Geena Ngaaje ~ President
Originally from Cameroon, West Africa, Geena Ngaaje has become a household name in the Dallas dance community. She is an accomplished choreographer, performer, and creative director. Over the last 20 years she has spent a great part of her career creating opportunities for dancers to discover, develop, and deploy their passion for dance.
A visionary dance leader, she pioneered the Dallas Hip-Hop Dance Festival in 2012, Legacy Hip-Hop Dance Convention, and HYPE Choreographers Showcase. She is also the owner and master choreographer of Hip Hop Heels.
Geena and her endeavors have been featured on Fit Trip with Kimberly Westphall, Good Morning Texas, Fox 4 Good Day, The Dallas Morning News, The Dallas Examiner, WFAA Daybreak, and Al Extremo. Some of her dance and choreography credits include Black Eyed Peas/Super Bowl XLV, Alter’d Ego, CNN Fit Nation, Miss Africa USA, Texas Legends Dancers, The Sideline Group, Chinatown Band, recording artist Torsha Lynn, Cowboys Club, and Christmas at the Cathedral.
Most recently Geena accepted a position with Elevate Life Church in Frisco as the Production Director. Whether she’s in front of a camera or behind it, she gets the most joy and fulfillment in inspiring others to create a life worth dancing for.
Tiffany Bailey ~ Past President
Tiffany Bailey earned a Bachelor of Arts in Dance from the University of North Texas in 2008. Pairing her love for dance and books, she went on to receive a Master of Information Science degree in 2012. Tiffany Bailey manages the Fine Arts Division of the Dallas Public Library, a role she’s had since 2016. She is passionate about applying her librarian skills towards organizing archival collections for performance art companies and organizations. She has been with the Dance Council of North Texas since 2014 currently serving as the Archivist, Dance! North Texas Editor and President of the Board of Directors.
Mair Cawston ~ Director of Communications + Co-Chair Scholarship Committee
Mair (my-er) Cawston studied dance for many years and has been a longtime supporter of the arts. Born
and raised in South America, she came to the US to study fashion design
and retail advertising at North Texas State University where she
received a BFA. Mair has worked as a freelance graphic designer/art
director with clients that have included small boutiques, Neiman-Marcus,
Dillards, and JCPenney. She has also designed and constructed costumes for both soloists and pre-professional ballet companies. As Chair of Communications for DCNT, Mair contributes graphic design and oversees all media.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Thom Clower ~ Director + Co-Chair, Scholarship Committee
Known as one of the most energetic and inspiring teachers across the country, Thom Clower's "evangelistic" approach to teaching has touched the lives and careers of dancers around the world for 40 years. With extensive training in the Vaganova, Balanchine, Cecchetti, and Bournonville styles, Mr. Clower combines the qualities of each one to present a technique that is true and versatile.
Making his stage debut at the age of six, Mr. Clower began his professional training with George Skibine and Marjorie Tallchief at the Dallas Civic Ballet in 1968. He received a Ford Foundation Scholarship to the School of American Ballet in New York for two consecutive years, and also studied in Paris, Amsterdam, and London. He joined Dallas Ballet in 1978 where he spent eleven seasons performing with the company under Mr. Skibine and Flemming Flindt, and served as assistant Ballet Master for Dallas Ballet's 1980 South American tour. As Ballet Master, Mr. Clower assisted Flindt in staging his full-length NUTCRACKER, THE THREE MUSKETEERS, and PHAEDRA, and personally administrated the staging of Alvin Ailey's THE RIVER, John Cranko's JEU DE CARTES, Jeri Kylian's ENGULFED CATHERDRAL, Fokine's PRINCE IGOR and LES SYLPHIDES, and many others.
Mr. Clower served as Founding Artistic Director of the restructured Ballet Dallas and the affiliate school, the Dallas Conservatory of Ballet. Under his direction, Ballet Dallas was the resident professional ballet company for the Dallas area for eight years, carrying on the traditions of the former company. Mr. Clower served as Ballet Master for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, working closely with founding Artistic Director Lou Conte. In this capacity, he was primary teacher for the company and rehearsal director for works by Twyla Tharp, Nacho Duato, Daniel Ezerlow, and Kevin O'Day. Mr. Clower then served four seasons as Artistic Director of Yuma Ballet Theatre (AZ), and Ballet Master of the affiliate school, Dancers Workshop. He was a regular guest teacher at Allegro Ballet of Houston from 2009-2018.
As a representative of the George Skibine Trust, Mr. Clower helps maintain the integrity of Mr. Skibine's ballets, staging them across the country.
