Meet Our Program Alumni
Hua Ye (2022 EAF)
Hua Ye (Jane) is a classical pianist born and raised in Urumqi, Xinjiang Province, P. R. China. After earning a B.A. in International Journalism at Hong Kong Baptist University, she moved to the U. S. to pursue her dream of classical music. Studying on full scholarship, Jane earned two M.M. degrees in Piano Performance and Collaborative Piano at Kansas State University and the UMass Amherst, respectively. She now performs as a freelance musician in Boston while working as a piano teacher at her home studio A St. Piano. Her recent concert appearances for Greater Boston audiences include the Boston Public Library, Faneuil Hall, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Longwood Cricket Club, 2Life Communities, Belmont-Watertown United Methodist Church, Carriage House Violins Masterclass Series, and Groupmuse salons.
Noemi Saafyr Paz (2018 EAF)
Noemi ‘Saafyr’ Paz, best known as Saafyr is, Caribbean, Lesbian, Indigo, Child of Deaf Adults (CODA), pleasure activist, and a proud negro-spiritual liberator. Originally from Boston, MA, Saafyr is the Creator of SOS by Saafyr creatively sharing stories online & in person nationwide. She is a performing & recording artist, a trained facilitator, community organizer, event host, content creator, and an American Sign Language interpreter. Saafyr cultivates brave spaces through partnerships and creativity. You can listen to her music and podcast on Spotify, Soundcloud, and YouTube. To learn more, sign up for updates at www.saafyr.com.
DeShaun Gordon-King (2022 AMA)
DeShaun Gordon-King is quickly becoming a flutist of note. Known for his soulful tone and mesmerizing phrasing, he has given performances throughout Europe, Asia, and the United States earning him recognition as a Trevor James Alto Flute artist. DeShaun grew up surrounded by jazz and gospel music beginning his classical studies while at Duke University. Inspired by these worlds of music and spirituality, DeShaun is passionate about programming that blends them together to create unique and healing concert experiences. He is a vocal advocate for new music, especially works by composers of African and Latinx heritage. His primary teachers include Sergio Pallotelli, Rebecca Troxler, Keith Underwood, and Kaori Fujii.
Judsine Blaisdell Whyte (2022 EAF)
Born in raised in Boston to Panamanian immigrants, Judsine grew up in a culturally evolving world. It is color and wonder inspired the attraction Judsine had been growing for creation since she could remember. Being thrown straight into the free world after graduating from UMASS Amherst with a Degree in Non-profit arts management & social justice, she hopes to find her next inspiration.
Angele Maraj (2022 EAF)
ANGELE MARAJ (she/her/hers) is a Trinidadian-American theatre artist, writer and music maker. Since moving to Boston from Florida in 2015, she has performed with many theatre organizations such as The Footlight Club, The Theatre Offensive and Company One. Most recently, she played Kiswar Al-Hakim in the new musical "The Prince and the Painter" at the Boston New Works Festival with Moonbox Productions. Her experiences as a performer in new works inspired Angele to more deeply explore her own potential as a writer-creator. In early 2021 she developed the initial concept for the original musical "Once Upon A Carnival", a coming-of-age tale set in Trinidad & Tobago that uses the mythology and music of the island to explore themes of grief, identity and found family. She premiered three songs from the new musical in a showcase of her work as a composer and lyricist for her EAF capstone, and continues to work on its development along with the book writer, collaborator and longtime friend Brianna Pierre. Angele is also independently working on writing the stage play "le temps," a metaphysical dramedy that examines the question: Why do we choose to live? Currently, Angele is the assistant director and dramaturg for the November 2022 regional premiere of Lisa Loomer's "ROE" at the Footlight Club, where she also serves on the Play Selection and JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion) committees. Outside of her theatrical pursuits, Angele is a certified career coach and works with the higher education nonprofit Duet.
Tiniqua Patrick (2017 EAF)
Event Producer. Arts Manager. Vocalist. Dunamis board member. Tiniqua is a Boston - based artist/producer specializing in intimate events. In 2016 she started her production company Meraki Productions LLC. (formerly known as Tiniqua&Co). As an inaugural member of Dunamis' Emerging Artist Fellowship Cohort, she was able to explore her dream of curating spaces for artists by founding the House Session Series in partnership with Dunamis, currently in its fourth season. Tiniqua's goal is to make the series a safe haven and launching pad for emerging artists of color in Boston. If Tiniqua is not celebrating artists at House Sessions, you can find her at the Eliot School as a curator for their Summer Concert Series or JP Porchfest curating a mainstage. If you are interested in planning an intimate event or learning more about Meraki Productions LLC. please visit our website.
