Executive & Staff

Executive & Staff

Kahina Haynes, Dance Institute of Washington
Kahina Haynes, Executive Director, is a passionate arts activist and the visionary architect behind DIW’s strategic revitalization following the significant loss of its Founder/Artistic Director, Fabian Barnes. Prior to her appointment by The Board of Directors, Ms. Haynes worked in program and process evaluation for a number of philanthropic and non-profit organizations including the United Nations (Bureau for Development Policy at UNDP), The Annie E. Casey Foundation, SafeKids Worldwide, and the World Bank Group. Ms. Haynes holds a B.A. from Princeton University with a Minor in African American Studies and a concentration in Dance; as well as, a Master’s Degree from Oxford University in Evidence Based Social Intervention.
A native of Ft. Washington, Maryland, Ashanté Green studied dance at the Dance Institute of Washington (DIW) where she trained in many styles of dance beginning at the age of seven. She simultaneously danced in the Dance Theatre of Harlem’s Pre-Professional Residency program at the Kennedy Center for 11 years, working closely with the company’s then Artistic Director, Arthur Mitchell. In May 2014, Ashanté received a BFA degree in dance from Shenandoah University. Ashanté returned to Shenandoah University the fall of 2014 and received a Master of Science degree in Performance Arts Leadership and Management the spring of 2015. After graduating, Ashanté returned to The Dance Institute of Washington to work under Fabian Barnes. She currently serves as the School Manager, overseeing DIW’s Pre-Professional training program and bi-annual productions.
Longtime resident of the DMV, Korina Isler has always remained involved in creative endeavors. Korina has trained in a jazz, modern, theatre, and mime, but her biggest love has always been tap and the time spent at Knock on Wood Tap Studio in Silver Spring. Korina is also a mixed media artist and the Project Coordinator for Black Girls Who Paint. With a B.A. in English from Spelman College, Korina Isler has always been devoted to being a strong advocate for equal access to arts. In previous roles, Korina has worked as both the organizer of artistic engagements, as well as the facilitator of classes. A passion for artistic excellence and equity are what brought Korina to the Dance Institute of Washington. She is very excited to be serving the DIW community as the School Administrator. Whenever possible, Korina hopes to remind everyone of their own magic and power to create something beautiful.
“Monique Watson is a professional dancer and choreographer from Havre de Grace, Maryland. By day, she is the Coordinator for DIW’s Creative Career Readiness Program and believes that building a student up professionally and academically is crucial to having a sustainable career in the arts. Formerly, she was the Deputy Artistic Director of Culture Shock Washington DC’s Season 16 & 17, and teaches Hip Hop and Street Style fundamentals & Heels Performance across the DC Metro area including: ZD Dance Academy, CUnit Studio, The DC Hip Hop Theater Festival, The Kennedy Center: Sound Health Series, Shell Shock DC, and more. Her instruction is designed for all ages and focuses on three key concepts: Passion, Patience, and Persistence. The 3 P’s builds incredible artists inside and out!”
Gina Safadi
Gina Safadi, dancer, teacher, dance coach, director, producer and cultural manager. Originally from New York , Gina shared her knowledge for over 15 years in Ecuador and is now working her magic in Washington DC. Gina earned her B.A. in Dance & Sociology from Marymount Manhattan College and received her Certificate in Arts Administration from New York University. Gina is a Certified International Latin Dance Judge and a World Salsa Summit Member. She is currently an administrator at Dance Institute of Washington and a Latin dance event producer.
Khendall Beale serves as the Curriculum Specialist for DIW’s academic program. Her role includes the oversight of academic power hour programming, grant compliance, and strategic planning. Beale is passionate about the fine arts community and has served at DIW since 2018. Beale is a native Washingtonian and a graduate of Lincoln University, having earned B.A of Science in Communications and Print Journalism. She has a background in strategic communications, program and partnership development, and special events. She has experience working in local government affairs, public education, and not-for-profit organizations.
