All American Talent

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About All American Talent

Our Faculty and Staff Make the Difference!

About All American Talent

The All American Talent Awards has the distinct honor of being one of the pioneers in the industry as we proudly launch our 35th Anniversary Season. As a performer/instructor my vision was to design a program that would showcase developing talent bringing together students, families, instructors and celebrity professionals in an inspirational atmosphere of themes, costumes, choreography, performance and the spirit of achievement.

The All American Talent Awards began with a Winter Open National in Harrisburg, PA, which soon became a Thanksgiving Tradition for families from all over the country for nearly three decades. As life long friendships were made, together as the All American Talent Award family, we all have nurtured the novices, applauded advancement and appreciated and respected the outstanding for their inspiration and motivation for us all to continue to strive and achieve.

We are proud to have earned an outstanding reputation for professionalism, impeccable standards of fairness and honesty, a friendly and respectful staff complete with the incomparable talents shared by our distinguished panel of judges. Over the years, we’ve watched not only our contestants grow and develop with outstanding performances and career advancements but so many of our studio directors, instructors and judges as well.

There has been unforgettable show stopping moments and well deserved success stories. Over the years, to have watched the development of our contestants such as Rasta Thomas, Michelle Wiles, the Canterna sisters, Jordan & Janelle Viscomi… to name a few, has been both an honor and pleasure. I am proud to have created the All American Talent Awards that has had such a positive effect on so many lives. We have developed and grown together with cherished memories that will last a lifetime… with the Best yet to Come!

Susan Yushko
Director

Mr. All American Dance Luke Coar, Take A Bow Performing Arts Center Ms. All American Dance Brittany Semmel, Dance with Kim School of Performing Arts
AAT Judge/Instructor Greg Zane shown working on stage at Lincoln Center as Associate Choreographer of the Tony Awarding Winning Musical "The King & I".
Photo credit: Billy Bustamante

See Some Of Our Amazing Judges

JAMALE GRAVES

Image: Jamale Graves with MTV “Choreographer of the Year Awards”

Jamele Graves has choreographed several Broadway productions including Village Wooing, Going Back Home, Martha Wash at Town Hall, and a special season of Jamale Graves Live at Lincoln Center. In addition, Jamale has choreographed numerous music videos, international tours, television commercials, and motion films, such as The War starring Kevin Costner, Red Corner starring Richard Gere, Condition Red starring Nicolas Cage, and When We Were Kings: The Story of Muhammad Ali. For his choreographic innovation, he has made guest appearances on Regis & Kathy Lee, Good Morning America, Good Day New York, VH1’s Top 100 Videos, MTV’s Top 10 Dance Videos, and the MTV & BET Awards. In addition to having been named MTV Choreographer of The Year and BET R&B Choreographer of The Year, Jamale is a recipient of The Smithsonian Institute Award for his choreography featured in A Woman Called Truth: The Story of Sojourner Truth. He holds a Peabody Award for his feature in the PBS documentary Dance in America: Everybody Dance Now, the Golden Rose Award for Commercial of The Year featuring supermodel Claudia Schiffer, and numerous American Music, Billboard, and Platinum Artist Awards. Jamale is proud to have been part of the creative team to bring the Oscar Award winning film When We Were Kings to the “silver screen”. Currently, Jamale teaches Jazz throughout the country and around the world.

KENNY STILL

Image: Kenny Still and MJ during the taping of Bad.

Kenny Still, a choreographer, has worked with such artists as: Beyonce, Michael Jackson, Toni Braxton, Joe , Sting, The Rolling Stones, Will Smith, Vanessa Williams, C & C Music Factory & more . As a dancer, he has exhibited his talent in videos and tours for many award winning recording artists, and has appeared on top rated television shows such as: Oprah, the Arsenio Hall Show, MTV, The Billboard Awards, American Music Awards, BET, Disney and the Soul Train Awards. As a teacher, Mr. Stills has taught dance all over the United States and abroad including Africa, London, Japan & Italy, bringing what he calls the New York Jazz Style to the international scene. In the United States, Mr. Stills has taught the art of dance to many students at various universities and private dance studios. The ability to give back what he knows and has learned over the years is one of his best teaching qualities.

