Setting Michelle Latimer Dance Academy apart from all other Denver studios is the strong relationships with artists from around the country and world. The caliber of master classes and speciality choreography that a MLDA student is exposed to is second to none in the area. Building relationships within the dance industry is a key component to the training of a working dancer. These ties connect the MLDA student to opportunities around the country for elevated traininug and career entry. Check back frequently to see who will be on our schedule for master classes and guest choreography.
Jon Ole Olstad started dancing at the age of 16 and took his first ballet class when auditioning for a high school dance department. He quickly realized dancing was his big passion and that he would do anything to make his dream of becoming a professional dancer come true. Later he was accepted into the National Academy of the Arts in Oslo, and graduated with a bachelor degree in 2009. After college he was hired for the tour project "Kamuyot", a collaboration between the Swedish Riksteatern and Batsheva Dance Company led by artistic director Ohad Naharin. During this time he participated in daily 'gaga' class, the training form they use in Batsheva Dance Company, and developed a great love and respect for this work. In 2010 Jon Ole formed the choreographic duo "Ruth n ´Walter" together with Caroline Skjoershammer. Their first duet "Epilogue" got invited to the Cross Connection Choreography Competition and in 2012 they created "Dear, its time to turn the lights off", which was performed in different festivals and venues. In 2013, Jon Ole was hired by Nederlands Dans Theater 1, led by artistic director Paul Lightfoot. He has worked with choreographers such as Paul Lighfoot and Sol Leon, Johan Inger, Hofesh Shechter, Marco Goecke, Alexander Ekman, Jiri Kylian, Mehdi Walerski and Crystal Pite. In 2015 he was awarded 1. Prize in the prestigious competition, International Solo- Tanz Festival in Stuttgart. With his solo "and we already knew the names" he was awarded 1.Prize in Dance and 1.Prize in the Choreography category. He started teaching in 2009 and has a huge passion for sharing his knowledge and the love of dance. He has taught at numerous colleges and studios across Norway, as well as in Los Angeles and New York City- Lines Ballet in San Fransisco, New York University/Tisch, The National Academy Of The Arts in Oslo, Edge performing Arts Center in Los Angeles, Movement Lifestyle and Opificio Movimento in Rome .
Jason has created work for Rasta Thomas's Bad Boys of Dance, Willow Oak Contemporary Ballet, Odyssey, HoustonMet and the Evolution Dance Company. Internationally his work has been performed at the Gwang Ju Biennale Festival (South Korea), Baudelaire (Japan), Artedanza (Italy), Nokia Awards (Czech Rep.), Minjockchoom Cultural Festival (South Korea), Puglia Danza (Italy) and the Seoul Contemporary Jazz Dance Festival (South Korea). In May of 2007 Jason collaborated with Italian Artist Elena Parisi to create a moving installation for her premiere exhibition in Milan, Italy. Since February 2008, Jason has been creating and premiering full length concert works for himself and his troupe of dancers. Jason and his dancers have performed in New York City at the Joyce Theater, Cedar Lake Theater, Joyce Soho, Dixon Place, Manhattan Movement and Art Center, Alvin Ailey and for APAP at Carnegie Hall. He most recently worked on Teddy Forance and Jonathan Arpinos's dance film Misery Loves Company. Jason was on faculty at Steps in New York City and has taught all over the U.S., Canada, Netherlands, England, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Cypress and the Czech Republic.
Channing Cooke debuted on Fox's reality TV show, So You Think You Can Dance, as a top twenty contestant and then went on to perform alongside Neil Patrick Harris at the 42nd Annual Academy Awards. Her other TV credits include American Idol, where she performed with Rihanna, The X Factor with Jessie J, So You Think You Can Dance with Jennifer Lopez, the American Music Awards, All The Right Moves, Two and A Half Men, and Movement One, a dance documentary. She currently teaches throughout North America and is a member of Shaping Sound dance company.
Brian Friedman is one of the hottest directors for some of today’s most popular concert tours, music videos, commercials and films. His moves and style are beyond grand, graceful and captivating, which make him a true original in his field.
