To guide the dancers of Tri-Cities High School VPA Magnet program into becoming technically solid, captivating, and innovative Professional Performing Artists.
Ms. Jackson- Director of Dance
Toshia Jackson is a native Texan raised Georgian. She began taking dance classes at a very young age at her Pre-K day care center in Houston, TX. The dance instructor observed her and offered her a scholarship to become a student at the Kumba House. After moving to Atlanta, Georgia, her dance abilities were nurtured while attending the Decatur School of Ballet and the Clayton Festival School of Ballet (now known as Atlanta Festival Ballet). During this time she was accepted into the Dekalb County Fine Arts Magnet Program and ultimately accepted as a student at Dekalb School of the Arts. Here she received recognition for her abilities as a dancer with Who’s Who Among High School Students in 2000. While continuing her formal education at Stephens College in Columbia, MO, Toshia was also recognized in Who’s Who Among College Students in 2002. After successfully completing her studies and receiving a B.F.A. degree in Dance at Stephens College, she went on to pursue her career as a professional dancer with various dance companies in Wisconsin, Texas, and California.
Toshia began her career as a Public School Dance Educator in August of 2012 at Maricopa High School located in Maricopa, AZ. Under her leadership and guidance for five years, the dance program outgrew the initial slots allotted for classes and extra classes had to be added to accommodate the number of students requesting the dance class as an elective. In July 2016, Ms. Jackson became a proud graduate of Northcentral University where she received her Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction. In the summer of 2017, Toshia also completed the Introductory/Beginning level Lester Horton Certification Program with the Ailey School located in New York. This is her first year as the Dance Director of the VPA Magnet Program.
Mr. Allyne Gartrell - Master Teacher & Adjunct Professor
Allyne D. Gartrell
is native of Atlanta, GA, Gartrell brings twenty five years of experience to the art of dance. A graduate of
the Dekalb Center for the Performing Arts in Atlanta. Allyne also attended Florida A&M University and Florida State University where he excelled in Instrumental Music and Dance. As a dancer, Allyne has worked with Joel Hall Dance Theater, Ballet Wisconsin, City Ballet Theatre and for seven years he was one of the Lead Male Dancers for the Internationally known Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, where he served as Company Instructor and Rehearsal Directorfor DCDC II. While at DCDC, Allyne performed ballets of Alvin Ailey, Donald McKayle,Talley Beatty, Ulysses Dove, and Donald Byrd to name a few. His Broadway credits include; the Wiz, A Chorus Line, Sophisticated Ladies, and his most notable performance as Crown in the National Touring Production of Porgy & Bess. Allyne also served as Assistant to the Tony AWard Winning Choreogpher Hope Clark for the production of Porgy & Bess which premiered at the Kennedy Center for the Arts.
Over the past two decades Allyne has worked as Principal Male Dancer, Rehearsal Director and Resident Choreographer for the Dallas Black Dance Thaetre. In 2006, Allyne became Director of DBDT II, Dallas Black Dance Theatre's2nd Touring Company. Under his direction DBDT II elevated its artistic value and was able to establish a National Touring Season. Collaborations with the Allen Civic Orchestra in Peter & the wolf and the Dallas Symphony in Carnival of the Animals became staples of the Season! Allyne is a highly recognized Master Dance Instructor in the country-known for his high energy, & physically demanding ALLYNISM and Contemporary Ballet Classes. His pulsating choreography has been featured on several dance companies and Universities including, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, DBDT II, Milwaukee Dance Connection, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Morgan State University, Spelman College, City College of San Francisco, and Grambling State University. In 2006 Allyne choreographed Primary Movements; a contemproary ballet in collaboration with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, with orginal scoring by classical composer Jonathan Bailey Holland. Primary Movements became the official kick-off for Dallas Black Dance Theatre's 30th Anniversary Celebration.
In 2010, The ATLANTA DANCE CONNECTION, Atlanta's Premiere Contemporary Dance Company, under the direction of Mr. Gartrell made it's debut in Georgia. Addressing the need for an artistic outlet for young artist, the CONNECTION'S mission is to present quality art, entertainment and education in the field of Concert Dance. In 2004 Allyne was recognized for his contribution to at risk youth in the mid-west by Senator Russ Fiengold, and was awarded the 2004 AKA Trail Blazer Award for Outstanding Community Service. Currently Allyne is a member of the International Association of Blacks in Dance, Atlanta African American Dance Community, and for the past fifteen years he has serves as Scholarship Chairman for the Black College Dance Exchange, a coalition of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Allyne is the recepient of the 2009 Presidential Edition of Who's Who in the Arts, awarded the Dallas Black Dance Theatre 2009 Artist Award, and in December of 2009 Allyne was featured in Dallas Modern Luxuary Magazine as one of The New Iconoclasts for 2010. Under Allyne's leadership the ATLANTA DANCE CONNCETION has taken its place as one of the leading professional dance companies in the SOUTH! In 2011 the company received the Outstanding Community Partner Award for Dance Education and the 2011 Phoenix Award presented by Mayor Kasim Reed of Atlanta. In celebration of 5 Years of Artistic Excellence, May 22, 2015 was Proclamined ATLANTA DANCE CONNECTION DAY by the Atlanta City Council!
Mr. Levon Campbell - Ballet Master & Adjunct Professor
LeVon Campbell is a native of Chicago, IL, Le`Von began his professional dance training when he received a scholarship to join the Dance theatre of Harlem as a trainee with the company. After much hard work, Mr. Campbell became a member of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre's second performing company. Always striving to expand within the art of dance Mr. Campbell later joined George Faison's Universal Dance Experience.
Mr. Campbell's extensive dance credits include performing with The Katherine Dunham Dance Company, Morris Donaldson Dance Company, Rhondo Dance Theatre, Disney on Parade, Gene Marriancio Dance Company, Bryant Ballet, and Sesame Street Live. Mr. Campbell's Broadway and National touring include: "The Wiz" with Stephanie Mills, "Raisin" with Virginia Capers, "Timbuktu" with the late Ertha Kitt, " Pal Joey 78" with the late Lena Horne, and Donald McKayle's "Evolution of the Blues". Le`Von was also featured in the Opera Enscolto and Amistad.
Over the past decade Mr. Campbell has shared his gift of Dance with several local dance companies in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, Dallas Independent School District, Ardmore, Oklahoma School District, and the Atlanta Public School System. Le`Von also served as Ballet Master for Happy Nia Dance Theatre, Membership Coordinator for the Black Academy of Arts and Letters, and Associate Artistic Director/Company Touring Manager for the renowned Dallas Black Dance Theatre. Currently, Le'Von serves as Atlanta Dance Connection's Company Manager and Massage Therapist.