Artistic Managing Director
Originally from Austin, TX, Ashley studied with the American Dance Theater, Tinka’s Dance Studio, Slavin Nadel School of Ballet, and Round Rock Repertory Dance Centre (RRRDC) in which she was part of the performing troupe ‘dantsers.’ Ashley attended Dean College as a dance major where she was a part of their Dance Team and three faculty directed companies. Upon transferring to the University of Houston she received her BA in Dance Performance. While at U of H, Ashley performed as a swing/understudy at the Alley Theatre’s A Christmas Carol, and for the Bayou City Concert Musicals as a dancer/ensemble in On The Town and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. She has participated in the Texas Association Teachers of Dance (TATD) conventions, Alvin Ailey summer intensive, The Ailey School independent study program, and served as a Broadway Dance Center (BDC) summer intern. After spending two seasons with the Dayton Contemporary Dance Second Company (DCDC2), she is proud to be a member of the Contemporary West Dance Theater.
Eddie began at Ballet Folklorico de Puerto Rico. He received scholarships to Harkness Ballet and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Mr.Otero has performed with the Ailey Company at the Metropolitan Opera House in “Memoria” and their City Center season later that year. Mr.Otero danced with the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble in Denver, CO; Detroit City Dance Company, Danny Sloan Dance Company and with the Rod Rodgers Dance Company. Mr. Otero has also performed in West Side Story, A Chorus Line, Annie Get Your Gun, On Your Toes, Song and Dance, Starlight Express, Pirates of Penzance, Gypsy, Dreamgirls, Chicago the musical; Cats in Hamburg and Japan Tour of Fosse. He has choreographed and played the role of the MC in Cabaret, A Chorus Line, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Mr.Otero has taught at Nevada Ballet School. Mr. Otero is honored to be a part of this amazing Dance Company. Thank you for their beauty, grace and Divine Blessings.
CWDT Conservatory Director
Sumayah McRae is from Queens, NY. She fell in love with dance at Bernice Johnson’s Cultural Arts center. She is a graduate of LaGuardia H.S. of Performing Arts, known as “The Fame School”. She continued her training as a scholarship student at Alvin Ailey American Dance Center. She earned her B.F.A. from The Juilliard School under the direction of Benjamin Harkarvy.
Sumayah performed in concert dance companies such as, Fred Benjamin Dance, Pascal Rioult Dance Theatre, BattleWorks and The Parsons Dance Co. While at Parsons, Sumayah was privileged to perform David Parsons Signature Solo “Caught”. She also performed Caught with David Parsons in a rare duet at The Joyce Theatre’s Anniversary Gala. She assisted Mr. Parsons while he choreographed “Shining Star” on the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. She also taught and set his piece “The Envelope” on the Carte Blanche Dance Co. in Norway. Sumayah performed in Broadway’s 1st National Tours of Disney’s The Lion King and Oprah Winfrey’s The Color Purple. In The Color Purple, Sumayah played Olivia and was a Dance Captain. She also performed on Broadway in a tribute for The Wiz with several original cast members. She has also performed excerpt tributes of Hamilton, Chicago, West Side Story and Phantom of the Opera for E Plus Productions.
Sumayah has been a featured dancer with CHER for over 13 years performing in her Las Vegas residencies at Caesar’s Palace, The Park MGM, & MGM National Harbor in D.C. She has also performed in music videos and on her international and domestic tours, Dressed to Kill, Classic Cher, and Here We Go Again Tours. Sumayah has also accompanied Cher on private performances around the world.
She has performed on the BET awards with Toni Braxton. Her tv credits include, The Voice, New Year’s Rockin’ Eve w/ Dick Clark, Dancing with the Stars, America’s Got Talent, The Today Show, Good morning America, Billboard Music Awards, and The Oprah Show with Cher & Tina Turner. She also performed at The Met Gala with Cher. In Las Vegas, Sumayah was the Assistant Choreographer for the Donnie & Marie Christmas Tour. She also performed in Vegas The Show at Planet Hollywood. Sumayah was on faculty teaching for LaGuardia H.S. of P.A., Eliot Feld’s Ballet Tech, and she taught and choreographed for The Joffrey Ballet School NYC Summer. She has also judged and taught for dance competitions such as Dancers INC, Sheer Elite, LV Dance Experience, ViewPoint and Regional Dance America.
