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Key Artistic, Administrative, Educational, and Supporting Personnel

Mariah Layne French
(Founder/Artistic Director, CEO, Choreographer, Costume/Lighting Designer & CCA Instructor)
Mariah 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, where she also serves as creative director and administrator. Her position as an instructor includes: 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 seven vivacious children. Mariah thanks God for the overwhelming provision and opportunity he has given her to share and pursue work she loves.

Henry Bateman
(Trustee & Technical Volunteer)
Henry is a live event designer who has created lighting and scenic designs for theatre, dance, music, museum and industrial settings. Henry has been a lighting designer with the live events design team at Mills James Production since 2015. Concurrently, he has worked with Xclaim Dance Company, Modet Dance company, The Regular Theatre company, and Earlham College Artist and Lecture Series. Prior to working with Mills James, Henry worked with Chicago Stagehands as a lighting designer and stagehand. Henry received his B.A. in Theatre Arts from Earlham College. Henry completed his undergraduate internship as an lighting design assistant with Marcus Doshi in New York City. Prior to attending Earlham, Henry served as technical director for the Denison University Dance Department for 2 years. Henry has been helping Xclaim in technical capacities since 2016.

J. Shannon Filmore
(Dancer / Resident Choreographer / CCA Instructor)
Shannon 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. In 2017 Shannon became a co-direcotr and co-founder of Tru Kingdom Mega Dance Crew Inc., an all styles dance crew. Shannon joins Xclaim for his ninth season.

Philip French
(Techinical Director / Chief Financial Officer / Facilities Manager)
Philip graduated from Bishop Watterson High School in 1997. He attended Capital University from 1997 through 2000 with majors in psychology and marketing. He finished his higher education at Columbus State Community College with a major in nonprofit entrepreneurship. Early in his career, Philip worked as a mortgage originator (1999-2001). He founded Xclaim with wife Mariah Layne in 2007, serving as CFO, and Technical Director while working as a residential remodeler with Dave Fox Remodeling and Egner Construction. In 2011, Philip and Mariah founded P. Michael Home Solutions, a boutique Design/Build remodeling firm where Philip serves as Production Manager and Mariah, Director of Interior Design. Since the inception of Xclaim, Philip has overseen technical necessities associated with stage performances, recruiting stage hands and developing the technical capabilities of the organization. He has also served in an executive capacity, facilitating the mission and vision of the organization and managing financial matters. Philip shares an exciting and happy home with Mariah and their seven children.

Abby Goldman
(Xclaim Board Trustee / Proposed Outreach Facilitator / CCA Inclusion Instructor)
Abby is currently completing a Masters Degree in Occupational Therapy from The Ohio State University and holds a BA in Dance from Ball State University. She is a versatile graduate clinician with a strong leadership, therapy, and arts background. She is dedicated to professional collaboration and serving clients of all ages with fairness and compassion in a variety of hospital, clinical, and school settings. Abby will serve as a programming advisor and an educational leader.

Rachel Hunter
(Administration / Choreographer / CCA Instructor / Rehearsal Assistant / Costuming /Dancer)
Rachel has a bachelors 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. This year she also started teaching ballet at Charisma Centre for the Arts. During college Rachel worked with Xclaim as an administrative intern, this is her third season joining Xclaim on the stage.

Ruth Keysor
(CCA Instructor Pre-Ballet, Ballet, Modern)
Ruth earned her BFA in Dance at The Ohio State University in 2016. She attended high school at St. Francis DeSales. Ruth began her dance training at Charisma Centre for the Arts in 2000 where she has studied jazz, ballet, modern, pointe, and tumbling. Ruth was a part of Xclaim dance company for three seasons. She danced as a junior company member at Exaltation for two years and has participated in many dance productions and community outreach events with Christian Assembly Church. Ruth has served as a ministry intern at Ohio State. Ruth has been an instructor at CCA since 2014.

Bethany Lee
(CCA Instructor, Xclaim Ballet Mistress, Private Lessons)
Bethany was born and raised in Charlotte, NC. Her training began at an early age at the Charlotte City Ballet Company under the direction of Melissa Hale-Coyle and Lisa Leone. Upon graduating in 2003, Bethany continued her training at The Houston Ballet II on full scholarship. In the spring of 2005, she joined BalletMet and danced for the company for eleven seasons. In June 2010, Bethany had the opportunity to perform with BalletMet in Russia at the Moscow International Contemporary Festival. In past seasons some of her favorite principal roles she performed were: The Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Lucy in David Nixon's Dracula, The Afternoon of a Faun by Amadeo Amodio, Dwight Rhoden's Carmina Burana, the principal in Summer from James Kudelka's Four Seasons, as well as the role of Daisy in Jimmy Orrante's The Great Gatsby. December 2016 she retired from the company and is excited to continue her dance career through investing in the next generation of dancers. Bethany and her husband have two young children. Bethany looks forward spending more of her time focused on being a mother as well as having the opportunity to teach young students, challenging them and giving them all the wisdom that she has learned throughout her professional dancing career.

Amy Schmidt
(CCA Administrator & CCA Instructor in Ballet / Pointe)
BA Theatre, The Ohio State University
MFA Dance Notation, The Ohio State University
Social Dance Foundation Certification, Fred Astaire Dance Studios
Elementary Labanotation Certifican, Dance Notation Bureau

During college Amy reconstructed Fred Berk's 1953 "Holiday in Israel" from Lucy Venable's 1977 score and wrote a thesis on the significance of Israeli folk dance in cultural identity for her MFA in dance notation. For her BA Theatre with Distinction project and thesis "Let's Have a Dance...The Significance of Social Dance in Shakespeare" she directed scenes from Shakespearean plays that involved or referenced Renaissance period dances. Amy currently works in the OSU Department of Dance as Acedemic Program Coordinator. She has taught at CCA for six years and been an administrator since 2009; her classes have included ballet, pointe, modern, theatre, tambourine and social dancing. Amy is blissfully married to Matthew and enjoys being a mother to David Arn and Eleanor Lillian.

Kristin Sutter
(Dancer / Outreach Coordinator)
Kristins love for dance began to develop at the age of 6 when she went to her first ballet class at Charisma Centre for the Arts (CCA) with much fear and trepidation. She quickly came to delight in expressing herself through movement and continued to study dance through high school. While her primary instruction was in ballet, she later branched out into modern and jazz. During her time with CCA she studied under Daryse Saffran Osborne, Stephanie Hall, Mariah Layne French, Robin Ulrich, Chelsea Miles and others. Kristin also enjoyed the opportunity to explore a variety of Latin American dance styles while studying abroad in Costa Rica. Kristin is a recent graduate from Huntington University where she graduated with her Bachelors of Social Work and a Spanish minor. She is passionate about working with people, specifically children and families, and is excited to see how that passion will develop in the coming years. Outside of dance and work, Kristin can be found reading a good book, reveling in the beauty of cloud formation, and spending time with family. Kristin is delighted to have returned to her hometown of Columbus and for the opportunity to dance for her first season with Xclaim and re-awaken her love for dance/movement.

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