About Charis | Amara Arts
Charis Railey has participated in a variety of movement arts since her teen years. She achieved a Black Belt in Yoshukai Karate at the age of 13 under Lloyd Gardner, trained in American Tribal Style bellydance with Troupe Nailiyat under Radhiya Taj. She was a performer with African storytelling company Fundisha Enterprises and member of the student company COCAdance.
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 entrepreneur 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. She competed her MFA in Dance at Washington University in St. Louis in 2022 and is an alumnus of the University's Olin Women's Fellowship.
In her freelance work and her work with Amara Arts, she uses her Anthropology training and the inspiration of Katherine Dunham Technique to direct her creative thought. This background influences Charis' commitment to centering blackness, meaning, and narrative in dance.