Most recently, Sumayah is honored and excited to have been appointed Ballet Mistress and Coach for Contemporary West Dance Theatre and Conservatory under Founder and Artistic Director Bernard Gaddis.
JP O’Donnell, a Kansas City native, began his dance training at Miller Marley School of Dance under direction of Tara Wells, and Christopher Barksdale. He went on to receive a BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography from the esteemed University of Missouri-Kansas City, Conservatory of Dance. He has danced in “Grease” at Starlight Theatre in Kansas City, performed for Cedar Fair in Worlds of Fun’s “Grand Carnivale” parade, and on NBC, for The Plaza Lighting Ceremony, at the Country Club Plaza. He has also performed at Disney World in Downtown Disney, Union Station, the prestigious Kauffman Performing Arts Center and with Whidbey Island Dance Theatre in “The Nutcracker”. JP has collaborated with such artists as Christopher Huggins, Kevin Iega Jeff, Ronald Tice, Gary Abbott and Dee Anna Hiett. This is JP’s first season with Contemporary West Dance Theatre.
Born and raised in Las Vegas, NV, Kalie McLaughlin grew up in a performing arts family. She began dancing at the age of two and grew up performing at her family’s dance studio. In 2014, Kalie graduated from Las Vegas Academy of the Arts with an Advanced Honors Diploma. During her time at LVA, Jeneane Gallo-Huggins was her biggest supporter and inspiration. After high school, she was accepted into the University of Nevada Las Vegas’ dance department with a full ride scholarship and graduated four and a half years later with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Performance and Choreography, and a Pilates minor. Kalie was also presented the Certificate of Excellence Award in 2019, given to only one Fine Arts senior every year. During this time, she was a high-level collegiate and amateur Latin ballroom dancer and competed and performed around Las Vegas with her ballroom partner, at the time, Gary Knox-Derry.
During her time at UNLV, she traveled in and out of the country to teach Pilates and children dance. She loves traveling and was blessed to visit four different countries during her time with the UNLV dance department. Kalie was chosen to study abroad for a semester in Seoul, South Korea in the fall of 2016 and studied ballet, modern, and traditional Korean dance with the Korea National Sports University dance department. Currently, Kalie lives in Las Vegas, Nevada working in the community as an elementary school teacher, teaching kids dance, working in the physical therapy department with Pilates, and is a single mom! After her long break from dance to have her baby, she is excited and blessed to have the amazing opportunity to dance with Contemporary West Dance Theatre.
Assistant Rehearsal Director
Born in San Diego, California, Shelby began her training at the Chula Vista Ballet (CVB) under Artistic Director Taeko Nishino. At CVB, Shelby trained in the Vaganova technique and performed many full-length ballets and excerpts. Shelby continued her pre-professional training first at The Kirov Academy of Ballet D.C., followed by The HARID Conservatory. Shelby then moved to the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School where she became versatile in ballet, jazz, and Graham and Horton modern techniques. While at these schools, she performed corps de ballet roles and excerpts in Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Le Corsaire, La Bayadére, Paquita, Don Quixote, and Sleeping Beauty, as well as original modern works. Shelby also trained at Alvin Ailey, Boston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, and Ellison ballet. In 2016, Shelby was a guest artist with Sapporo City Ballet. In 2017, Shelby returned to Japan, where she competed in the Japan Grand Prix and was awarded direct entry into the Alvin Ailey Summer Program. Shelby graduated from Butler University with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance Pedagogy at and is continuing to study to become a physical therapist. At Butler, Shelby has performed as an original cast member of Patrick de Bana’s Falling Sky, corps in George Balanchine’s Serenade, lead Arabian Princess in The Nutcracker, corps de ballet and demi-soloist roles in various classical ballets, and contemporary works. Shelby joined CWDT in 2022. Since then she has performed in original and new works such as Bolero, Coup de Grace, Shards, Dreamtime, Starburst, and Steel and Bone.
