Meet Our Board

Joel Talbert

Joel Talbert, co-founder of Repertory Dance Theater of Los Angeles, has been involved in the arts as an Actor, Activist, and Writer. As a member of the Hittite Empire (a nationally and internationally activist touring theatre company) Joel wrote, acted and performed original works exposing issues of race, class and gender. Joel has performed at Highways in California, Lincoln Center in New York, Mark Taper in Los Angeles, Walker Museum in Minneapolis, Solo Mio Festival in San Francisco, Cochran Theatre in the UK, and Ex Teresa Theatre in MX. His Artist in Residency work blossomed Theatre collectives in Columbus OH, Pittsburgh PA, Minneapolis MN, and the UK.

His most recent work is to give young artist living in primarily city environments, which have never experience the rural parts of America, an opportunity to bring their work to the Ozark. This sharing of cross-cultural fusion can only strengthen the Arts and our Humanity. 

Damon Brenkendorf

Damon Brenkendorf is 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 NWA Arkansas’ pristine land and water and peaceful Ozark culture. Merging the artist with the Art, Nature, and Rural beauty of the Ozarks, SMR’s Artists in Residency project will influence artists’ works. Damon will navigate the outdoor experience and comfort for artists and will expose what NWA has to offer the country.

Pamela Henry - Walker

Pamela Henry-Walker has been a natural artist since she was a little girl. Elementary school is where her teachers noticed her talent for drawing, and had her drawing things for the bulletin boards.

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. Her paintings have been seen throughout the world touching the hearts of many. She is an accomplished singer, dancer, and actress, traveling the world and making her mark in film, theater, and television.

 Her first group art show in New York was at Lincoln Center’s Cork Gallery at Avery Fisher Hall.

 While living in New York, she was a member of the West Side Art Coalition, and participated in many art openings with the coalition. One highlight of her early New York days, was having her college painting teacher, Mr. Bruce Bobick come to New York to see her show.

 “It was quite an honor and a wonderful surprise. His being there was a big inspiration to me, and I was happy to show him that I was still painting.”

 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.
 My emotions seem to create my art, and I hope that you will feel something special when you view it. It doesn't matter what you feel, just as long as it can leave you with a thought.
  I have been an artist since I was 5 years old. That was sometimes the only way I could get any special attention.
  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.”
 Pamela has had several art commissions, which include The Chi Chi Rodriguez Youth Foundation in Clear Water Florida, and the Phoenix Fire Department in Phoenix Arizona.

 Pamela developed her own healthy candy business called "Pamela's Raw Organic Candy". It came about in her efforts in healing herself with detoxification and eating raw foods.

She is a Reiki Master, a certified Quantum-Touch practitioner, and has been trained in Dahnhak which was created by DR. Ilchi Lee.

 Jason Lee Byrd

Senior Instructor S.O.P.Y.A.

In 1990 I began my training in martial arts studying “Japan Shotoshinkai Karate” under Master Jerry “Yoshida” Bell.  In 1997, I was introduced to Capoeira de Angola, an African Martial Art form, and was “found” by my teacher Ed “Cubano” Martin who taught me Traditional Capoeira de Angola as taught to him by the legendary Mestre Joao Grande; whom I had the privilege of meeting for the first time in Boston in 1997. Subsequently, I 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, I am 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”.  I saw the Capoeira movie “Only The Strong” but was unimpressed with the Capoeira, as a "Martial Art".  Don't get me wrong, the movie and the choreography was great but as a martial artist, I prefer to be rooted to the ground as opposed to flipping through the air.

Years later, a friend, Lawren Atkins, introduced me to “Capoeira de Angola” and together, along with Zan Zetina, we found a Positive Brother by the Name of Omoade, who taught Capoeira Angola under the GCAP tradition here in the Los Angeles Area.  After a hand full of lesions under Omoade, Our group was found by “Cubano” who directed us away from the GCAP Curriculum and turned our focus towards the Traditional Capoeira curriculum as handed down from Mestre Pastinha to Mestre Joao Grande to Guru Ed “Cubano” Martin.

