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Danielle Brown, Ph.D., Lead Instructor

Danielle Brown is an artist-scholar and founder of My People Tell Stories, LLC. Her scholarly and artistic works are based on the premise that people of color in particular, and marginalized people in general, need to tell and interpret their own stories. Brown earned a doctorate in Music from NYU with a concentration in ethnomusicology and specialization in the music of Latin America and the Caribbean. Her work uses the arts to educate people on the history and culture of the African diaspora paying special attention to the Caribbean and its diaspora.

Brown’s research has focused mostly on parang music in Trinidad, traditional and popular music in Cuba and Puerto Rico, and the intersection of music, spirituality, and healing. Brown is a former Assistant Professor of Music History and Cultures at Syracuse University, and has lectured at various colleges and universities. She has worked with elementary, middle, and high school students, and is certified in the Kodály method. Brown offers diversity education to music teachers and others seeking to dismantle the effects of systemic racism in the field of music. She is an active vocalist and cuatro player, and composes and performs jazz and Latin American and Caribbean-based music. Brown is author of the music-centered ethnographic memoir, East of Flatbush, North of Love: An Ethnography of Home. A musical adaptation of the book, sponsored in part by the Brooklyn Arts Council, premiered at Medgar Evers College in 2017.

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Goussy Célestin, Dance Instructor

Goussy is a dancer, pianist, composer, teacher, and vocalist who has performed for the last two decades for audiences locally, nationally and in Cuba, England, Haiti, Wales, and Japan. She is a faculty member for the Middle School Jazz Academy and WeBop programs at Jazz at Lincoln Center. She is also a member of Retumba, an all-female music and dance ensemble dedicated to the afro-diaspora cultures in the Caribbean and Latin America. Goussy's current mission is integrating all of her disciplines in her project, Ayiti Brass, incorporating elements of traditional Haitian folklore and New Orleans street beat. Goussy is also a proud mom to her 5-year old and 8-year old sons, who give her a bigger workout than all her dancing and traveling combined!


Hansell Echualaibode, Dance Instructor

Hansell Echualaibode grew up in Havana, Cuba. For more than five years he studied at the Conjunto Folklórico Nacional de Cuba, where he studied Yoruba, Palo, Abakua, Cha Cha Cha, Mambo, and Son. Former principal dancer for the Compañía de Danzas Tradicionales de Cuba JJ for over ten years, Hansell proudly brings his heritage and dance experience to his students around the world.



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Jamal George, Dance Instructor

Born in the twin island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Jamal George began exploring the world of performing arts at the tender age of nine. A prolific storyteller, Jamal was the winner of the National Library School’s Storytelling Competition for three consecutive years. As a calypsonian, he has performed at a wide range of events, including the opening of the Mighty Sparrow’s annual concert and Nelson Mandela’s visit to Trinidad and Tobago. Jamal started training as a dancer at the Tobago Academy of Performing Arts in 2003. He remained a member of the junior performing company until graduating high school in 2006.

After successfully completing high school as an honors student, Jamal worked in television and radio production before migrating to the United States. He studied Liberal Arts at the University of North Carolina and, in 2008, he relocated to New York City to continue his studies at the City College of New York. Jamal holds a BA in Media and Communication Arts with a specialization in Advertising and Public Relations. He belongs to the Golden Key International Honors Society and is also a City College Kaye Scholar. In 2009, he joined Something Positive Dance Company.