Cassie Wang (2022 EAF)
Cassie Wang is a multidisciplinary artist exploring contemporary dance, design, technology, and everything in between. She calls Kansas City home and is currently based in Boston. Cassie graduated magna cum laude from Pomona College in 2021 with a B.A. in Computer Science and minors in Dance and Media Studies. There, she had the opportunity to originate works with choreographers such as Derion Loman, Becca Lemme, and Ronit Ziv and was the recipient of the DanceJerusalem Scholarship and the Virginia Princehouse Allen Dance Award. Currently, Cassie is a company member with VLA DANCE and KAIROS Dance Theatre and freelances with local choreographers—most recently Jessi Stegall, Luminarium Dance, Dara Capley, and Chavi Bansal. Her choreographic works have been presented by the Solstice Dance Project, ACDA Baja, NACHMO Boston, Dunamis, and most recently by Resilience Dance Company in St. Louis.
Zakiyyah Sutton (2017 EAF)
Zakiyyah is an artist-activist who utilizes music and visual media to explore themes that centralize marginalized communities via her production company, Black and Bold Productions. As an actress and classically-trained singer who is well-versed in Opera, Hip-Hop, Jazz, and R&B, she employs her extremely versatile skill-set to reach a broad range of audiences and craft a sound that is uniquely her own--including her most well-known, "Hip-Hopera". In addition to her artistic practice, Zakiyyah currently teaches voice at Harvard’s Holden Voice Program and works as a racial equity consultant with Arts Connect International, helping arts organizations reassess their practices through the lens of equity and creative justice.
Serge Alex (2020 AMA)
A 22-year-old creative and artist based in Boston, MA. He fell in love with music at a young age and started writing music on his own during his teen years with his friends. Some of his major influences comes from the sounds that are around him. Currently his signature style is R&B with alternative influences in it. He desires to genre bend and experiment with different sounds as his career continues.
Jo Troll (2019+2022 EAF)
Jo Troll is an aroace trans art-maker, teacher, and creative coach with a particular focus on using Irish dance as a means to build connection and community. Jo has studied Irish with Kieran Jordan since they were 11 years old, holds a graduate diploma in dance from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, and is experienced in a variety of traditional percussive dance practices. Jo has performed around Boston and virtually, including as part of OnStage Dance Company's Residency Program, Dancing Queerly, and Meraki's Y.A.M.S. The House Sessions, and teach regular virtual adult dance classes with students across the US and in Canada. Pre-pandemic, Jo also coordinated regular queer dance workshops in a variety of styles to create safe dance space and loves every minute spent dancing with their fellow queer folks.
Jay Connolly (2019 EAF)
Jay Connolly is a stage and film actor based out of Boston. Since graduating with a BFA in Performance from Salem State, Jay has been acting and teaching theatre throughout Massachusetts. Jay is also a certified fight choreographer and working his way into intimacy coordination as well. Some previous acting credits include: Through the Big Times and Back, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, Hamlet, The Critic. Outside of the world of theatre, Jay is a certified personal trainer and works with a DJ/ Entertainment company, Party Excitement Entertainment.
Aliza Franz (2021 AMA)
Aliza Franz is a Boston based dancer, collaborator, and arts manager. She has had the pleasure of working with VLA Dance, Lorraine Chapman the Company, Eliza Malecki Dance, Rachel Linsky, and Abilities Dance Boston. Aliza graduated from Skidmore College in 2020, where they earned a double major in Dance: Performance and Choreography and Psychology, with a minor in Gender Studies. Outside of dance, Aliza is the Creative Director of Zamana Art, a company that fosters interpersonal connection and team building through the lens of art and creativity. She is incredibly grateful to be working with Dunamis again as facilitator for their newest program Artists Anonymous, a bimonthly community space for Boston-based creatives. Aliza continues to explore their identity through movement and advocate for diversity in creative spaces.