Lauren Chuang is a pre-professionally trained dancer with a primary focus in ballet. She trained under the tutelage of Kansas City Ballet, Nutmeg Conservatory, Walnut Hill School, Houston Ballet, Boston Ballet, and Los Angeles Ballet. While at Wake Forest University, where she received her B.A. in Psychology, Spanish and Dance as a Presidential Scholar for the Arts, she was able to teach and serve as the Assistant Artistic Director of Winston-Salem’s Community Ballet Program. Upon moving to Washington, D.C. post-graduation, Lauren found herself wanting to continue her passion for the arts and joined The Dance Institute of Washington as a Curriculum Consultant and Artistic Faculty member.
Carla Camargo, originally from Mexico, is a dance professional, advocate, and marketer in the DMV area. Carla’s passions revolve around her activism for equality, underrepresented youth, and immigrant rights. As a Latina immigrant woman, she is extremely passionate about her work and all efforts leading to positive progress of the BIPOC community. Across all aspects of her life, Carla is an enthusiastic, open-minded, and determined individual. Carla is currently the Marketing & Communications Manager at the Dance Institute of Washington.
Serving DIW from 2005-present, Mr. Fischer specializes in arts and culture proposals. He is an expert arts and cultural grant writer and development consultant; his track record includes teaching grant writing (Center for Nonprofit Success), reviewing for Catalogue for Philanthropy, getting hundreds of foundation, corporate and fed/local government grants funded and awards earned (including the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award for DIW), high-quality communications, storytelling, and stewardship of donations, campaigns, and grant funding. Mr. Fischer is committed to his craft as a writer and is a key asset in arts/cultural development. He is a graduate of Goucher College in MD. He is currently based in Brooklyn, NY, and is able to serve DIW through the use of technology and quarterly visits to DC.
Danyale Speight has been the Operations Coordinator at DIW since March 2021. Danyale graduated from Duval High School in 2005. Danyale holds previous experience in the non-profit sector as well as healthcare and retail. The experience gained in the healthcare sector prepared Danyale for nonprofit because it allowed her to continue to help those who needed help the most. The experience also showed Danyale that great collaborative work will always have great outcomes. Danyale joined the nonprofit sector in 2019 and ever since then she has decided that she has a passion for being a part of organizations that strive to create opportunities for the youth in ways that they couldn’t even imagine. The administrative skills that Danyale holds allow her to contribute to ideas and create a structure that allows for continued success. Danyale attends Eastern Gateway College to earn her Associates Degree in Business Management with hopes of having a career in Project Management. Danyale enjoys spending time with her family particularly her little people (nieces and nephews).
I was born and raised in Washington, DC. From a very young age, I knew that I wanted to help children. In May of 2017, I received my BS in Psychology at Delaware State University where I did research on the effects that trauma can have in the classroom. I started my journey in education in August 2017, when I was with Americorps as a City Year. Through that program, I did 1700 hours of community service in a school and neighborhoods that were both underserved and underrepresented. I have been doing my best to help kids learn ever since. Part of the reason why I decided to work with children especially those who are underserved is that I used to be one of them. I wanted to be the person I needed when I was their age and show them that there is a way out of the darkness of poverty.
A native of Dallas, Texas, Camryn Stafford credits the beginning of her dance education to Dallas Black Dance Academy and Booker T. Washington HSPVA. Camryn is a current student at Princeton University and Founder and Executive Director of Turning Tables Inc. Through Turning Tables Camryn has provided students and professional dancers with a platform to choreograph on select topics of diversity and inclusion, allowed student volunteers to give back to the Dallas community by teaching dance classes to underrepresented youth at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Dallas, and given striving dancers opportunities to continue their training through SITT, a summer program hosted virtually by Turning Tables. A striving professional dancer and arts administrator, Camryn hopes to continue to use her platform to advocate for social change and reform through her initiatives.
McKenzie Grant-Gordon is a senior at Howard University studying Photography and Public Relations. She is a freelance photographer passionate about equity in arts education. Based in Maryland, she currently works on the Marketing and Communications team at the Dance Institute of Washington. 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 styles of dance primarily modern, jazz, tap and ballet. Some of her main instructors are 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.