We are a small team of talented professionals with a wide range of skills and experience. We love New Orleans, its history, culture and art. We love what we do, and we do it with passion.
We look forward to bringing this project – Black Dance in Louisiana – Guardian of A Culture to life.
Roslyn Butler-Williams is a Choreographer, Dancer and Artistic Director of a liturgical dance company she established. Ms. Williams has continuously studied and trained in dance for over 40 years, beginning in her childhood. Her training includes dance programs at St. Mary’s Academy, Xavier University and the New Orleans School of the Arts. Roslyn Butler- Williams has performed with The New Orleans Contemporary Dance Company and as a member of The Outreach Dancers directed by Dan Maloney of the Mary Anthony Company, New York. After receiving a B.S.in Mathematics/Computer Science from Xavier University, Ms. Williams relocated to Houston. She served as the Executive Director of M.E.D.I.A.Performing Arts Company in Houston from 1999-2002. Ms. Williams is currently the Founder/Director of St. Mary’s Church Liturgical Dance Ministry which she established in 1999.
Gabrielle “Gabbi” Cooks
Gabrielle “Gabbi” Cooks is a 30 year old New Orleans native, who began dancing at the age of 5; training with New Orleans Dance Academy with an emphasis on ballet. She later trained with Benjamin’s school of dance for 7 years where she learned tap, jazz, and modern. As a teenager, she became the co-captain of her high school dance team at Archbishop Blenk High School. Upon graduating from high school, Gabrielle began working as a movement therapist for a Community Mental Health Center and then Senior Centers in the New Orleans area.
“Gabbi” is long standing member of three professional performance dance companies in New Orleans: Silhouette Dance Ensemble (Afro-Modern) – since 2012,
Nkiruka Drum & Dance Ensemble (Traditional African/ Afro-fusion) since 2017, and Belles Femmes Noir (Burlesque) – since 2017, where she is a soloist. Her Belles Femmes Noir stage moniker is “Hiya Heights.”
Shekinah Easterling is a New Orleans native who has been a dancer since the age of 5. Shekinah has trained in all forms of dance, with a concentration on traditional West African and African Diaspora dance. She especially enjoys these specific genres because of their artistic characteristics, cultural relevancy and wholistic cultural relativism that are révèlent to her life experiences. Currently, Shekinah is a member of N’Kafu Traditional West African Dance Company and one of the lead teachers with Culu Children’s Traditional African Dance Company, where she is integral to the companies’ planning and administration of their seasons. She has performed and trained nationally at major conferences and festivals throughout the U.S.
Shekinah holds both a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Master of Education in Counseling. Her academic training has allowed her to further develop her skills as a dance instructor by providing dance education integrated with social and emotional learning. Shekinah states, “Dance is my passion, and I’m grateful to be trusted by God to possess this gift!”
Giselle R. Nakhid is a native New Orleanian. She is a dancer, teacher, performer, choreographer, creative, momma and an esthetician. Giselle works with and performs with several groups throughout the New Orleans and Dallas areas, which include Kumbuuka, Nkiruka, Belles Femmes Noir/ Sweet Storm Productions, and The New Orleans Original Buckshop. She also teaches for Centre Stage School of Dance, New Orleans Dance Collective, The Living School and Young Audiences of La.