Mariah Layne French|
Mariah (Founder/Artistic Director, Choreographer, Costume/Lighting Designer, Outreach Coordinator & CEO) earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance from The Ohio State University in 2005, where she was awarded the Undergraduate Research Grant for her Honors Thesis, "Forging New Territory in Artistic Expression." Before attending OSU she majored in dance on scholarship at Ball State University, and performed as a member of the Ball State Dance Theater from 2001-2003. Mariah also studied Spanish, African, and Caribbean dance at Florida International University in Miami. She received her primary training from the Fort Wayne (IN) Ballet under the direction of Michael Tevlin, and from Northeast School of Dance with Beth Schiebel, where she performed as a member of its nationally recognized Jazz and Tap Companies. Mariah has worked closely with many distinguished masters and choreographers, including: Jeff Shade, Diego Salterini, Gregg Russell, Bebe Miller, Gary Lund, David Reuille, Lori Belilove, Freddie Moore, Susan Hadley, Rosiland Pierson and Yvonne Peters. She continues to cultivate her craft as an active member of the Columbus Dance Community.
Mariah has been an instructor at Charisma Centre for the Arts since 2004, teaching Jazz, Tap,
Lyrical, Modern, African and Dance Repertory. Her award winning choreography has been performed in Indiana, Florida, Colorado, and in Ohio. It has been featured at many community events throughout central Ohio including performances at The Columbus Arts Festival, The Columbus Dance Theater, BalletMet Columbus, The Bluestone (formerly BoMA), King Arts Complex, Columbus Performing Arts Center, in the Columbus Dances Series, in 60x60 produced by New York based Vox Novus, and at The Ohio State University's Sullivant Hall.
In 2007 Mariah and her husband Philip founded Xclaim. They reside in Columbus, Ohio with their six vivacious children. Mariah thanks God for the overwhelming provision and opportunity he has given her to share and pursue work she loves.
Kevin (Dancer / Aerialist / Choreographer) is from Cleveland but relocated to Columbus to pursue his occupation as a high school Spanish teacher and further his training in his recently reignited passion for dance. He began his training primarily interested in Hip Hop where he has danced with Roman Element, Step One All Stars, and most recently with Tru Kingdom Megacrew. His step choreography has been featured in Xclaim productions. His other dance experiences include: West African, as well as learning some basics in ballet, hip hop, contemporary and beginning in the 2013-2014 Season, aerial with Kelsey Keller. That is the year Kevin dove back into dance as a trainee with Xclaim. Xclaim is his first experience with contemporary and jazz dance styles, but he has been an enthusiastic and dedicated participant since. 2017-2018 is his fifth season. Kevin's interests include world travel and learning about other cultures.
Caroline (Dancer/ Rehearsal Assistant / Choreographer/ Publicity & Networking) has studied dance in England, North Carolina, Ohio, and California. In Orange County, she trained at Ballet Pacifica under Amanda McKerrow and John Gardner. After intensive ballet training for twelve years, including summers at The Rock School and ABT Detroit, she broadened her dance training by competing nationally in contemporary, jazz, and hip hop. Caroline earned her BFA in Dance at The Ohio State University. During her time there, she performed works by Susan Hadley, Esther Baker-Tarpaga, and Meghan Durham-Wall, along with having the opportunity to study abroad at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London, England. Since graduating, Caroline enjoyed time dancing in New York City, but is happy to be back in Columbus. When Caroline isn't dancing she can be found working as an ER nurse. Caroline is delighted to join Xclaim for her fourth season.
J. Shannon Filmore
Shannon (Dancer / Choreographer) is a 2006 graduate of Fort Hayes Performing Arts High School, where his passion for dance began. He has also studied at BalletMet Columbus, the Columbus Youth Ballet, with Alfred Dove, Shelly Steward. Shannon's performances and affiliations are diverse from East coast to West. Shannon travels often to pursue dance opportunities including workshops with Monsters of Hip Hop, Movement Lifestyle, The Pulse, Broadway Dance Center in NYC and in studios in major cities including Atlanta, LA and Chicago, in many cases the recipient of scholarship awards. Shannon has also worked closely with Quilan (Cue) Arnold in various projects including participating a dancer and instructor of On Cue classes. Locally His dance credits include OSU Dance Linx, The Dove Project, work as a background dancer and choreographer with various recording artists, and dancing in Africa to America presented by Judah Performing Arts. His choreography has been featured in a Michael Jackson Tribute in the Fort Hayes 2010 Spring Concert, OSU Dance Linx, for recording artist Paris and in mainstage productions for Xclaim since 2011. He has worked as an instructor of Hip Hop styles and Street Jazz throughout Central Ohio and the Midwest, including: Richland Academy, Diamond Dance and Fitness, Cutting Edge Dance, Columbus Dance Academy, NorthPoint, Cutting Edge Dance, Infusion Dance Company, Funklab of Dayton and Millennium Dance of Pittsburgh. Recently Shannon co-founded and helps to lead Tru Kingdom Mega Crew. Shannon joins Xclaim for his sevemth season.
Rachel (Dancer / Choreographer / Rehearsal Assistant / Administration) has a bachelor’s degree in Theater and minors in Arts Administration and Dance from Ohio Northern University. She began her training at Charisma Centre for the Arts where she studied under Daryse Saffran Osborne, Stephanie Hall, Mariah Layne French, Yvonne Peters, Freddy Moore, Chloe Gonzalez and others. She has also studied under notable masters: Thom Cobb, Erich Yetter, and other instructors at Ohio Northern University. Notable performances include: “Catharsis” from the Eisenhower Dance Company, performances with Charisma Centre for the Arts, and several outreach performances with Xclaim. She has also served as choreographer for collegiate dance concerts at Ohio Northern University. During college Rachel worked with Xclaim as an administrative intern, this is her second season joining Xclaim on the stage.
Kelsey (Alumnus, Aerial Director/ Choreographer) was born in California, but grew up in Macedonia, Ohio, where she spent her school years dancing and cheerleading competitively. She has a bachelor's degree from John Carroll University and a Ph.D. in Biophysics from the Ohio State University. In 2011 Kelsey took her passion for dance and acrobatics into the air, through training with Morph Dance Theater's director Chloe Gonzalez. She continued her training as an aerial performer and instructor with Infinity Aerial here in Columbus. She has since trained across the country, at places such as the Circus Arts Conservatory, the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts, and the Denver Aerial Acrobatic Arts Festival. She competed as a top ten finalist in the U.S. Aerial Championships in NYC and most recently adds Cirque du Soleil Acrobat (Club Med Punta Cana) to her resume! Kelsey resides in Pittsburgh, PA, where she is co-founder and director of Iron City Aerial, co-owner and instructor at Iron City Circus Arts. This is Kelsey's ninth season working with or directly collaborating with Xclaim. She aims to inspire others through dance and circus arts, as they continuously inspire her.