Joel Talbert

Joel Talbert, co-founder of Repertory Dance Theater of Los Angeles, is involved in the arts as an actor, activist, and writer. As a member of the Hittite Empire (an international touring theatre company), Joel wrote, acted and performed original works exposing issues of race, class and gender. Joel has performed at Highways in California, The Lincoln Center in New York, The Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, The Walker Museum in Minneapolis, the Solo Mio Festival in San Francisco, and the Cochran Theatre in the United Kingdom and and Ex Teresa Theatre in Mexico. His Artist in Residency work blossomed Theatre collectives in Columbus, Pittsburgh, Minneapolis and the United Kingdom. 

His most recent work gives young artists living within the inner cities of America that have never experience the rural parts of America, an opportunity to bring their work to the Ozarks. This sharing of cross-cultural fusion can only strengthen the Arts and our Humanity.

Damon Brenkendorf

Damon Brenkendorf is the co-founder of the Sunrise Mountain Retreat (SMR), an Artist and Residency program in the Ozark Mountains of Northwest Arkansas. Committed to emerging and established artists, SMR will open the experience of Arkansas’ pristine land and water and peaceful Ozark culture. Merging the artist with the art, nature, and rural beauty of the Ozarks, SMR Artists in Residency project will influence artists’ works on a deeper and more spiritual level.

Pamela Henry-Walker

Pamela Henry-Walker is an accomplished singer, dancer, and actress, traveling the world and making her mark in film, theater, and television. After getting her B.F.A. at State University of West Georgia, she moved to New York to become an entertainer and help heal the world through art and dance. She is also a member of Friends of The Arts in Prescott Valley, Arizona. “Who is to say what art is or is not? I am a spirit that captures emotions and place them on a canvas. As an adult, I use my art to say what I feel without the limitations of words. I love it when someone tells me that my art made them feel something, and that is why they had to buy it, or that my art caused them to think. My job is done when I can make you feel and think.”

Jason Lee Byrd

Jason Lee Byrd helped to co-found “The Association of Capoeira de Angola, Los Angeles, which later became known as “Pastinha’s Garden of Capoeira de Angola (PGCA)”.  In addition to training Capoeira and being a practitioner of Shotoshinkai Karate, Jason is a practitioner of Pentjak Silat Aliran Kanekes and Kali Silat under the tutelage of Guru Ed Martin.  Also, I am a nationally certified Personal Fitness Instructor under the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Since the 1990’s, I have dreamed about finding a Martial art that utilizes “Ground Maneuverability”. Jason is an actor and has been a member of the Screen Actors Guild since 1998.

Zandore Zetina

Zandore Zetina, known as Zan, has an extensive background which includes legendary Al Gilbert, Bill and Jackie Landrum, Claude Thompson, Steven Peck, and Alvin Ailey. She became one of the principal dancers with the Repertory Dance Theatre of Los Angeles under the direction of Jon Johnson, Chester Whitmore and Lady Walquer Vereen. Today she is one of the choreographers and Acting Executive Director. She has choreographed and staged many leading recording artists in Japan, working with Future Dreams, Inc., and was instrumental in developing the first dance variety show on Japanese television. After returning to the United States she began studying filmmaking. It was there she found her niche filming documentaries. Zan is also a senior instructor with Pastinha’s Garden of Capoeira Angola. 

Ta Tanisha

Ta Tanisha arrived in Los Angeles from Detroit, Michigan in the sixties.  In the early seventies, she began studying theatre at the Performing Arts Society Los Angeles (PASLA) where she performed in several plays including Blues for Mr. Charlie and A Raisin in the Sun.  She also appeared in A Black Girl in Search of God at the Mark Taper Forum.  After a while, Ta Tanisha began to get roles in television shows and motion pictures such as Room 222, in a recurring role as Pam, Good Times, Sanford & Son and the Mod Squad.   She co-starred as a deaf mute on the hit show, Mission Impossible and was nominated for the NAACP Image award for this performance.  She was also in the academy award winning movie, The Sting. She received an award from the City of Los Angeles for “helping to heal the city” after the uprising in 1992 in South Los Angeles. As a part of ongoing work with RDToLA, Ta will continue to conduct a team that will coordinate an afterschool performance program.

Ava Zetina

Ava Zetina, a native of Belize, is largely self-taught musician under the watchful tutelage of Dr. Simpson then head of Dorsey High school’s   Music department. Even though she plays several instruments her first love is the drums and percussion which she has been playing for more than three decades.  Ava has also studied with Dennis Davis (drummer for Stevie Wonder) and Ndugu L. Chancler. She was a member of the Budweiser Showdown winners "Sugahh". Ava received a contract with Polygram records and later, as a seasoned drummer, toured nationally with Ray Parker Jr. After touring she and pianist Tina Turner formed the band "Oracle", which she is still the drummer. Although she is an active musician she has joined RDTOLA as Head of the Music Department.  Ava feels this is her chance to give back. “RDTOLA is an important and necessary organization giving the gift of art and music to young dreamers!”

Ed Cubano Martin

Ed Cubano Martin had the great fortune to meet a Japanese Zen master who took his time to share some extraordinary concepts, philosophies and perspectives towards the study of martial arts. I tested his teachings with a few years of informal martial arts studies with 2nd and 3rd degree black belts of various styles. He was my mentor and Teacher. one point I heard about a small group practicing Capoeira and decided to meet them. From there a great friendship was attained with individuals that have the right spirit and of utmost character. For some years now we have been providing Capoeira classes to inner city youth and adults.

The thing I love most about martial arts is its ability to strengthen character, instill modesty  and wisdom and above all would be its ability to profoundly impact so many lives and to live on through your instructors. And most important, the incredible ability to learn from ones students. I also enjoy the impact that it has when a student finally overcomes a personal challenge and the pride and humility they express in having attained the goals we give them.

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