ALEX SANCHEZ

Image: Alex Sanchez & Chita Rivera

Alex Sanchez As a performer Alex has spent 15 years in New York, performing in over 10 Broadway shows, five City Center Encores productions and countless regional theaters. He spent the first ten years of his career as a concert ballet dancer and was a soloist, with Chicago City Ballet/ Ballet .Alex recently choreographed FIORELLO for The New York City Centers Encores!, GIANT at The Public Theater and the world premiere of FAR FROM HEAVEN at Williamstown Theater Festival. He also choreographed the new musical production of ROMAN HOLIDAY at the Guthrie Theatre as well as numerous other award winning productions. Alex holds the distinction of being one of the original cast members of the Broadway Show “Fosse” and most recently choreographed a new musical “On The Town” and created a special number with some of the best dancers from the great white way for the 2014 Rolex Dance Award presented to Angela Lansbury with special guests James Earl Jones and Chita Rivera.

GREG ZANE

Greg Zane currently associate choreographer The King & I at Lincoln Center Theatre, NYC and Ballet teacher Peridance at the Capezio Center and Broadway Dance Center, NYC. Greg’s association with that show goes back to dancing in the 1996 Broadway Revival and the 2000 West End/ London Revival which led him to direct and/or choreograph several productions of The King & I . His directorial and/or choreographic credits also include: Carousel, Annie, Peter Pan, Seussical, The Sound of Music , The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and Grease. Greg has also danced professionally with the Alberta Ballet, Los Angeles Chamber Ballet, and Hawaii Ballet Theatre as a principal dancer. In addition to guest teaching at various dance academies across the US Greg has also taught at American Ballet Theatre. In addition to teaching various levels of ballet to pre-professionals and professional dancers from companies such as ABT, Boston Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Royal Swedish Ballet, Ballet Hispanico, and Broadway professionals, Greg also teaches in Rosie O’Donnell’s arts education organization in New York City public schools: Rosie’s Broadway Kids.

CHERICE BARTON

Cherice Barton is thrilled to have recently joined the creative team of America’s Got Talent as Choreography Associate and is currently teaching at the Broadway dance Center and Steps on Broadway. Prior to joining the AGT team, Cherice worked with George Lucas, choreographing an untitled Lucasfilm Animated Project.

Cherice choreographed the Off-Broadway production, Wearing Lorca’s Bowtie, at the Duke on 42nd Street and is proud to have been on the original creative team of the epic Broadway show,Spider-Man, Turn Off the Dark. Prior to Ms. Barton’s return to NYC from Las Vegas, she was the resident choreographer and casting evaluator for Franco Dragone’s cirque aquatic spectacle,Le Reve, at the Wynn Resort Hotel and Casino.

An extensive background in the conception and production of live events has led Cherice to creatively direct, choreograph and collaborate on numerous notable projects including productions by American Ballet Theater, Aszure Barton & Artists, Ballet British Columbia, Dragone Entertainment Group, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Chutzpah! Festival, Steps Repertory Ensemble and many more. She has joined forces with numerous prestigious artists and innovators such as George Lucas, Aszure Barton, Julie Taymor, Franco Dragone, Mia Michaels, Vincent Paterson, Serge Denancourt, Giuliano Peparini, John Carrafa and Crystal Pite, to name a few.

Cherice is frequently asked to conduct master classes, choreograph for and join forces with such distinguished institutions as The Juilliard School, Pace University, Marymount Manhattan College, Suny Purchase College, Barnard College at Columbia University, Adelphi College and The Banff Center School of Fine Arts. Cherice Barton’s performance career has spanned 20 years in over 30 countries across six continents.

