field –“it enhances your capability as a young dancer”. Marcus is grateful for the experience of inspiring the next generation to come; to mold great, strong and disciplined dancers at the Dance Institute of Washington and to impact and change the lives of children through the Art of Dance. Marcus is also experienced in the ins and outs of programming and stage productions. While he may often teach, you can also find him in meetings working hard alongside of DIW’s Creative Director.

Aaron Jackson received his formal training in New York City at the School of American Ballet, where he trained year-round and in summer intensive. He attended other summer intensives on full scholarship as well, including Joffrey Ballet School in New York, Pennsylvania Ballet School, and San Francisco Ballet School. Jackson was a 2017/2018 School of American Ballet National Visiting Fellow. He is on the School of American Ballet’s Alumni Advisory Committee on Diversity & Inclusion.Jackson joined The Dance Theatre of Harlem in 2000 under the direction of the late Arthur Mitchell. His repertory included “Firebird,” Arthur Mitchell, Augustus Van Heerden, and Laveen Naidu’s “South African Suite,” and Geoffrey Holder’s “Dougla,” performed at various venues including in China at the Shanghai Dance Festival. In 2001 Jackson joined The Washington Ballet under the direction of Septime Webre. He danced Puck in Balanchine’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” first and second themes in Balanchine’s “Four Temperaments,” Forsyth’s “In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated,” and numerous other productions by various choreographers. After eight seasons at The Washington Ballet, Jackson moved to Company C in San Francisco for two seasons, before retiring and returning to Washington in 2010.

While a full-time company member with The Washington Ballet, Jackson began his teaching career at The Washington School of Ballet’s Summer Intensive and the Jones/Haywood School of Dance. In 2006 he joined the summer faculty of Berrend Dance Centre/Olney Ballet Theatre under the direction of Patricia Berrend. In 2010, Jackson joined the faculties at Berrend Dance Centre, where he taught Levels 4, 5, PP1, and PP2, and at The Washington School of Ballet, where he teaches open adult classes. Jackson’s open classes accommodate dancers from intermediate through professional levels. While a National Visiting Fellow at the School of American Ballet, Jackson designed and taught a Ballet class for Level B1 students.

In addition to teaching, Jackson has choreographed many short ballets for competitions and showcases, including “Entropy” for Berrend Dance Center students at the 2016 YAGP competition in Boston, placing at the semi-finalist level. His career also includes choreographic projects with The Washington Ballet Studio Company and The Washington Ballet Trainees. Jackson’s “Abstract Pieces” was performed by the trainees at The Washington School of Ballet’s 2014 Spring Performances. His other pieces have been performed by the studio company at various events. In addition, Jackson has taught master classes at the Musical Theater Center in Rockville, Maryland, and participated in a choreographic project with the Phillips Collection.

