EDDIE OTERO

ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR

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.

ASHLEY GEZANA

ASSISTANT ARTISTIC 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.  

Ashley Gezana

Sumayah McRae

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.

Sumayah

AVREE WALKER

ARTISTIC PROGRAM DIRECTOR – CWDT STUDIO COMPANY

Avree Walker began his early training at the West Las Vegas Arts Center, under the direction of Dr. Marcia Robinson. Mr. Walker is a proud an alumnus of the Las Vegas Academy of the Arts, and attended the University of Nevada Las Vegas as a dance scholar, representing the dance department in South Korea, Canada, Europe, and throughout the U.S. Mr. Walker became an artist with the Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Theatre (Contemporary West Dance Theatre) under the direction of Bernard H. Gaddis, touring and performing works by Alvin Ailey, Ulysses Dove, Elisa Monte, Rennie Harris, Milton Myers, Zane Booker, Hope Boykin, and many others. Regional credits include Dreamgirls, Once on This Island, The Color Purple, Black Nativity (Las Vegas and Atlanta), The Music Man, Spamalot, The Wiz, Cinderella, Matilda the Musical (regional premiere), and The Prince of Egypt the Musical (Dreamworks). Mr. Walker performed in Donn Arden’s Jubilee! at Bally’s Las Vegas from 2015 to 2016. Prior to the COVID 19 pandemic Mr. Walker was a part of David Saxe productions, Vegas! The Show at Planet Hollywood on the Las Vegas Strip. Mr. Walker currently serves as resident choreographer for Contemporary West Dance Theatre and is proud to be the Program Artistic Director of the CWDT ARTSWORK Conservatory and pre-professional program. In 2019, Mr. Walker joined the dance faculty of the Las Vegas Academy of the Arts as the first full-time African American dance instructor in the school’s history.

Avree Walker

CHARMAINE HUNTER

CO-FOUNDER

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.

Charmaine Hunter

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.

Kevin C. Gibbs

MARIE-JOE TABET

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!

Marie-Joe Tabet