Friedman has choreographed some of the most known music videos and performances such as Britney Spears’ Toxic and Slave 4 U, My Love Is Like Wo by Mya, The One by PRINCE, *NSYNC’s Dirty Pop, and many more for artists such as Beyonce, Usher, Pink, Brittany Murphy, Hilary Duff, and Christina Milian.
As a dancer, his silver screen credits include both Charlie’s Angels and Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, You Got Served, She’s All that, Austin Powers: Gold Member, Uptown Girls, and more. Friedman has also choreographed for countless television shows including Will & Grace, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, David Letterman, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Oprah, That 70’s Show, MTV VMA’s, VH1 DIVAS LIVE, and Billboard Music Awards. Friedman's dance training began at age 11 in his hometown of Scottsdale, AZ. He later starred in Newsies, and Kids Incorporated, and owned his own dance studio before he was 16. As a young dancer, Friedman worked with such artists as Michael Jackson, Paula Abdul, Celine Dion, Melissa Etheridge, Salt ‘N Pepa, and Patti LaBelle.
Friedman has been nominated for four MTV Video Music Awards, 2 Music Video Production Awards and five American Choreography Awards. This young innovator created FREESTYLE, an interactive instructional dance DVD that teaches audiences original choreography and the moves that made him famous. He also tours around the world mentoring thousands of students and teaching his own dance technique. After two seasons of SYTYCD he was exported overseas to London to star in Simon Cowell’s hit UK show, Grease Is the Word. Following Grease was London's The X Factor.
Travis - A Visual Musician - has been dancing since he was 3 years old, starting at his mother's studio (Denise Wall's Dance Energy) training in jazz, lyrical, and contemporary. In his early years, Travis performed on the Showstopper American Dance Championships television show, where he, along with "Dance Energy" won the competition. He made his Broadway debut in the 2001 revival of The Music Man, playing the roles of Eddie Mason and Barney Hix and understudying the young male lead, Winthrop. Travis has won several regional and national dance titles, including "Outstanding Male Teen Dancer" (in 2003). Travis was featured in the book Moving Still: A Live Performance, and later toured with the stage show of the same name. He has also performed with the American Dance Artists Company. In 2006, he became the runner-up in the search for America's Favorite dancer on So You Think You Can Dance, where he later toured with the top 10 dancers as the dance captain. While living in New York and LA., he assisted Wade Robson and Adam Shankman on many TV and movie projects. Travis has been asked back as a resident choreographer for So You Think You Can Dance where he has created memorable pieces. He was then also asked to choreograph for the TV show Dancing with the Stars. He was the assistant choreographer on the 82nd Academy Awards, and set a ballet on the Los Angeles City Ballet Company. Travis also choreographed the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards. Currently based in LA, Travis has collaborated with Nick Lazzarini and Teddy Forance, to create his dream; an LA based contemporary dance company called "Shaping Sound." The company's performance of "Without You" on Dancing with the Stars nominated Travis, Nick and Teddy for an Emmy nomination! Along with the dancers of Shaping Sound and his fellow creators, Travis is starring on Oxygen network's new reality docu-series All the Right Moves, which follows the creators' journey as they launch their company and live together in Hollywood. Travis continues to keep opening up new doors to his career and leading a new generation of choreographers!
Dance Magazine has called Dee Caspary “the modern day Fosse of our generation.” His television credits includes Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance, Macy’s Stars of Dance performance on ABC’s hit show Dancing with the Stars. His work is also featured in national commercials for Dayquil and Verizon Wireless. Dee has directed and choreographed live events for Billboard Live, Hard Rock Café, Oakley, Key Club, and The Stone Movement. He was the Choreographer and Director of Staging for Justin Timberlake’s 2007 FutureSex/LoveShow.Dee has choreographed for professional companies including Odyssey Dance Theatre (Utah) and Evolution Dance Company (LA). His work has debuted at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood, premiering A Time No More, The Glass Case, The Last Letter, and Inferno of Sin. He has influenced dance all over the world in such places as Australia, Japan, Canada, Italy, Guam, New York, and his hometown of Los Angeles.Dee has worked with greats such as Kenny Ortega, Peggy Holmes, Jerry Evans, Bonnie Story-Baker, and has performed live at the Elan Awards in New York before Tony Award winning choreographer Susan Stroman.