He served on selection panels for the City of Dallas, Tarrant County, and both the Texas and Arizona Commission on the Arts Peer Review Panels. He was awarded the prestigious Legacy Award for Achievement in the Arts by the Dallas Dance Council in 2000, and placed in the Yuma Ballet Theatre's Hall of Fame in 2005. Since 2017 he has served on the Board of Directors of the Dance Council of North Texas.
Believing very strongly in Regional Dance America, Mr. Clower has served as the Director of Ballet at numerous RDA Craft of Choreography Conferences (NCI). He has been a guest teacher for Regional Festivals since 1992, and was a guest teacher at the RDA National Festivals in 1997, 2007, and 2017. Mr. Clower has proudly served in the capacity of Adjudicator for RDA/NE (00), RDA/Mid States (03), SERBA (13), and RDA/SW (17 National Festival in Phoenix, AZ). He will once again adjudicate SERBA in 2019. He has been Ballet Faculty at The Glenda Brown Choreography Project many times since its inception.
Mr. Clower has staged and created ballets for companies all over the United States. He has also worked with many opera companies, including the Santa Fe Opera, the Dallas Opera, and the Lyric Opera of Dallas. Companies have performed his choreography all over the world.
Since 2001 Thom Clower has worked around the world as a freelance master teacher and choreographer. His work has included regional companies and schools, and he has been a guest teacher at professional companies such as Oklahoma City Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theater and Atlanta Ballet. He has been a guest teacher at Broadway Dance Center, Associate Ballet Master for Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, and has served annually as Ballet Master for Young! Tanzsommer – Stars of Tomorrow International since 2002. Since the beginning of the 2018-2019 season, Mr. Clower is the Artistic Director of the Ballet Ensemble of Texas, and on the faculty of the Ballet Academy of Texas, both in Coppell, TX.
Sharon Bowdich Easley ~ Director
Sharon was born and raised in Dallas. Her passion for dancing began at the age of 3 when her mother enrolled her at Cranford House. From there, her love of dance kept growing. Sharon was an original dancer for the Dallas Civic Ballet, later becoming Dallas Ballet. At the age of 16, Sharon was chosen by George Skibine to be the Guest Ballerina for Phoenix Ballet’s production of Sleeping Beauty as the lead Aurora. She then appeared in Little Rock Civic Ballet’s Daphnis and Chloe, also choreographed by Skibine. Sharon was selected for intensive training at School of American Ballet, Harkness House and New York City Ballet’s summer intensive program with George Balanchine.
Continuing her ballet career, Sharon joined Pittsburgh Ballet Theater after graduating from Skyline High School. PBT toured extensively in the United States. Performances included Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake, Giselle, Nutcracker, and more.
After her return to Dallas, Sharon married her loving husband Mike, and they had a beautiful daughter, Jennifer. In 1988, Natalie Skelton honored Sharon when she asked her to take over her studio as owner and artistic director of Natalie School of Dance. She then opened her own studio, Dallas Dance, and has since been running their family businesses.
Sharon’s earliest inspirations, Lorraine Cranford and Natalie Skelton, are not only the founders of Dallas Civic Ballet, but were instrumental in the formation of the Dance Council of North Texas (formerly the Dallas Dance Council). It is an honor for Sharon to be a part of what they started and being able to continue to help young dancers achieve their dreams.
Jason Fowler ~ Director
Jason Fowler was born in Dallas and began his ballet training at the age of 8 and continued his training at the Dallas Ballet Center and Dallas Ballet Academy. In 1993, Mr. Fowler entered the School of American Ballet (SAB), the official school for New York City Ballet. He was invited to join the company in April of 1996 and was promoted to soloist in 2006. In addition to numerous corps de ballet roles with New York City Ballet, he has performed soloist and principal parts in Bigonzetti’s VESPRO, Balanchine’s DIVERTIMENTO NO. 15, SCOTCH SYMPHONY , AGON, SYMPHONY IN C, THE FOUR TEMPERAMENTS, LA VALSE, AND CHACONNE, and Christopher Wheeldon’s POLYPHONIA. While at NYCB Mr.Fowler also worked closely with Susan Stroman, creating the role of Mr. Griffith in THE BLUE NECKLACE.
Since 2010, Mr. Fowler staged ballets for Mr. Wheeldon at the Royal Ballet, New York City Ballet, Boston Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Ballet Arizona, Austalian Ballet, Karlsruhe Ballet, Corella Ballet, Joffrey Ballet. He also staged a ballet for Benjamin Millepied in Dortmand, Germany.
In 2012, Jason was Associate Choreographer to Benjamin Millepied for HANDS ON A HARDBODY in La Jolla, CA. His film credits include CENTER STAGE.
