MEET THE STAFF

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Jamel Gaines

Founder and Executive Artistic Director

Creative Outlet Founder and Artistic Director, Jamel Gaines has dedicated his life to delivering artistic excellence and stirring, soaring performance to audiences everywhere. Gaines started his training under the guidance Diane and Adrienne Brown and James Grant. He continued on to recieve a full scholarship at Purchase University from Harry Bellafonte. Gaines started his professional career under the mentorship of Kevin Iega Jeff, the founder and artistic director of Jubilation Dance Company! With more than 25 years of teaching and choreography experience, Gaines seeks to inspire, motivate, and nurture dancers and artists.

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Kate Griffler

Co-Producer / Development

Kate graduated from SUNY Purchase College with a BFA from the Conservatory of Dance and Certificate in Arts Management. She completed the six month producer's seminar with the Commercial Theater Institute.

Kate is a producer, dancer, teacher and choreographer living in Brooklyn, NY. Kate was previously the director of The REVERBdance Festival, an international and national festival that ran for eleven years. Her own dance theater works and dance films have been shown under her pick up company: 121 Dance Project and have been presented by SUNY Brockport, World Fellowship, SUNY Purchase, Manhattan Theater Club, Red Arm One Gallery, Rover Soho, Dixon Place,  Clemente Soto Valez Cultural Center, Boston University,  Ailey Citigroup Theater, Infinito Gallery, TANK,  The Center At Park West, Baruch Performing Arts Center, Signature Center Theater and The Dairy Center for the Performing Arts.

Kate’s producing credits include: The Awakening of Angel DeLuna, The NYC-MEX Festival de La Ciudad, Heart Expo Japan, and films including:  Indigo Children, Drilling Holes In The Sun, Dying Swan, Camilo Tranquilo,and Chrysalis.

As a dancer, Kate has performed nationally and internationally with choreographers Ayako Kurakake, Shaun Roschman,Stacy Grossfield, Kathlene Dyer, Caitlin Trainor, Ceilia Rowlson-Hall, Ofelia Loret de Mola, John Curtis, Miriam Wolff, Megan Williams, and Martha Williams, and Carrie Able. Kate has also acted in the film "Since I Left You" by Andrew Alden.

Norva Alleyne

Director of Operations

Norva Alleyne holds a Bachelor's Degree in Communications with a minor in Psychology, and a Master's Degree in Arts in Media,Culture and Communication from New York University. In New York City, Norva has worked as a Case Worker with Mentally Ill Chemical Abusers and Chemical Abusers Mentally Ill individuals. She is the CEO and owner of En-Norvation Business Solutions, and JMari Beauty Lounge. Ms. Alleyne is an ardent volunteer and advocate for the homeless. She has been working with Creative Outlet as a Board Member and Director of Operations for the past fifteen years.

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Melinda Walker

Cultural Arts Program Coordinator

Melinda Walker currently works at the Jamel Gaines Creative Outlet Dance Program, located in Brooklyn, NY. She is one of the Administrators for the Saturday Cultural Arts Program (CAP). Her love of dance began at the age of 13, when her school cut out our gymnastics program. She joined a school located in Cambria Heights, Queens called Dance Explosion, it was run by her beloved dance teacher Adrienne Brown. This is where she first met Jamel Gaines, we both were going there for dance. The school offered all forms of dance, African, Modern, Tap, Gymnastics, Jazz and Ballet. During her time with Dance Explosion, her love of dance grew, and at the age of 16, she became a dance teacher for the babies ages 3-5, then a choreographer for ages of 7-12.

 

She would later follow in the footsteps of Adrienne and attended Hunter College where she majored in Dance and received a Summer Scholarship. Another dance friend of hers named Donna Maxell were the original founders of Opus dance Company which they created along with one of their previous dance teachers named Buster Grant. Opus was mildly successful until lack of funds cut their success short. Although she no longer dances due to old age and dance injuries, she still loves to watch and help the students wherever possible. Her original love of dance is alive and present when she watches the wonderful students at Creative Outlet’s Saturday (CAP) Program. Jamel Gaines has done a wonderful job of providing the students, not only an outlet but something they can take pride and claim as their own.