Charmaine began her formal dance training at the Hartford Ballet School. After a year, Charmaine moved to New York to study with founder Arthur Mitchell of the Dance Theatre of Harlem while continuing her formal education at the Professional Children’s School. She rose through the ranks quickly from apprentice to corp-de-ballet, eventually becoming principal dancer and one of the company’s ballerinas. She electrified audiences with her performances in a broad spectrum of roles.
She is best known for her role as The Firebird, choreographed by John Taras and Medea, choreographed by Michael Smuin. In 1988, as principal dancer, Charmaine was invited to perform in the former Soviet Union as part of the United States Cultural Exchange Initiative. During this historic visit, Charmaine and the Dance Theatre of Harlem were inducted into the prestigious Kirov Museum, featuring Charmaine as one of the featured dancers representing as cultural ambassador to the United States.
KEVIN C. GIBBS
ASSOCIATE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR EMERITUS
Kevin has performed in ballet, jazz, modern dance, trapeze, and contortion throughout the United States and Europe. He gained a BFA from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, and his MFA from NYU Tisch School of the Arts.
Kevin has been a principal dancer in Momix, Chenango Ballet, Fokine Ballet, Central Dance Theater, Lincoln Midwest Ballet, and The Denver Ballet Arts. Most recently, he has appeared as a principal dancer in Cirque du Soleil’s Zumanity. Kevin’s innovative choreography has been performed by the 2nd Avenue Dance Company in New York, and his piece Fling was featured at New York City Center in the Gala for Career Transitions for Dancers.
Kevin’s work with choreographers such as Ann Reinking (Fosse), Dwight Rhoden (Complexions), Sean Curran (NYC Opera), Mark Morris, Moses Pendleton (MOMIX), and Miriam Mahdavianni (NYC Ballet) has given him the experience and inspiration to take on the role of Rehearsal Director for LVCDT. His experience teaching Yoga, Trapeze, Acrobatics, Ballet, Jazz, and Creative Movement for Children, throughout New York City, Midwest, France, and Spain, ensures that he is well qualified to motivate this diverse company.
In addition to his dancing credits, Kevin has made national and international television appearances, as well as being featured in magazines such as DNR, Dance Spirit, Crunch, What’s On-Vegas, Dancer, and Zink. Q Vegas voted him the “Sexiest Dancer on the Strip” in 2006.
FORMER ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR
Born in Beirut, Lebanon Marie-Joe began her dance studies at the age of 3. Growing up in New Jersey she continued her dance training with “Encore! Performing Arts Center” in addition to gymnastics training from “Art of Gymnastics & Cheer.” She later attended UNLV Fine Arts where Marie-Joe graduated with a B.F.A. in dance performance. Her studies have included performances at the International Dance Festival in Kiel, Germany; UNLV collaboration with Korea National Sport University in Seoul, Korea; University of Arizona Jazz Festival in Tuscon, AZ; Fringe Festival in Adelaide, Australia; and UNLV’s company concerts. She has trained with master teachers from Hubbard Street, Giordano’s Dance Centers, and Alvin Aliey American Dance Theater. In addition, she has performed in works by various choreographers such as: Bernard H. Gaddis, Ulysses Dove, Alvin Aliey, Rennie Harris, Roni Koresh to name a few. She has also performed with Nevada Dance Project and Cleo Parker Robinson’s International Dance Festival. Along with teaching master classes at local high schools, Marie-Joe has taught master classes at the 2007 and 2008 Maga Domene Dance Convention in Monterrey, Mexico, as well as setting Mr.Gaddis’ work at colleges and universities across the U.S. Marie-Joe began her journey with LVCDT since it’s inception in 2006 as an apprentice and has worked her way through directorship roles leading to her position today, as well as being one of LVCDT’s principal dancers. She would like to express her gratitude to Bernard for giving her this amazing opportunity, as well as her family and friends for their love and support!