MICHAELA GRACE BEST
Michaela Grace Best, a native of Marietta, Georgia, studied at UNC School of the Arts where she pursued her BFA. Her performance experience consists of lead roles in Roswell Dance Theatre's ballet productions, backup dancer for Rascal Flatts, UNCSA showcases (works by Melissa Hayden, Juel Lane, Mark Dendy, Alwin Nikolais, Larry Keigwin, & the lead role of Maria in Doug Elkins' Fräulein Maria), a guest artist for Gaspard&Dancers at ADF, and two seasons dancing with Ballet Hispanico's 2nd company, BHdos, in NYC. Michaela spent the past year in London, England dancing with EDge, London Contemporary Dance School's performance company, where she performed and taught workshops throughout the UK and internationally while pursuing her Master of Arts. Michaela also has a background as a champion baton twirler, teacher/choreographer, arts advocate, and was Miss Georgia 2011 where she competed in the 2012 Miss America Pageant. She currently resides in Oak Park, Illinois with her loving husband Jeremy and their three cats. This is Michaela’s first season with Red Clay Dance. "My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style." ~Maya Angelou
Chaniece Holmes, hailing from Maryland, began her training with Spirit Wings, a professional liturgical dance company that greatly shaped the way she dances today. She then continued to further her training with the Ballet Theatre of Maryland until her departure for college in the Fall of 2008. She has performed works choreographed by Juliet Forrest, Trebien Pollard, and Rick Southerland. Her love for the performing arts brought her to Chicago to continue her wonderful journey with dance; allowing her to delve deeper into her artistic process. She has performed with the Chicago Contemporary Dance Company (now renamed Noumenon Dance Ensemble) and other independent artists, since making Chicago her home. In addition to performing, Chaniece teaches throughout the city of Chicago; having done residency programs at Henderson Elementary and Wendell E. Greem Elementary. Also, she is one of the directors of the Red Clay Dance Youth Ensemble and teaches at the Iona Calhoun School of Ballet. Chaniece holds a B.A. in Dance with a distinction in Arts Administration from Goucher College in Baltimore, MD. Chaniece is very excited to begin her third season with Red Clay Dance.
Olivia Dante’ Jones began dancing at the age of three. She graduated from Idyllwild Arts Academy where she studied under Deborah Brockus, Ronald K. Brown, Patrick Frantz, and Lillian Barbeito. Later, she received a BFA in Dance from the University of the Arts. While at the University of the Arts, she was a recipient of the Susan B. Glazier Performance Award and trained with Kim Bears-Bailey, Sidra Bell, Christine Cox, and Ronen Koresh. Prior to graduation, she was invited to study in an International Ballet Program at Korea National University of the Arts in Seoul, South Korea. She has trained at schools across the country such as Boston Conservatory, The New Jersey Ballet, Debbie Allen Dance Academy, The Orlando Ballet, Alvin Ailey and Ballet Hispanico, performing pieces ranging from Classical Ballet to African. In addition to dance, Olivia is passionate about teaching and advocating for contemporary social, political, and feminist issues. Olivia is excited to begin her first season with Red Clay Dance Company.
Destine Young a native of Chicago Illinois began dancing at an early age. Destine is an Alumni of Columbia College Chicago holding a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Dance. She has studied many styles of movement and dance such as Modern, Ballet, Hip-Hop, Martial Arts, African, Breaking, Jazz, Tap, Liturgical, and Contact Improvisation. She continues to work extensively as a teaching artist, performer, community activist and choreographer with a movement that explores the relationships between contemporary modern, urban hip-hop, martial arts and street dance. Launching her career, Destine is honored to have performed works by and trained with choreographers both locally and internationally such as, Trae Turner, Malik Camara, Gary L. Beauford, Kelsa Robinson, Teena Marie Custer, Dianne McIntyre, Regina Taylor (Actress), Paige Cunningham, Darrell Jones, Keesha Beckford, Kyle Vincent-Terry, Kevin Iega Jeff and Gary Abott. Her latest work, “Sensible Traffic” premiered in the ‘Reframing Bodies’ 2014 Summer Showcase hosted by Kelly Bowker & Dancers. She is currently a company member with both Noumenon Dance Ensemble and is excited to begin her second season with Red Clay Dance Company.
A Columbus, Ohio native Sara Ziglar holds a BA in theater from The Ohio State University and a B.A in Dance Studies from Columbia College Chicago. Ziglar values the power of the intersection between art and life and hopes to form a genuine emotional connection with each audience through movement. Always looking for enriching collaborations she has worked with a number of Chicago companies and artists including; Salty Lark Dance, Kinfolk Collective, Rueben Echoles, Shari Simpson (Creative Nests), and Carly Czach. Ziglar also serves as a teaching artist and motivational mentor in the greater Chicago land area and is deeply committed to increasing access to arts education in underserved communities. Sara is the newly appointed Rehearsal Director for Red Clay Dance and is very excited to be in her fifth season with her home company.