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Shandale Ricketts

Marketing / Graphics

Shandale Rickets is a graphic designer, web designer, and digital marketer with Jamel Gaines Creative Outlet.  Shandale is from from the Bronx and is studying at the New York City College of Technology for Communications Design. She is also a visual artist with a focus on illustration. Her interest in Graphic Design started from her daily walks in NYC and observing the amazing visuals that city life offers.

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Hopie Lyn Burrows

Costume Designer

Hopie Lyn Burrows is an extraordinary Costumes designer whose work includes   Dance, Theatre, Opera, Film, Home Decorating and Television.
She has created classical character unique, One of a kind creations for professionals, NYC Schools, Professional/community schools, children, weddings, churches, proms, various special occasions. 
Burrows work successfully designs takes the storytelling, characters,  historical facts, and translate them through emotional artistic lens.


Burrows has created costume design throughout the New York tri-state area nationally and internationally, Some of the groups that she’s design costumes are Jamel Gaines Creative Outlet, Forces of Nature, Purelements, MAAFA , Melissa Vaugh, Nathan Trice, Ifetayo cultural arts Center, mind builders performing arts Center,  deeply rooted Dance Theater of Chicago, Various universities, Stars of New York Dance,  to name a few. Burrows has shared her  designs in Productions across the United States, Europe, and abroad, such as New York City, Clinton Maryland, Seattle Washington, Atlanta Georgia, London, Italy, Germany, Trinidad, Guadalupe, and Jamaica. Burrows has been commissioned by many artistic Directors and prominent festivals throughout the world such as Brooklyn New York’s Dance Africa, New York City Apollo Theater, Seattle Washington’s  Dance This, Clinton Maryland’s Maafa, Washington DC Kennedy Center and Italy’s Spoleto festival.

 

Burrows is a sought after master  costume designer and wardrobe extraordinaire. She began her work at a very early age her one-of-a-kind pieces are unique what style colors textures structural design and unique character Burrows work stands out above the rest. She maintains a active freelance design career.

Talu Green

Music Supervisor

Percussionist and Composer Rasaan 'Talu' Green's performances include ones with Fela! on Broadway, the Brooklyn Nets, Soutsatzka the Musical, and MAZE, along with band collaborations with Ms. Patti Labelle, Ms. Lauryn Hill, The Roots, Aloe Blacc, and Estelle. Green has performed globally in Africa, North America, Australia & New Zealand, and Europe. He is a resident musician with Resura Arkestra and provides musical arrangements for dance companies and master workshops throughout New York City. He holds a BFA in music from Long Island University.

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Toni Owens

Community Engagement Coordinator

Toni Owens (West Palm Beach, FL) began training at the age of 13 at Ballet East. She continued her training at A.W Dreyfoos School of the Arts and graduated in 2018. She then attended the Ailey School Certificate Program and graduated in 2022. At The Ailey School, she has worked with Patrick Coker, Hollie Wright, and Amy Hall and appeared in Alvin Ailey’s Memoria restaged by Ronni Favors during the 2021 New York City Center Season as well as Robert Battle’s Awakening at the 2022 Ailey Spirit Gala at Lincoln Center. She has done summer intensives at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and A.I.M where she learned repertory including works from Ohad Nahrin, Nacho Dauto, Florian Lochner, and Kyle Abraham. Toni is currently a dancer with Creative Outlet Dance Theatre as well as the Creative Outlet Community Engagement Coordinator for the 2022-2023 season.

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Zoë Cleland

Grant Research and Development

Zoë Cleland, a dancer from the age of 3, started her career in Production and Costuming for film and tv and ended up with over 20 years of experience in the dance industry fulfilling various roles behind the scenes . Specialising in Pointe Shoe Fittings and Special Make Up shoes she enjoyed costuming for professional companies and clients all around the world when she represented and worked closely with Capezio, Grishko, and Freed of London.  Also during 2010’s, she was co-founder and co-curator of the Reverb Dance Festival. Previous work includes Office Manager for Westside Academy of Dance, Store Manager for both Grishko in NYC and The Dance Store in Los Angeles. Zoe also received a BA in Psychology from UC Berkeley. 

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