Michele Oliva is a professional dancer/choreographer from Italy He is the Director and founder of Oliva Contemporary Dance Project fuses passion, perseverance and fearlessness. Founded in 2004 in Italy under the name “Pantarei,” by Artistic Director and Co-Founder Michele Oliva and Francesca Dario, OCDP is known for its exquisite and complex movement style, and visionary choreography.
Oliva and Dario create choreography that magnifies dancers’ physicality in their prime, and that serves as the vessel for genuine personality to come alive on stage. Dancers often defy physical ability, pushing past what is possible to perform highly athletic and astounding choreography that integrates strength and refinement.
Andrew Winghart is a Los Angeles-based choreographer known for his unique and high-energy musical compositions and intricately crafted staging patterns. Originally from Wisconsin, Andrew moved to Los Angeles to attend the University of Southern California on a full-tuition academic scholarship from which he graduated in May of 2014. While studying Business Administration and Cinematic Arts at USC, he quickly started making a name for himself in the Los Angeles dance community. After showing his work at Choreographer's Carnival for the first time at the age of 19, The Industry Voice Newsletter described his work as "monumental, genius, technical, ridiculous, prodigious, gigantic, etc." Since then Andrew has choreographed for musical artists like Jeremih (Def Jam) and Ryan McDermott (G.O.O.D. Music), short films, and numerous live performances in Los Angeles. He has appeared in Dance Spirit and Dance Magazine, and was most recently featured in the July 2015 issue of Dance Informa Magazine. In 2015 Andrew premiered two new full length works, "Emergence" & "Demiurge" to sold out audiences in Los Angeles and Long Beach and was awarded 1st Runner-Up at the Capezio A.C.E. Awards. His clear and dynamic viewpoint continues to solidify his position as an up-and-comer in the dance industry. Andrew is thrilled to call JUMP his convention home and considers himself incredibly fortunate to spend his weekends among such a well-esteemed and diverse faculty!
Cat Cogliandro, a native of Houston, Texas, received her BFA in Dance from SUNY Purchase. Since then, she has worked with choreographers such as Al Blackstone, Tyce Diorio, Mike Esperanza, Talia Favia, Jason Gorman, Nicole Hogg, Juliette Irons, Sonya Tayeh, Teddy Tedholm, and Jaci Royal. Cat's credits include So You Think You Can Dance, America's Got Talent, The 2014 Gypsy Awards,and The Pulse on Tour. She was also named one of Dance Spirit Magazine's "13 of the Dance World's Hottest Young Choreographers" in the November 2014 issue. Cat is currently on faculty at Broadway Dance Center and The Edge, and guest teaches at studios such as Millennium Dance Complex (LA and Pittsburgh), Peridance, Movement Lifestyle. She also taught for The Pulse on Tour Annual Teacher Workshop, Wild Dance Intensive and Turn It Up Dance Challenge. Cat's work has been presented at The Young Choreographers Festival, Young! Tanzsommer, Sirens After Dark, Jared Grimes's Feel Good, Dancin' Downtown at The Joyce, Riverside Church, RAW at The Cutting Room, Dixon Place and The Pulse Showcase Finale in New York City. Cat now travels between LA and New York, as she continues to teach nationally and internationally, and is in the process of starting her own company, catastrophe!.
