Yolanda Coppedge was born and raised in Washington, DC in 1972. She has one son who became a published author of 3 books at 9 years old. Yolanda is a former teacher of young children from infants to 5 years old, with 20 years experience under her belt. TEACHING is her PASSION! She loves children and people. When Yolanda's mother passed away in 2009 due to diabetes complications, she decided that's when she needed to honor her mother's wishes and make a change in her weight. She joined Z-GoGo now Da Go-Go Fitness and soon became an instructor for them. It was a struggle for 5 years until she found an exercise that she loved and the weight just started falling off. Because of that she was inspired to get licensed in ZUMBA, ZUMBA KIDS/KIDS JR. and Zumbini, and start her own fitness business to help adults and children lose weight, get fit and live healthier lives. The name No Obesity Family Fitness, LLC came from her own experience of being obese and not ever going back to being obese anymore! Her main target is children because there are so many obese young children from the ages 3- 15 years old and she wants to teach families how to eat healthier and get fit together. Yolanda currently teaches dance fitness year around at daycares, schools, Boys & Girls clubs, YMCA’s, summer camps, aftercares, etc. She also, does all kinds of events for adults and children. Her advice is to follow your passion, write down all your ideas, and pursue them. If you feel discouraged keep going because there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Don’t let your age stop you from doing what you dream. In the words of her son, “You’re never too young to anything!”
Ava Delasanta received her BA in Dance Performance from Rhode Island College in 2015. After graduating college, Ava performed with Providence Ballet Theater and taught youth dance classes throughout RI and MA. She directed an after school dance program at North Smithfield High School for six years. In 2017, she was awarded the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Choreography Fellowship. Ava moved to the DMV area in August after accepting a position as Production Associate at Dance Place. Besides teaching creative movement and pre-ballet at Dance Loft, she teaches ballet and tap at Dance Place as well as other outreach classes throughout the DMV area.
Sona Kharatian of Yerevan, Armenia, danced with with Orlando Ballet, the Trey McIntyre Project and Copenhagen International Ballet under direction of Alexander Kolpin, and was a guest artist with ARKA Ballet under the direction of Roudolf Kharatian. She began her ballet training at the Choreographic Institute in Yerevan, and later studied at the Kirov Academy of Ballet and The Washington School of Ballet. Kharatian has performed works by George Balanchine, Mark Morris, Twyla Tharp, Paul Taylor, Choo San Goh, Antony Tudor, Septime Webre, Nacho Duato, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Christopher Wheeldon, Trey McIntyre, Nicolo Fonte, Alexei Ratmansky, Roudolf Kharatian, William Forsythe, Jiří Kylián, Hans van Manen, Edwaard Liang and Alejandro Cerrudo, among others. Featured roles include Juliet in Romeo + Juliet, Myrtha in Giselle, Myrtle in The Great Gatsby, Carmen in Carmen, the Red Queen in ALICE (in wonderland) and Lady Brett Ashley in Hemingway: The Sun Also Rises, among others. Kharatian is a two-time recipient of the Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award.
Rachel Luebbert is a dance artist, choreographer, and teacher from Colorado. Rachel graduated with a B.F.A. in Dance with Honors, a B.A. in Spanish, and a minor in Business from the University of Utah. She has worked at Jacob’s Pillow to develop community engagement programs and to advocate for greater access to dance. She has performed in the Performing Dance Company (Salt Lake) in works by Daniel Clifton, Stephen Koester, and Luc Vanier. Rachel received the Utah Fine Arts Fees Grant to travel and perform Tectonic by Sharee Lane and Juan Carlos Claudio (2016) in Berlin and then to teach dance in Panama through the Movement Exchange Program (2017). Rachel has taught modern dance, ballet, jazz, creative movement, and improvisation to people and children of all ages. As a choreographer, Rachel produced an evening length show New Year (2017) based on her research of embodying coming-of age narratives through text and movement.
Katie Sopoci Drake, MFA, GL-CMA is a Washington D.C. based professional dancer, choreographer and teacher specializing in Laban-based contemporary dance. Katie's choreography has been performed by Momentum Dance Company, Wild Space Dance Company, The Florentine Opera, Lawrence University Opera, Miami Dade College and many more. As a core member of Mountain Empire Performance Collective, her distance collaborations have been performed from New York to Oregon. As a performer, Sopoci Drake is described as a "sinuous, animal presence of great power" (Third Coast Digest, 6/12). She has had a national performing career with Mountain Empire Performance Collective, RebollarDance, Mordine and Company Dance Theater, Wild Space Dance Company, and Rosy Simas Danse.
Katie has held teaching positions at the University of Maryland College Park, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Nova Southeastern University, Miami Dade College, Carthage College, and Lawrence University. Her work on technology and distance collaboration has been published by the Journal of Dance Education, and her research into Laban’s space and effort affinities was presented at the 2015 NDEO conference and 2015 Conference on Teaching Somatics-Based Dance. This research resulted in the evening-length show Spacetime Suite, funded by a 2016 Dance Metro DC Presentation Grant. For 2018-2019 season info, visit katiesopocidrake.weebly.com.
Kimberly Thompson started her pre- professional training at The Frederick School of Classical Ballet under the direction of Joyce Morrison and then continued at The Maryland Youth Ballet with Michelle Lees. She also attended summer programs at Princeton Dance Theater with Suzan Jaffe and The Orlando Ballet School on scholarship. Ms. Thompson was selected to participate in The Kennedy Center Ballet master Class Series for all four years of high school and had the opportunity to perform “Serenade” with The Suzanne Farrell Ballet. While a trainee with The Orlando Ballet, Ms. Thompson competed at the American Dance Competition in 2013 and placed in both Senior Division Classical and Contemporary categories. In 2014, she had the pleasure of performing as the principle ballet dancer in the show ,“Miracles”, choreographed by Christopher D’Ambosie at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. She has also danced for Virginia National Ballet, Ivy Chow Movement Project and has guested at various schools in the Maryland area. Ms. Thompson currently dances with Connect the Dots Dance Company and Moveius Contemporary Ballet as well as teaching at the Washington School of Ballet.