Jackson has established himself as a guest teacher in the U.S. and internationally. He served as guest teacher and choreographer at City Youth Ballet in Johnson City, Tennessee, under the direction of the late Susan Pace White; and in 2015 served as a Guest Instructor at TAD, Tennessee Association Of Dance – Dance Festival in Murfreesboro, TN. He also served as a guest instructor at Tanz Akademie, Tanzwerk 101, and Zürcher Hochschule der Künste in Zürich Switzerland, Tanzkompanie des Theaters St. Gallen in St. Gallen, Switzerland as a Guest Instructor for Company Class, and The Musical Factory in Lucerne, Switzerland. Jackson has under his own initiative in Zürich organized and conducted numerous workshops. He served as a guest instructor in Stavanger, Norway, for “Don’t Forget To Dance 2017”. In addition, Jackson coaches dancers privately, including several who are dancing professionally or who have been accepted at prestigious ballet schools.
Kevin Malone
Kevin Thomas Malone, a native of Washington, DC, is currently on staff at Jyla’s School of Dance, Metropolitan School of The Arts, Katherine Smith Contemporary Dance Ensemble, Dance Institute of Washington (DIW) and Ballet Nouveau. Kevin has choreographed contemporary ballet solos for dancers representing the Ukraine and the U.S who competed in the 2006 International Ballet competition and the Youth America Grand Prix. A graduate of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts (DESA) and the University of the Arts with a BFA in modern dance, Kevin has had additional training at the Ailey School, the Washington School of Ballet and the Adrian Bolton Dance Company. He was also a principal company member with Liz Lerman Dance Exchange and Philadanco, touring the U.S., Europe, Canada, Asia and the Caribbean, and taught for the Rock School of the Pennsylvania Ballet, Alvin Ailey Dance Camp, DESA and Ballet Royale Academy. Kevin served as Associate Artistic Director for the Bermuda Dance Company and DIW. Kevin also served as a guest Master Teacher for Olga Tozyiakova’s Ballet Studio #7.
Afi Soul Lydia
Afi began her studies in African dance in a non-formal setting in the Spiritual/African centered community of Washington DC primarily in traditional Ghanaian dance. When Afi was 2years old, she began taking classes with Melvin Deale and the African Heritage dancers. This was her first formal introduction to African dance technique. As Afi got older, she began to explore her love for dance in other style of dance primarily modern, jazz, tap and ballet. Some of her main instructors her Carol Foster (DCYE), Toni Lombre (Tap), Sandra Fortune-Green (Ballet). When Afi was 14 she went back to studying Sene-Gambian technique at Kankouran West African Dance with Assane Konte. Since then Afi has explored Traditional Yoruba dance (Nigeria and Trinidad and Tobago) as well as Afro-Cuban dance and continues to travel worldwide to learn and explore indigenous and traditional dances throughout the African Diaspora. Some of her dance performance highlights are GWU Lisner Auditorium, Howard Crampton Auditorium, Curacao Jazz Festival, and Cote D’Ivoire, West Africa.
Barbra Chin has been a ballet instructor with DIW since 2012 when she moved to DC to pursue her graduate studies at Howard University. Originally from Salt Lake City, UT, Barbra trained in classical ballet and Character dance under the Cecchetti method at the Children’s Ballet Theatre (CBT) and at the University of Utah, dancing in the non-major ballet program under the direction of notable instructors such as Conrad Ludlow, a former principal of the New York City Ballet under George Balanchine. Barbra began teaching ballet while still in high school and has over 13 years of teaching experience. As a ballet instructor, Barbra has taught dancers ages 3 to adult and thoroughly enjoys the process of teaching classical ballet technique to dancers of all ages.
Becky Lallande
Rebecca (Becky) Lallande is a lifelong dancer who specializes in working with young children in dance and the arts. A trained dancer in the Isadora Duncan technique, she is a company member of Word Dance Theater in Washington, DC and serves as their Director of Youth Programs for instruction in the Duncan technique. She has been teaching dance to youth in DC, Maryland, and Virginia for over 10 years and is a teaching artist with the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning in the Arts, InnerCity – InnerChild, and Sitar Arts Center. In addition to dance education, she has presented choreography at the Atlas Intersections Festival, been a member of the DC hip hop team Capital Funk, and performed across the city in venues such as the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, Capital Fringe Festival, and Dance Loft on 14.
Elena Ovchinnikova
Dr. Elena Ovchinnikova graduated from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy obtained her PhD in Pedagogic Science (Theory and Methodology of Professional Education in Choreography) and Master Degree in Ballet Pedagogy. Elena has taught in Russia at Moscow State Academy of Choreography (the Bolshoi Ballet Academy) and in the USA at the Kirov Academy of Ballet of Washington DC. She is the former Artistic Director of Reston Ballet Conservatory. She is a guest Lecturer of Dance at the International Ballet Festival in Panama, guest lecturer in Methodology of Teaching Character Dance at the Dance Department of Michigan State University, and a guest teacher and choreographer for ballet academies across the USA, Austria, Spain, and Hong Kong. Elena was awarded in three International Ballet Competitions in Vienna (Austria), Roma (Italy), and Zagreb (Croatia). She has professional performing experience as a soloist and principal dancer in ballets of the classical repertoire to include Swan Lake, Raymonda, Nutcracker, Giselle, Cinderella, Coppelia, Paquita, and Don Quixote. She performed with renowned companies to include Russian State Theater “Ballet of Russia” (Moscow, Russia), Astana Opera (Astana, Kazakhstan), New Classical Ballet (Moscow, Russia), and Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker (USA) which toured internationally. Additionally, Elena graduated from Russian State Medical University in Moscow, Russia and obtained Master Doctor/Master Science degrees, and thus, possess both a PhD and MD. Dr. Elena Ovchinnikova is the author of scientific publications in ballet pedagogy, psychology and ballet medicine. Her publications and PhD thesis are stored in the database of Russian State Library – the leading scientific library of Russia.
Julia Battist is a French ballet dancer trained at the Paris National Conservatory and at the Paris dance school, Le Monde de la Danse. In 2008, she won the Grand Prize for the role of Nikiya (la Bayadère) at The Dinant International Contest in Belgium. For two years she toured Europe with Le Ballet Classique de Paris under the artistic direction of Jeannette Jacquet, performing classical repertory such as Swan Lake and The Nutcraker. In 2015, Julia moved to the U.S. to develop her modern and contemporary dance technique. She has worked with Nhiane Khosi Dance Theatre in New York and toured in the U.S. and India with Dakshina/Daniel Phoenix Singh Dance Company of Washington, DC. Her most recent projects with Company E includes (In)Security: Or, Jack And Nikki Do The Cold War Tango and the Jungle Book and The Four Seasons, performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Beyond full-time dance commitments, Julia instructs ballet at the Dance Institute of Washington and leads a unique program for children at BloomBars called “ Le Ballet en Français”. Julia Battist has been deeply inspired by the artists of her family, especially Clément Bottier and Frederic Veys. She considers her teacher and friend, Muriel Duclos, as her cherished mentor.
Justin began dancing in conjunction with his early training as a youth gymnast, earning experience in each of the events of men’s gymnastics. As a dancer, he became an original member of Culture Shock International Hip Hop Dance Troupe of Washington, DC until 2003, when he received a scholarship to dance at The Ohio State University-Columbus. There, he studied intensively in classical ballet, modern, and African techniques. To supplement his university studies, he was an instructor at BalletMet Columbus Dance Academy. He has trained on scholarship in San Francisco, CA with Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet, earning acceptance into the LINES Ballet Repertory Program, and receiving training from numerous dance professionals in New York City, Philadelphia, and Paris, France.