Shavonne Brown (2020+2022 EAF)
Shavonne Brown is a Boston-based singer/songwriter. She’s performed primarily with her band Petrichor as a featured vocalist since 2013, and was one of the first artists to headline a house session with Meraki. Shavonne comes from a heavily musical gospel singing background,and with that, music became her first love. Through singing, songwriting and performance, Shavonne hopes to create an experience for her audience that leaves them feeling loved, understood, and confident.
Aneesh Kumar (2021 AMA)
Aneesh Kumar (He/Him/His) is an Arts Administrator, Trombonist, and Advocate. As a Houston native, Aneesh started playing the trombone at the age of 11 following in the footsteps of his older brother. He attended Northwestern University, receiving a BA in Music Performance with the dream of performing across the globe. He has been fortunate to perform with orchestras such as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Pacific Music Festival, and was a founding member in the award-winning trombone quartet, “The eNq”. Aneesh currently serves as the Education Coordinator for Silkroad Ensemble, a social impact organization and touring ensemble focused on creating music that engages difference, sparks cultural collaboration, and provides meaningful educational opportunities to help build a more hopeful and inclusive world. Prior to joining Silkroad, he worked with Dunamis Boston as an Arts Management Apprentice. Through his work, Aneesh hopes to create equitable spaces and provide resources to artists across the globe.
Natalie Halsey (2022 AMA)
Natalie Halsey is a student at Dartmouth College studying Film, French, and Studio Art. She worked with Dunamis in summer 2022 as an Arts Management Apprentice, and aspires to work in management on film production pipelines. Natalie also writes for the Dartmouth Jack’o’Lantern satire magazine!
Rauliz Paez Tamarez (2021 AMA)
Rauliz Paez Tamarez grew up in Lynn, Massachusetts. He got into art at a young age doing small sketches, but never fully delved into the arts field until later in his life. The spark that changed this was taking courses in Local art programs, which pushed his creative thinking and helped him figure out the kinds of mediums that genuinely interested him. Film was the main medium that caught his eye with how much versatility it allowed and the confidence it gave him. Now within his art, Rauliz finds himself experimenting with concepts outside of his comfort zone.
Mike Casey (2017 EAF)
Michael is a teaching artist for Urban Improv/rehearsal for life. He is also a teacher at Shattuck Child Daycare Center. Michael has been working with youth for 15 years and is still as passionate as ever for teaching. He has also studied theatre at Boston Arts Academy, Suffolk University, Bunker Hill Community College and with Company One, a local Boston theatre. Theatre has been instrumental in Michaels life and teaching theatre is his life passion.
Kaila Caffey (2022 Tisch Fellow)
Kaila is a creative from West Philly currently wrapping up her BA in Interdisciplinary Studies at Tufts University. Black life, history, and futures are central to her creative practice. Her creative background is dance but she has recently been exploring and playing with a long-time interest in filmmaking and photography. Her Philly roots remain strong and provide her with a particular care for community and a deep commitment to reflection and attunement to the needs and desires of the people and stories she works alongside. Her practice is constantly evolving as she learns, reads, watches, and collaborates.
Jade Etienne (2022 AMA)
Jade Etienne is a young, enterprising mezzo-soprano from Boston, MA . The root of her passion to pursue singing professionally stems from her childhood experiences, and a desire to encourage low-income black and brown students like her to pursue music. She believes that when these children are given proper music education, and provided with the resources to be able to explore the arts further, their entire livelihoods, experiences, creative outlets, and futures may be opened up in a way they would never have known otherwise. Jade is especially passionate about closing the gap of access to musical opportunities and tools to pursue the arts for these communities. At Gordon College, she is a leader on the council of the Black student union and works hard to make sure the Black community of her campus facilitates and participates in important conversations. Jade will graduate from Gordon College in voice. Through her primary education she grew into pursuing vocal performance, participating in chamber and advanced choral music, as well as beginning to study solo vocal repertoire. Choral music has played a special role in her development as a voice student as well. She looks forward to continuing her studies at the graduate level, and pursuing a career in opera after achieving her masters in vocal performance, and pursuing a career in teaching, studying, and flourishing as an artist.