My Mestre in Capoeira is Joao Grande.  Ed "Cubano" Martin is my Professor, my Brother and my Friend. Cubano is a “Master Student” who has excelled my martial arts training to the n’th degree.

I am and will always be eternally grateful to Master Jerry Bell for taking the necessary time to assure that my foundation, in the Martial Arts, is strong.  I am and will always be eternally grateful to Guru Ed Martin for taking that foundation and building a sturdy structure on it. Both have inspired me, guided me, and have been very patient with me throughout my training and I thank them for it.

I am an actor and have been a member of the Screen Actors Guild since 1998


 All donations are tax deductible. RDToLA  is an recognized 

501 ( c ) 3  nonprofit organization.  

Zan Zetina

Zandore Zetina, known as ”Zan” dance background 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 of the Los Angeles chapter. She has choreographed and staged many leading recording artists in Japan working with Future Dreams, Inc., 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. In 1998 she discovered Capoeira de Angola, an African martial art and is now a senior instructor with Pastinha’s Garden of Capoeira Angola. 

Ta Tanisha (Ta Ta)

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.  

This exposure to the production process inspired her to create a MEDIA LITERACY PROGRAM for inner-city youth, she named this program TechniVision and it was presented at a local art center and as an after school program in conjunction with Los Angeles City Schools and Girls, Inc.  She received an award from the City of Los Angeles for “helping th heal the city” after the uprsing of the early 90’s in the city.  

Currently she is part of the REPERTORY DANCE THEATRE of LOS ANGELES and is part of a team that is conducting an after school performance program.  She has also written a play about BIDDY MASON, an enslaved African American woman who never learned to read or write; MIZ BIDDY, as the play is entitled, migrated to California with her so-called master in the 1800’s.  She soon obtained her freedom and became one of the wealthiest women on the west coast.  The play is currently in development.

Ava Zetina

Ava Zetina, a native of Belize moved to Los Angeles with her family.  Ms Zetina graduated from Susan Miller Dorsey High school. Although she is largely self-taught she matured as a 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.  Ms Zetina has also studied with Dennis Davis (Stevie Wonder) and Ndugu L. Chancler. She was a member of the Budweiser Showdown winners "Sugahh". The winners received a contract with Polygram records. Later Ms Zetina 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 the RDTOLA Family as Head of the Music Department.  Ms Zetina 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

Head Instructor S.O.P.Y.A.

In 1983 i had the great fortune to meet a Japanese Zen master who took 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. I began my journey into the martial arts in October of 1984 with the study of Jun Fan/Jeet Kune Do and Jeet Kune Do concepts. My studies began with Sifu Paul Vunak and progressed with completing my studies with Sifu Richard Bustillo. Learning kali, western boxing, filipino boxing, muay thai, savate and of course Jeet Kune Do. From there I furthered my studies into kali and silat with Pendekar P. Greg Alland in the arts of SinaTirsiaWali and Lanka Ampat Pentjak Silat in New York where I was hired by Diana Ross to protect her and especially her young children. I then furthered my studies with Pendekar Paul De Thouars in Pentjak Silat Bukti Negara and Serak. I also furthered my Silat Serak with Pendekar Paul's brother Maha Guru Victor De Thouars. While in New York city with Pendekar P. Greg Alland I also studied with Grand-master Joao Grande and helped both these individuals establish their academy. I also found time to study Hapkido, earning my black belt within 6 months and assisting Sensei Victor establish his school. After this I traveled back to California to further my studies of executive protection with Mr. Cliff Stewart assisting him with the completion of his newly revised Within Arms Reach program designed to elevate the tactical proficiency of military special forces, tactical law enforcement teams and high level executive protective services agents. At this time I also 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