Kirsten Russell was born in Raleigh, NC, and began her dance journey at 10 years old. After being a part of CC & Company Dance Complex for eight years training closely with choreographers such as Peter Chu, Stacey Tookey, Jason Parsons, Lauren Adams, Travis Wall, Sonya Tayeh, and Teddy Forance, she continued her training at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. She has attended summer intensives including Common Arts Mutual Passion (CAMP), BodyTraffic, and Chuthis. She has spent some of her recent training under the direction of Peter Chu while assisting his second Chuthis Movement Intensive in Costa Rica. Upon leaving school, Russell dove into choreographing and was one of 19 choreographers chosen to compete as a finalist at the 2014 Capezio A.C.E. Awards in New York City. Her work has most recently been seen at The Giving Tree in New York City under the direction of Shelly Masenoir. Russell is an apprentice with Flock?dance in New York City and has taught at The Creation Project, helping young choreographers create their own work. She was named the winner of the 2015 Capezio A.C.E. Awards in Long Beach, California and in August of 2016, she premiered her first show, "Fell Only Once", to thrilled audiences at Dancerpalooza.
Hefa Tuita and Randi Kemper are a choreography and teaching team who have performed alongside some of biggest names in music. They've been in countless music videos, performed on world tours, and danced on numerous television shows. Between the two of them, they've danced for Janet Jackson, Beyonce, Usher, Chris Brown, Jennifer Lopez, Ne-Yo, and more. Most recently, they were involved in all Michael Jackson projects off the XSCAPE album including the Michael Jackson hologram performance on the Billboard Awards, the "Love Never Felt So Good" music video, and the iHeart Radio Music Awards performance ft. Usher. They've performed on some of the biggest television stages for dance including So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing With The Stars. Hefa and Randi continue to dance, perform, create, choreograph, and share their knowledge with young dancers around the world.
Sam is currently making his UK Theatre debut, in Strictly Ballroom, He recently starred in the US Broadway national tour of Pippin in the title role . His Broadway credits also include Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella and the Us Tour of Wicked (understudy Fiyero). Sam also played Action in West Side Story at Carnegie Hall. Other regional credits include The Muny in St. Louis, Chicago (Fred Casey), Legally Blonde (Carlos), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Frank). Sam has a BFA in Musical Theatre from the University of Michigan.
Jackie went from dancer to choreographer to director, all the while traveling the country teaching. She conceived the popular girl group, “A Sleight Touch” which opened for some of the biggest recording stars in the industry. Jackie has worked with stars including Rod Stewart, Paula Abdul, Barry Manilow, Expose, Stacey Q, Yvonne Elliman, David Hasselhoff and Barbara Eden. She was staff choreographer for several TV series’ and her commercial list includes Burger King, Levi’s, McDonalds, Polaroid, Honda and more. Jackie’s dance groups “A Sleight Touch” and “Boys’ Club” each won seven shows and ultimately the Grand Championships, on the 80’s television phenom, Star Search. Jackie was also the innovator of the fitness trend, “Freedance,” that was taught in health clubs all over the country. Still, Jackie’s greatest loves are her sons, Joshua and Aaron.
Saleemah E. Knight is an internationally recognized interdisciplinary artist in the concert and commercial dance realms and is currently a professor of dance at the highly acclaimed University of Southern California, Glorya Kaufman School of Dance. Saleemah graduated Magna Cum Laude, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the University of Arizona, School of Dance. She also holds a Master of Fine Arts Degree from the University of California, Irvine and was a featured dancer in Disney’s world renowned Broadway Musical, The Lion King. Saleemah is a concert and commercial dance choreographer and performer whose background includes training in Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, Tap, Modern, and Hip-Hop Dance from outstanding private schools/dance masters throughout the United States. They include, yet are not limited to: Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, River North Chicago, Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago, The Edge Performing Arts Center, Millennium Dance Complex, Debbie Reynolds Dance Studio, and Broadway Dance Center.