See Reviews on Obediah... NY Times and more

OBEDIAH WRIGHT

Image: Obediah Wright & Angela Basset

Stage Director/Choreographer, Founder/Artistic Dir. Balance Dance Theatre, Master Teacher, Assistant choreographer Block Nativity. Obadiah has received his training from: the Bernice Johnson Dance Studio, LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts, Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre, Dance Theatre of Harlem, and the Julliard School. He has choreographed and taught master classes throughout the country and abroad in prestigious places such as: Japan, Hong Kong, Sweden, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands and Martinique, and the French West Indies. Obediah has worked with: Ray Charles, Dionne Warwick, Aretha Franklin, Isao Tomita, M’bogeni Ngema (writer, choreographer and director of Broadway Musical “Sarafina”, Suzan Birkenhead (Lyrist for Broadway’s “Jelly’s Last Jam”), Diana Ross and a new generation of artists including Janet Jackson, Erykah Badu, and Ashanti.

CHANON JUDSON

Chanon Judson is a cum Laude graduate from University at Buffalo. She was a member of Cotton Club Parade and the Tony Award winning musical Fela! Chanon is a former company member and rehearsal director for the critically acclaimed Urban Bush Women, and served as Director for UB2 –Urban Bush Women’s performing apprentice ensemble.

She served as Site Director for Ailey Camp Kansas City MO and is a teaching artist with Alvin Ailey Arts in Education, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Bill T. Jones / Arnie Zane Dance Co., Urban Bush Women, Earl Mosley’s Institute of the Arts and the Public Theatre.

Her commercial credits include Victoria Secrets Live, L’Oreal Live, the Jimmie Fallon Show Macy’s at Radio City, and the Michael Jackson 30th Anniversary Concert.

JILL MARIE VALLERY

Jill Marie Vallery is an award-winning dancer and choreographer of theater, television, and film. She is an original cast member of the Tony Award Winning Broadway musical FELA!, where she was also the Dance Captain for its Broadway, international, and national tours. During the2013 national tour, the New Orleans native was promoted to Tour Assistant Choreographer andalso served as the Resident Promotional Choreographer. As a dancer and choreographer, Ms. Vallery has worked with the legendary Patti Labelle, Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child, South Africa recording artist Tsidii Le Loka, the Afro-Beat band Antibalas, and other talented artists. Ms. Vallery is a recipient of the Fred and Edele Astaire Award for “Outstanding Excellence on Stage” and of the ACCA (Advisory Committee on Chorus Affairs) Actors Equity Award for “Outstanding Broadway Cast.” An Ailey School graduate, she has worked extensively withyouth throughout the United States and abroad, often teaching master classes and workshops,including as an Ailey Arts and Education Teaching Artist.

Currently a New York based artist, Jill is studying acting, and combining her passion for film and dance by directing and choreographing two dance-on-film projects that she will enter in Lincoln Center ‘Dance on Camera’ Festival 2014. She is also helping to develop a cultural arts education program in New Orleans with New Orleans South Africa Connection.

LAINIE SAKAKURA

Image: Alex Sanchez & Lainie Sakakura on the Red Carpet Choreographers for Chita Rivera “Opening at the Copacabana”

Lainie Sakakura was part of the original creative team to help bring the musical Fosse to Broadway, working on the Dance Reconstruction for over 70 Fosse numbers. She was also a performer and Dance Captain for the original Broadway company. Ms. Sakakura also performed in the original Broadway companies of The King And I (revival), Tommy Tune’s The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public and the recent revival of Flower Drum Song. Her other NY credits include: Radio City Rockette, member of Ballet Hispanico of NY and Associate Choreographer for Pajama Game at Encores! CityCenter. Ms. Sakakura currently choreographs and received the Joseph Jefferson Award for her work on Damn Yankees as well as a nomination for her work on Hot Mikado, both at the Marriott Theatre in Chicago. She has worked on numerous other projects ranging from the play Syncopation which the NY Times called “seamless” to Jimmy Buffett’s concert tour. Ms. Sakakura has enjoyed teaching at the Joffrey Ballet School Summer Program, Broadway Dance Center NYC and NJ Ballet as well as many master classes across the country.