Debbie Sherrington ~ Director
Debbie Sherrington has two passions – education and real estate. A native of Russellville, Ark., she earned a degree in elementary education from the University of Arkansas. That led to a job as a teacher, of course, but it also influenced her personal choices. Debbie and her husband are proud parents of four children who have thrived in Dallas’ public schools. In fact, Debbie has been the president of the PTAs at all of her kids’ campuses. But real estate is in Debbie’s blood. She grew up in the business, with her parents being among the most successful Realtors in the Natural State. So a career in real estate seemed like a natural fit. “I love when I’m showing a property and I can see in the buyers’ eyes that it’s a match,” Debbie says. “I love learning from a seller the history of their home and what they love about it.” Debbie values the friendships that develop during the buying or selling process. Consequently, she brings compassion, knowledge, and patience to each transaction, striving to understand her clients’ needs so they can be happy with their decision.
Brandon Tijerina ~ Director
Bhuvana Venkatraman ~ Director
Bhuvana Venkatraman is an enthusiastic dancer/choreographer/RYT200 Certified Yoga Teacher, strongly rooted in tradition, specializing in the Indian classical Dance form, Bharatanatyam and Hatha Yoga. She is drawn towards these art forms, captivated by the vibrancy and the spiritual beauty they have to offer. She considers Bharatanatyam a medium for finding metaphors in every event in our lives and finding its deeper roots in spiritual elevation. Backed with strong training in this art form and its background in Yoga, she wants to blend the great art with strengthening aspects of Yoga to provide a medium for Body and Mind conditioning. She wants to create a holistic approach to wellbeing, taking into account the big picture and incorporating elements for physical, mental, and emotional health.
She bid farewell to a successful 20 year career in IT and automobiles, eager to find innovative new ways of sharing the classical Indian technique of Bharatanatyam with contemporary audiences. She founded Tejas Dance to enrich and popularize Bharatanatyam; and also to identify and encourage talent in the field.
Sherri Wooten ~ Director + Chair, Dance Planet Committee
Wooten began dancing at the age of 3, getting her early training from
Natalie Skelton and Margaret Hagler. At the age of 15 Sherri began
teaching at a recreation center and then opened her own studio in 1991.
She has attended numerous competitions, conventions and master classes;
she has judged beauty pageants, competitions and auditions. Sherri holds
a BS in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Health.
Sherri has served as co-director for DCNT’s Hoofin' Crew for three
Jerry Bywaters Cochran ~ Emeritus Director
Jerry Bywaters Cochran grew up in a Dallas family
that was actively involved in the arts. After high school she attended
the Juilliard School in New York. She received a Juilliard degree with
majors in both modern dance and ballet, and on graduation received an
award from the American Guild of Musical Artists as the outstanding
graduate in her field. She was the first instructor in stage movement
for the Dallas Theater Center and for ten years directed a school
devoted exclusively to modern dance in Dallas. In 1968 she inaugurated
the modern dance program at Texas Christian University (TCU) in Fort
Worth and remained in charge of that program for seventeen years. Her
choreography has been performed on the Juilliard Concert Series in New
York; by the Dallas Civic Ballet, the Dallas Black Dance Theatre, and
the Dance Ensemble of Dallas; in numerous performances at Texas
Christian University; and by companies and soloists in Washington, New
Orleans, Kansas City, many Texas cities, and Raleigh, North Carolina. In
1982 the Fort Worth Art Museum received a grant from the NEA to present
two of her works, along with two works of New York choreographer
Lucinda Childs, in a concert entitled, "Contemporary Choreography: Two
Views." In 1992, her achievements were recognized on two occasions --
first, by the Dallas Dance Council, which honored her with their annual
"Mary" award for her lifetime contribution to dance, then by the TCU
dance alumni group, which presented her a lifetime achievement award for
her contributions to the development of the Department of Ballet and
Modern Dance at Texas Christian University.
Michael Jenkins ~ Honorary Director
Michael A. Jenkins has been President of Leisure and Recreation
Concepts Inc. (LARC) since 1970. Mr. Jenkins has been President and
Managing Director of Dallas Summer Musicals Inc. since 1974. He serves
as an Executive Director of Bonnie & Clyde the Musical Ltd Liability
Co Mr. Jenkins has been Independent Director of RG America Inc.
(formerly, Invvision Capital Inc) since March 2004. He served as an
Independent Director of Silverleaf Resorts Inc. from August 5, 2009 to
May 2011. Mr. Jenkins attended Baylor University from 1960 to 1963.
Loris Anthony Beckles
Shelby Stanley Campbell
Alex Adiguzel ~ Bookkeeper
Donna Miller/Miller Consulting ~ Grant Writing & Consulting