Susanna Turner (2023 EAF)
Susanna Turner (She/Her) was born in Bogota, Colombia. Along with her adoptive mother, an international school principal from Newton, MA, Susanna has lived in six different countries: Colombia, Argentina, India, Pakistan, USA & Venezuela. She is passionate about telling stories about being an adoptee, growing up internationally, and being a Third Culture Kid. She is an actor, photographer, visual artist & storyteller, represented by WSM Talent (Boston / New York).
Jude Torres (2023 EAF)
Jude Torres (he/him) is a multi-hyphenate actor-educator-musician-singer-songwriter. Born in Los Angeles and raised in Boston by Filipino immigrants, Jude has carved a unique path at the intersection of art and science. Jude has worked on stage, film, and voiceover work with The Umbrella, Boston Theater Marathon, Company One, Footlight Club, Phoenix Playmakers, Moonstruck Theater, Boston Rock Opera, Fresh Ink, Chuang Stage, Central Square, AAPI Playwright Collective, New Rep, Speakeasy, Liberty Mutual, L’Oreal, and Paramount Pictures. He is a Board Member of the Footlight Club as he serves as the Director of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI). Jude has had the privilege of studying at Boston Latin School, Emmanuel College, Community Music Center of Boston, New England Conservatory, Harvard Extension School, and the MGH Institute of Health Professions. Jude is the current Clinical Fellow of Speech Language Pathology at the Outpatient Clinic of Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Cambridge, and is set to receive his Certificate of Clinical Competence. Jude would like to send love to the amazing 2023 EAF cohort, the entire Dunamis fam, every plate of nachos he’s ever eaten, and as always, Munchkin the cat.
Shelley Polanco (2023 EAF)
Shelley Polanco is an Afro-Latina photographer and visual storyteller. Her background in Politics and Black Studies have inspired her artistry to produce truthful and authentic archives that narrate a clear picture of our lives. Her photography has morphed with time, beginning with nature and street photography. Now, Shelley is crafting a Latinx Portrait Gallery as a grant recipient for Brandeis University. She has curated several galleries of her works, including an interactive exhibit and artist talk for Dunamis Boston. You can find her at www.shotbyshell.com.
Jacquinn Sinclair (2023 EAF)
Jacquinn Sinclair is a Boston-area-based journalist, author, and poet. Currently, she’s a contributing performing arts writer and theater critic for WBUR The ARTery. Typically, her writing seeks to highlight creatives and organizations whose work is at the intersection of art and activism. Jacquinn’s stories and poems have been anthologized in the International Women’s Writing Guild’s “Heels into the Soil: Stories & Poems Resisting the Silence” and “New Jersey Fan Club: Artists and Writers Celebrate the Garden State.” She is also a 2023 Dunamis Boston’s Emerging Artist Fellow. An avid traveler and food enthusiast, Jacquinn’s writing has appeared in various publications, including The Boston Globe, Momentum, Lonely Planet, and more.
Tanvi Shah (2023 EAF)
Tanvi Shah (She/her) is a South Asian singer-songwriter who grew up in both the suburbs of Boston and the South of India (shoutout to Chennai!). She uses her lyrics and music to express herself and she covers a variety of topics from body image to friendship to anxiety and is on her self-exploration journey through music. Tanvi released her first single ‘Home’ on Spotify in January 2023 and is currently working on her debut EP. Tanvi enjoys figuring out harmonies and singing covers in addition to original music, which you can find on her TikTok, and is always down to support local music and add extra garlic to any food she eats!
Jessica Hernandez (2023 AMA)
Jessica Hernandez is a DJ, producer, and sound artist. She is interested in dance oriented works and experimental forms of electronic music that challenge listeners through discordant arrangements and visceral rhythms. Jessica is currently the Arthaus Gallery Manager for Unbound Visual Arts, where she is drawn to works that function as modes of cultural critique and forms of intellectual thought. She received her B.A. in Peace and Conflict Studies from Swarthmore College (2020) and her M.A. in History from the University of Virginia (2022).
Mary Orji (2023 AMA)
Mary Orji is a multi-instrumentalist creative shape shifter from Endicott, NY. Her main voice can be heard from the tenor saxophone and poetry. She is inspired musically and compositionally by the works of many artists such as Alice Coltrane and Grover Washington to name a few. Her music is to express her love for the higher power by evoking into the ancestors through fuses of poems with music, rhythm, freeness and tapping into the collective consciousness of the universe to bring healing and light to anyone that listens.