GARRETT "SPAGHETTI" MINNITI

Garrett "Spaghetti" Minniti found his happy feet on stage at the age of 8 singing and dancing with the West Coast Musical Theatre Co and by age 10 he was performing all over southern California. By the age of 14 it was clear that dance would be his destiny. His ever present smile, charm, and passion were methodically trained while performing with numerous song and dance troupes, competitive dance teams, and main-stage musicals at Orange County High School of the Arts and West Coast School of the Arts. After less than a year at UCLA’s School of Theatre, Film & Television, Garrett hit the road when he was cast in international tap dance sensation Caution: Men at Work Tap, and quickly jumped to tours of Broadways SWING! and 42nd Street. Other credits include Mike (A Chorus Line), Danny (Grease), Cosmo (Singing in the Rain), The Great American Songbook, Starring Ed Ames and Carol Lawrence (Branson, MO), and the world premier production of GIDGET, A New Musical written and directed by Francis Ford Coppola.

Garrett is the co-Artistic Director and co-Founder of New York based In It For Life Productions. In It For Life has produced 11 showcases and original productions Off- Broadway and 17 dance workshops across the country since it’s inception in 2007 which have featured some of the industries most sought after choreographers, educators, and dancers. In 2013 Garrett and business partner Ahkai debuted The Breakthrough Outreach & Performance Co; an international dance company, school, management company, and outreach program, and perhaps more importantly, a movement.

Currently Garrett is supervising a NEW atmosphere show Tap Worx, which he created for Universal Studios Hollywood, teaching for the EDGE Performing Arts Center in Hollywood, Ca and adjudicates and teaches annually through Western Canada with Showtime Dance Promotions. He has taught for STEPS on Broadway (when in New York), as well as numerous other events, schools, conventions, festivals and studios nationally and internationally. Garrett is also the co-founder of MPower Dance Workshops which focuses on helping students connect the disciplines learned in the dance studio to finding success in any aspect of life. Currently MPower Dance and In It For Life are working together to create Flash Mob performances nation ide to promote STOMP Out Bullying, the nations largest anti-bullying campaign. Garrett constantly strives to provide quality, energetic, and memorable dance educational experiences to students of all ages and levels, and to pass along the exceptional training and inspiration that he has received from his mentors.

Our Professional Staff

MICHAEL D. LUTZ

Jack-Of-All-Trades

Michael Lutz has worked with All American Talent Awards for almost 15 years. Michael has assisted the All American Talent team in a wide variety of capacities and has become the “jack of all trades,” frequently filling the roles of tabulator, stage hand, awards coordinator, and any other role that needs attention.

When he is not at the All American Talent Awards, Michael is a nationally recognized health insurance expert focusing on Medicare and Medicaid programs as Director of Health Reform for Washington, DC-based Avalere Health. He assists health plans, state, and federal government agencies throughout the United States and the United Kingdom. Michael has special expertise in Medicare Advantage, Medicaid Managed Care, Medicare Part D and behavioral health programs and is a frequent speaker on the development of programs for the elderly, uninsured and medically needy.

Michael holds a B.A. in Economics from Dickinson College and an M.B.A. in Risk Management and Insurance from Temple University’s Fox School of Business.

In addition, Michael actively supports the American Cancer Society’s Carbon-Tamaqua Unit’s fundraising and education campaigns.

JOE KRUSHINSKY

MC

Joe Krushinsky is Chief Development Officer at Maryland Public Television and has worked in Public Broadcasting for the last 20 years both at stations and at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. At CPB, he directed the Public Television Future Fund and led a team of project officers responsible for a portfolio of significant research and development projects. Mr. Krushinsky is Executive Producer of a number of concert programs for public television, and was national host of the “Bandstand Days” 40th anniversary celebration as well a Drum Corp International World Championship competition on PBS. He is a 27-year volunteer chairman and host of the American Cancer Society Telethon in Pennsylvania. He has twice been named American Cancer Society volunteer of the year. He was Development Professional of the year for the National Educational Television Association in 2003, and has been recognized with several PBS awards for fundraising. Joe Krushinsky: Vice President/Development Maryland Public Television. TV Worth Watching.

