About Charis | Amara Arts
Charis Railey has trained in martial arts, hip hop, jazz, ballet, and modern dance since her teen years. She achieved a Black Belt in Yoshukai Karate at the age of 13 under Lloyd Gardner, then trained in American Tribal Style bellydance with Troupe Nailiyat under Radhiya Taj. She was a member of COCAdance and studied under Lee Nolting, Anthony "Redd" Williams, and Alica Graf Mack.
In college, she further explored traditional and contemporary genres from the African Diaspora across the Americas and the Caribbean. Samba and Afro-Brazilian movement began to occupy a special place in her heart after Rainy Demerson's "Dances of Brazil" course at Lindenwood University. Professor Demerson encouraged Charis to combine her dance and anthropology studies, which continues to impact her creative process. Her love for samba and salsa* was nurtured by training and performing for several years with dancer and businesswoman Lauren Wilmore. Charis completed her B.A. in Theatre and Dance at the University of Missouri St. Louis in 2016 under the tutelage of Ronderrick Mitchell.
In her freelance work and Amara Arts Project presentations, she uses her Anthropology training and the inspiration of Katherine Dunham Technique to direct her teaching methods and creative thought. This background strongly influences Charis' insistence on highlighting meaning and purpose in dance.
While Charis is a driven performer and choreographer, she retains the ability to sit at the feet of her seniors and be a student. She continues to hone her musical and dance skills with her mentors.
Notable Training 2018-19
Chicago International Salsa Congress 2018 and 2019
Black Dance USA 2018 and 2019 in Saint Louis, Missouri
International Samba Congress 2018 in Los Angeles
34th Annual Katherine Dunham Technique Seminar 2018 in Saint Louis, Missouri
Detroit Latin Dance Festival 2018 in Romulus, Michigan
Zumba B1 Certification 2018 in Saint Louis, Missouri
Notable Performances 2018-19
Chicago Samba's Carnaval - Guest Artist
Kevin Bowers' Nova at Jazz at the Bistro and KDHXFest - Featured Performer and Choreographer
Twilight Tuesday Tribute To Beyoncé - Principal Dancer and Co-Choreographer (Upgrade U)
Mai Lee Music Video "Skr Skr" - Dancer
Brazil Day at Dos Salas and Festival of Nations in Tower Grove Park- Choreographer, Music Designer, Costume Designer
Beyond Measure Dance Theatre's Art of Fusion - Dancer
Sofrito: The Afro-Latin Dance Experience at the Detroit Latin Dance Festival - Dance Representative
Tribute To Beyoncé at Fox Sports Midwest Live - Dancer
Chicago Samba New Years Eve - Guest Artist
AfroKuumba Dancers - Saint Louis, Missouri (2019)
Dreamgirls - Harris Stowe State University (2019)
*note: Charis is currently employed at Dance Pizazz as a ballroom instructor and does not currently offer freelance partner dance lessons