Dance Artists - 19/20
As a soloist, choreographer and master teacher, Ms. Gray has toured extensively across the U.S. and abroad and in 1989 co-founded Tapestry Dance Company in Austin, TX with Deirdre Strand and currently serves as Producing Artistic Director & Artistic Director of The Soul to Sole Tap Festival. A graduate of The American Academy of Dramatic Arts/NYC, Ms. Gray has shared the stage with Lon Chaney, Chuck Green, Steve Condos, Brenda Bufalino, Donald O’Connor, Fayard Nicholas, Buster Brown, Savion Glover, Gregory Hines, Jimmy Slyde, Sarah Petronio, Dianne Walker and many others in such productions as The Great Tap Reunion, Tap Do/Wop, Just Friends, Masters of Tap, Tap City, Chicago on Tap and Women in Tap. She was chosen to work with legend Charles ‘Honi’ Coles in America’s first creative residency for tap at The Colorado Dance Festival and again with Jimmy Slyde and was featured in the documentary A Class Act: The Magic of Honi Coles. She was a founding member and Managing Director of the touring company Austin on Tap, served on the Steering Committee of The International Tap Association and served as its director from 2008-2018 and was also a featured soloist in the Dance Magazine Calendar. She has also danced, choreographed and taught for Columbia College, The Univerisity of Texas, The Colorado Dance Festival, International Summer School/Cyprus, Dance Masters of America, TASIS/London, Tanzsommer/Austria, The St. Louis Tap Festival, The Chicago Human Rhythm Project, The NYC Tap Festival, Le Festival De Danse Encore and many others. Her book The Souls of Your Feet – A Tap Dance Guide for Rhythm Explorers has been translated in the Czech Republic and China and has been an Amazon.com Bestseller. Her numerous awards include the “Hoofer Award” by The New York City Tap Festival and a premiere member of the Austin Arts Hall of Fame. She has received numerous "Best Of" awards by the Critics Table in Austin and her work The Souls of Our Feet - A Celebration of American Tap Dance was chosen as an NEA American Masterpiece production and toured throughout the US, Canada, and China. She can be seen in the documentaries Tap or Die, Thinking on Their Feet - Women of the Tap Renaissance and Passing it Forward produced by PBS. Ms. Gray is also the producer of The Soul to Sole Festival in Austin, TX.
In his third season with Tapestry, Jesse began his dance training at the age of three at Moschetta’s Performing Arts Center under the instruction of Barbara Mochetta and Jaqueline Moschetta-Warren in Fredericktown, PA. He studied tap, ballet, jazz, hip-hop, and contemporary dance. Over his many years of training, tap dance remained his true passion. He has continued to foster his love of tap by not only performing but teaching and loves sharing his passion for tap dance with younger students. He currently is on staff at Tapestry’s Youth Academy, Evolution Dance Center, Dance by Carly and also teaches at St Elmo’s elementary school via Tapestry Dance Company’s outreach program. Jesse has performed in original TDC works including, One Step at a Time, Of Mice and Music – A Jazz Tap Nutcracker, Listen, Just Tap and the tour of passing it Forward, the American Dream? and recently returned from a five-week tour as a solo tap improv artist in China. Jesse is grateful for the opportunity to work side by side with the talented members of TDC under the direction of Acia Gray. When Jesse is not on stage or in the studio teaching, you will find him downtown performing on the streets with local Austin artists and musicians.
San Jose Dos Compos, Brazil
Originating from Brazil, Denis started tap dancing at the age of 12 and since then has also studied modern dance, street dance and jazz dance. He had the opportunity to study and work with several great teachers including his mentor, Samanta Varela, Charles Renato, Bruna Miragaia, Christiane Matallo, Steven Harper, Lene Alexander, Michelle Dorrance, Jason Samuels Smith, Chloe Arnold, Sam Weber and Nicholas Young. Denis has been awarded several scholarships for tap festivals worldwide throughout his career, including Tap City (New York), D.C. Tap Fest (Washington D.C.), The LA Tap Fest (Los Angeles), Tap In Rio (Brazil) and The Brazil International Tap Festival. He is a member and co-founder of the Tap New Generation Company in Brazil and the 4XTap Workshop Festival. Denis has also been invited to teach at many festivals including Tap In Rio, Encontro dos Ritmos and Sorocaba Tap. At the age of 17, Denis began teaching and from 2013 to 2017 he co-founded and owned Com Passo Companhia de Danca. There, he mentored and educated over 150 students of all ages and organized the biannual dance shows. In August of 2017, Denis moved to the United States and joined Tapestry Dance Company and has appeared such productions as Sound & Silence and the reprise of April Fools among others.
Claire Sheek has over 20 years of experience in various styles of dance, specializing in tap. Along the way she has had the privilege of being mentored by Barbara Duffy, Gene GeBauer, Thelma Goldberg the late Professor Robert L. Reed, not to mention the many master class instructors that have played a huge part in her dance education. As a young tap dancer Claire performed as a member of Prof. Robert L. Reed’s St. Louis Hoofers Club, and has gone on to dance in the Denver-based company 7Dancers, as a guest performer with Anthony LoCasio’s #TapLife Company, with her own companyRocky Mountain Rhythm and as a solo artist. In her early 20’s Claire discovered her passion for teaching tap. She earned two Tap Teacher Training Certificates (Level 1 & 2) from the American Tap Dance Foundation. In an effort to build a stronger tap community Claire founded Rocky Mountain Rhythm in 2014, which has become the go-to resource for tap in Colorado. Since then she has curated many local tap events, master classes, and performances for the community. Claire strives to pass on her love of the art form through her performance and teaching. She is excited and grateful to join Tapestry Dance Company this season.
Growing up in Sydney, Australia, Jonah started tap dancing at age 10 under the direction of Dein Perry, the founder, and creator of the world-renowned show “Tap Dogs”. As a child Jonah had the opportunity to appear on TV in ‘The Living Room’ and ‘Dance Academy’, sporting event telecasts such as the V8 Supercars race and the opening ceremony of the World Master Games as well as the live TV broadcast of the Sydney Lord Mayor’s New Years Eve Party at the Sydney Opera House. After high school, Jonah traveled to New York City to take part in Broadway Dance Centre’s International Student Visa Program where he met and was mentored by Aaron Tolson. During this time abroad Jonah was able to attend ‘The Intensive’ run by Aaron Tolson and Derick Grant, Orange County Tap Festival, Sarah Reich’s Tap Music Project and Andrew Nemr’s ‘Tap Dance Freedom’ intensive. Once back in Australia, Jonah continued his training under original Tap Dog member Nathan Sheens who prepared him to dance alongside the Tap Dogs at the Sydney Theatre Company’s Gala Fundraiser organized by Cate Blanchett and as a Tap Dog himself for corporate functions. Jonah has also performed for charity events and at a Sydney nightclub while also regularly teaching around the city sharing the knowledge he has gained overseas and sharing the passion for the art form that his teachers have passed onto him. Jonah was thrilled to be accepted into the 2019 School of Jacobs Pillow Tap Program and is excited to be moving to Austin Texas to join Tapestry Dance Company for their 2019-2020 30th anniversary season.