JASON MARQUETTE

MC

Jason Marquette graduated with a BFA in Musical Theater from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Performance credits include the original cast of the 1st National Tour of the revival of 42nd Street, The Musical, theme parks and regional theaters all across the country. In 2008 he mounted his self-produced NYC production The Next Step. His choreography has also been seen in the SUNY New Paltz Production of Stephen Sondheim’s Company, Wittenberg University’s Fall Dance Concert as well as music videos, corporate events and various showcases in New York and around the world. He is the owner/operator of Marquette Productions – The Dancer’s Music Source (www.marquetteproductions.com) and is a partner of MPower Dance Workshops – Master Classes and Workshops that Mpassion, Mpower and Motivate (www.mpowerdance.com)

Jason, has been teaching for over 20 years in cities all across the country as well as internationally in Helsinki, Finland; Guayaquil, Ecuador and Guatemala City. He has taught at the DanceTeacherWeb Live Conference and Expo in Las Vegas and appears on their website under the Tap category. Jason was also on faculty at various studios in New York City including New Dance Group, The Peridance Capezio Center and Broadway Dance Center for 6 years teaching Tap and Theater Dance. He is currently on faculty teaching tap at the New York Film Academy, Battery Park Campus.

“Make your own destiny. Fate is determined by determination.” Jason Marquette

JOHN DAULBY

MC

John Daulby has always had a passion for dance. He began his training in ballet, hip hop and jazz at a very young age at multiple dance schools on the east coast. After graduating high school, John attended the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where he performed works of Roni Koresh, Augeste Bournonville, and Brian Sanders. At UArts, he also got the opportunity to perform with the Ira Brind School of Theatre Arts in their production of On Your Toes, choreographed by Scott Jovovich. John graduated in May of 2012 with a BFA in Dance Performance and awards in creativity and outstanding service to the school of dance. After graduation, John started traveling all over the country choreographing for numerous dance studios and dance teams. John’s choreography was selected to participate in the New York Jazz Choreography Project and was a finalist in the 2012 Jazz Dance World Congress Choreography Competition. Just recently, John became a member of the distinguished Dance Masters of America organization. Throughout the school year, John works at The Grier School for girls where he is a full time faculty member educating students from all over the world in Tyrone, Pa. He also spends his fall, winter, and spring months working at Centre Dance in State College, Pa choreographing and educating students of Avid Dance productions.

SUSAN YUSHKO

Director

As a performing arts instructor teaching dance, vocal, drama & modeling, Susan has worked with many world renowned instructors, Choreographers and Celebrities. Susan continues to teach at multiple Performing Art studios on the East Coast of which she is owner & artistic Director. Susan has developed City cultural extension programs and has awarded scholarships in numerous school systems. Winning numerous awards & titles, Susan has worked as a producer & choreographer in the Miss America Franchise and also as an Entertainment Interviewer & UPI reporter interviewing top name personalities & celebrities.

Susan’s work in the performing arts has gained her students as well as numerous students across the country national recognition in the dance world, on Broadway & television as well as affording students scholarships and opportunities to some of this countries most prestigious school, institutes & companies. Susan has been recognized for her work in the performing arts being named Outstanding Young Woman of America and has been nominated to the list of Who’s Who in Finance & Industry & Who’s Who of American Women. Susan has built a reputation for recognizing outstanding talent and providing opportunities to both reward and inspire students to continue to achieve their goals in the performing arts. The All American Talent Awards is proud to recognize participants who have joined the ranks of Broadway in: the NY cast of Gypsy starring Bernadette Peters, the Broadway Production of Lion King, Raisin In the Sun starring James Earl Jones & Chitty Bang.

An Alumni member of the Burt Reynolds’s Institute of Theatre Training, Susan recently worked as an adjudicator with Mr. Reynolds and has recently been selected to be a member of his “New Company” directed by Mr. Reynolds. Susan will also be scouting talent for career opportunities during the All American Talent Award events.

MICHAEL PAGIDAS

Merchandizing and Front House

AAT front of house Manger, Merchandising control and Public Relations Representative. A graduate of Trinity College where he completed his MBA Michael currently resides in New York City and has spent many years in event planning and production. In addition he has spent 16 years on Wall Street and teaching science courses at the high school level. Michael is also a US Navy veteran and is currently teaching in the NYC school system.