Saleemah’s choreographic expertise has grabbed the attention of entertainers worldwide. She has been the selected choreographer for various performers, ranging from MTV Asia, to The Bay to the A Tour, featuring well-known recording artists Bosko Kante, E-40, Rick Ross, Lil’ Jon and Busta Rhymes and has done artist development for Akon’s singing sensation, Tami Chynn. Saleemah’s Contemporary Dance work entitled “The Drowning” was also performed at the American Cancer Society Benefit Concert located in Beverly Hills, California, benefiting cancer patients across the United States. Saleemah provided movement coaching and artistic direction for Latino rap artist Daddy Yankee’s “Limbo” music video and was the choreographer for his “La Noche de Los Dos” music video, both directed by Jessy Terrero/Cinema Giants (formerly known as Terrerofilms). Saleemah was also commissioned by Terrerofilms to choreograph the “Que Viva La Vida” music video for international Puerto Rican pop artist, Wisin (formerly of Wisin y Yandel) as well as the “La Malquerida” music video for Latin pop princess, Chiquis Rivera.
As an instructor Saleemah offers choreography and technical development to students in the concert dance realm as well as choreography and movement coaching for recording artists. She provides discussion workshops regarding the pursuit of the arts in the concert, commercial and academic realms. During the academic season, she has provided undergraduate dance courses at the University of California, Irvine and Santa Ana College in Jazz Dance technique, Modern and Hip Hop Dance. She has also taught Modern and Jazz Dance technique as a guest instructor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and as a graduate associate at the University of California, Los Angeles. She has been an invited guest speaker and Jazz master class instructor at Loyola Marymount University, Laguna Dance Festival, New Century Dance Project, Kern Dance Alliance and Dance Teacher Magazine’s Dance Teacher Summit among numerous nationally recognized dance workshops and festivals. Saleemah is also a recurring guest instructor and choreographer at the prestigious Debbie Allen Dance Academy. In the spirit of providing arts accessibility for low-income communities, she offers dance outreach classes to inner city youth.
Saleemah’s performance credits include many well-known entertainers. As an adolescent, Saleemah performed with the formerly known company, Donald Byrd/ The Group of New York in the World Premiere of "The Harlem Nutcracker" at Gammage Auditorium. She has since performed alongside Beyoncé at the 2011 Billboard Music Awards and has also danced with The Pussycat Dolls, Tatu, and Matisyahu. She is featured on the Jillian Michaels Fitness DVD series entitled, "No More Trouble Zones" and "Banish the Fat, Boost Your Metabolism", currently sold in stores. Saleemah also danced lead with Chris Brown in Ludacris’ music video, “I Know What Them Girls Like” and made a guest appearance in Jamie Foxx’s “Blame It On the Alcohol” music video. In January 2009, she was featured on Gatorade’s Mission G Episode 3 of “Leave It On the Floor” featuring well-known artist, Will.I.Am. She also choreographed Christian Audigier’s Spring 2009 Ed Hardy Fashion Show featuring America’s Next Top Model winner, Whitney Thompson and danced on tour with actor and recording artist Tyrese in 2007 and again in 2009. Saleemah has danced in work choreographed by UCLA faculty Victoria Marks, entitled “Not About Iraq”. She has also appeared on Country Music Television as a featured dance instructor for the TV series, “Made”. In 2013 Saleemah also performed in world-renowned Contemporary Ballet choreographer Jodie Gates’ work, honoring the Rite of Spring, entitled the “Sacre Project”.
Her performance abilities have deemed her recipient of The University of Arizona’s Medici Fine Arts Scholarship, the Brian Friedman Millennium Dance Scholarship, the Gus Giordano Scholarship, Coca Cola’s Leadership Scholarship, and fellowships and awards at the University of California, Irvine Claire Trevor School of the Arts. In addition, she is a past selected company member for Dayton Contemporary Dance Company II and Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago II.
Saleemah E. Knight currently teaches Jazz Dance technique as well as theory courses in the areas of world studies, jazz history/culture and popular culture on faculty at the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance. She is also the artistic inspiration behind a line of youth-inspired dance active wear called Saleemahwear. Saleemah is known for her outstanding instruction and choreography in Jazz, Jazz-Funk and Contemporary Jazz. She continues to bring her academic expertise, professional, and vibrant attitude to recording artists, dance studios, performing companies and academic universities worldwide.