Encore’s District wide audition group, Street Team, will be going to the fifth annual Master’s workshop in Las Vegas in January. This private workshop is a great event to give the performance artists of Encore an opportunity to train with professional masters.
WHEN: January 19 – 22
WHO ARE THE MASTERS?
NAOMI STIKEMAN – DIRECTOR
Gemini Winner, Naomi Stikeman, earned international acclaim while performing with The National Ballet of Canada, La La La Human Steps, Béjart Ballet Lausanne, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, The Copenhagen International Ballet, and Celine Dion’s A New Day. Her talent was acknowledged by the Canadian Academy of Film and Television with a Gemini Award for Best Performance in a Performing Arts Program or Series. Her film Coldspot was honored at the Choreography Media Honors in Los Angeles and her film Pink Navigator is now a permanent installation at the new St. John’s Medical Center in Santa Monica CA. Naomi’s stage production Çaturn, in collaboration with Robert Lepage and Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry, was last performed at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. Her clients include: Celine Dion, Cirque du Soleil, Blue Man Group, Couture for Causes, Bunker Dance Centre and the Los Angeles Ballet. In 2010, Naomi founded The Las Vegas Performing Arts Initiative; an educational program that connects the youth of Las Vegas with celebrated performers, choreographers and directors working today.
MATTHEW BANKS – DIRECTOR
Canadian born Matthew Banks graduated from New York City’s American Music and Dramatic Academy. Matthew became a Blue Man for Blue Man Group in 1999, later becoming Resident Director of the permanent show in Las Vegas. He was an original cast member and creative contributor when the company opened at Blue Man Group Live at The Luxor, Blue Man Group Live at The Venetian, The Complex Tour, and How To Be A Mega-Star World Tour. Matthew is a singer/songwriter and composer who received credit on Blue Man Group’s Double Platinum Concert DVD: The Complex Tour for Exhibit 13. While living in Los Angeles Matthew underscored film and commercial productions, taught singing at Academia Avance Charter School, became a certified Yoga teacher, and won the first Hollywood Idol singing competition. Matthew is currently a Blue Man with Blue Man Group and Billy Joel in a Billy Joel tribute band.
DARRELL RIVERA – HIP HOP
Born and raised in San Francisco, California, DarrelI moved to Las Vegas when he was 17 and started dancing. Very driven, he focused all of his efforts on studying with Culture Shock and groove community classes. He became a part of two crews in Vegas including Formality and Meccamee. Currently, he is signed with with MSA Agency and DanceOn. His passion and focus paid off and he has been invited to perform on the ABDC tour, the Ellen DeGeneres Show, and Good Morning America. He has also danced for Afrojack, Gym Class Heroes, and Kat Deluna. Today he is focusing on his YouTube Channel with DanceOn where he has aquired 41,961 subscribers and 14,676,852 views. His ultimate passion is teaching and inspiring!
MARCUS WEISS – ACTING
A professional actor for 25 years, Marcus Weiss has worked extensively in theater, film, television, radio, and voice-overs across the country and in Europe. Some of his favorite credits include Life Is Beautiful, All My Children, 21, and Scrubs. Born in New York and raised in Switzerland, Marcus received a B.A. in Drama from Dartmouth College and an M.F.A. in Acting from Temple University. An original cast member of Blue Man Group Las Vegas, Marcus simultaneously performed for the worldrenowned improvisation and sketch comedy show, The Second City for over 7 years. He also received critical acclaim for his starring role in the Las Vegas premiere of Hedwig and The Angry Inch. Marcus has taught improvisation for The Second City Training Center and countless classes and workshops in acting, movement, voice, and speech for students of all ages. He can currently be seen in Le Reve at The Wynn and O at the Bellagio, both shows were directed by Franco Dragone.
BRIANA ROSSI – VOICE
Briana Shaw Rossi is a performer and acrobatic singer, originally from Boston, MA. She has built a dynamic solo career as the lead singer with Cirque du Soleil in their performances of O at the Bellagio and Zarkana, formerly at Aria Resort and Casino. Currently, she travels around the world for 45 Degrees, a special events division of CDS. Most recently, she starred in a custom performance for the grand opening of Level-Kids in Dubai, UAE and was the lead singer for their production of Scalada – Vision in Andorra. Briana also fronts her cover band, Breezy and The Summer Rentals, performing around the Las Vegas area, and is a RYT-Certified Yoga Instructor and NASM Certified Personal Trainer. With a degree from Northwestern University in Opera/Vocal Performance, Briana is committed to teaching the benefits of a solid classical technique, without which, she wouldn’t have the extensive career she has today!
CHRIS BROWN – ACTING
Christopher Brown has worked with the Actor’s Bridge Ensemble, Mockingbird Public, The Nashville Shakespeare Festival, ACT One, and the Green Room Projects. After directing three film projects, a role in the Sci-Fi/ABC joint mini-series DUNE, and directing the Actor’s Bridge Ensemble’s production of A Walk in the Woods, he moved to New York City to study at the GATE conservatory. Leaving GATE, he acted in several Off-Broadway productions including Henry V for the Jean Cocteau Repertory Company. Christopher is currently a Blue Man for Blue Man Group and is a key collaborator in many other projects including Juror 7 in “Twelve Angry Men”, Coriolanus in “Coriolanus”, and Benedick in “Much Ado About Nothing” as well as having done seventeen independent feature films, including most recently “Salt Creek County” and “Blood Rogues”. He he holds a BFA Degree in Commercial Music Performance from Belmont University.
SARAH LOWE – MUSICAL THEATRE
Sarah Lowe was the dance captain for the Las Vegas production of “Jersey Boys”. Lowe’s grandmother is Ruby Keeler, famous in the 1930s and ‘40s for movies and Broadway including “42nd Street” and “No, No, Nanette.” Keeler retired in the 1940s but made a return to Broadway in 1971 with the revival of “No, No, Nanette.” Lowe’s parents met during the revival with her father working as the stage manager and her mother in the chorus. Lowe grew up in the theater while her mother performed in “Sugar Babies” with Mickey Rooney. Lowe has won the Broadway World Award for “Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical” for “Jersey Boys.” She has also appeared in “Mamma Mia!” in Las Vegas and “The Donkey Show” off Broadway. Lowe is also co-creator of The Apple Sisters and can now be seen performing in “50 Shades!”, the smash hit parody show at Bally’s.
JUSTIN BRYANT –CONTEMPORARY DANCE
Justin S. M. Bryant spent many years of his career performing with dance companies such as Eleone Dance Theater, Dancefusion, The Smoke, Lilies, Jade Arts Initiative, The American Repertory Ballet Company, and PHILADANCO. Mr. Bryant became the Co-Artistic Director of The Smoke, Lilies, and Jade Arts Initiative in 2012. Throughout his career he has worked with legendary choreographers such as George Faison, Louis Johnson, Otis Sallid, and Twyla Tharp. He has sung with American Idol’s Clay Aiken and danced for country artist Wynonna Judd and was a featured actor in the film Tango Macbeth directed by Nadine Patterson. Throughout his training he received full scholarships to The Ailey School, The Rock School for Ballet Education, and a “Full Director’s Talent Scholarship” from The University of the Arts. He performed in the legendary and longest running Vegas show, Jubilee. With his strong musical theater background he has taught and choreographed around the world. He can currently be seen performing in the #1 Cirque du Soleil show, Michael Jackson ONE.
BRANDI CHUN – HIP HOP
Originally from Hawaii, currently dancing in the Michael Jackson ONE Cirque Du Soleil show, Brandi has danced for Beyoncé, Iggy Azalea and MTV.