Our Key Staff Members

Our Founder | Our Staff | Our Sponsors | Our Accomplishments

Foluké Cultural Arts Center

Founder/Executive Director

DAVA CANSLER, a Kent State University graduate and former Computer Specialist for a Department of Veteran Affairs, and the Department of Commerce, received a tremendous amount of exposure to the arts: dance, visual arts, instrumental, and vocal music as a child. She mastered several musical instruments self-taught, and studied violin under the direction of the late Hyman Schandler, at the Stuphen School of Music, who was the founder of the Cleveland Womens Orchestra, and member of the world renowned Cleveland Orchestra. It was under Mr. Schandler's tutelage that Ms. Cansler became a member of the All-City Orchestra, The Supplementary Educational Center Orchestra, The Mount Pleasant Orchestra, and a member of a string ensemble that won numerous awards and recognitions; all between Junior High and Senior High School.  As an adult Ms. Cansler was a member of the Duffy Liturgical Dance Ensemble, singing and dancing in performances locally, different parts of the U.S., Paris France, Barcelona Spain, and Sydney Australia.  In previous years, Ms. Cansler served as the Director of the Children’s Ministry at Lane Metropolitan CME Church, and director of the Dance Ministry that Foluké Cultural Arts evolved from. Ms. Cansler has received instruction in non-profit management through The Cleveland Foundation and Foundation Center.  She has served as Program Administrator for Cleveland School of the Arts Summer Dance Intensives (2005, 2006).  She is currently a Central Promise Ambassador representing the Central Promise Neighborhood. Under her direction Foluke Cultural Arts has become: A member of Cleveland Neighborhood Arts (CNA), a Cleveland Foundation sponsored collaborative of neighborhood arts organizations; A Promise Partner; a member of the Cleveland Arts Education Consortium; The National Guild of Community Arts Education; a member of the 2016 class of the Community Arts Education Leadership Institute (CAELI); a member of Business Volunteers Unlimited; and a member of The International Association of Blacks in Dance (IABD).
Artistic Staff

KEVIN MARR, II  A mentor, performer, choreographer, and director Mr. Marr is the Director to Cleveland Metropolitan School Districts All-City Dance Ensemble. Mr. Marr is a graduate of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District; he has attended Bowling Green State University studying Early Childhood Development and Cleveland State University studying Communication Management. The following venues Mr. Marr has performed or directed included: Play House Square, The Hannah Theater at Playhouse Square, PBS Kids/WVIZ Ideal Center, Cleveland Public Theater, Cleveland Playhouse, Cleveland Orchestra, Karamu House, John Carroll University, Case Western Reserve University, and Cleveland State University. Devoted mentor and teacher Mr. Marr makes daily efforts to engage himself in the productivity and journeys of his students. Kevin Marr II is always excited to be a part of any new performances and opportunities. Never allowing his craft to get in the way of it’s the purpose; Mr. Marr commits himself to give back through his work the joy that is within.  The following are some of Mr. Marr credits. They included: (2005-present) director and choreographer for the All-City Dance Ensemble/ Program and All-City Musical with Cleveland Metropolitan School District. Mr. Marr has instructed and is one of the choreographers for the Duffy Liturgical Dance Ensemble (Cleveland, OH), a member of Cleveland Dance Movement (Cleveland, OH). From 2006-2013 has worked in Primary and secondary education as a special needs instructor in Cleveland Metropolitan School District. A active artist in the Karamu Community and Cleveland Public Theater; some of the Karamu House projects included choreographing Black Nativity for 3 years, God’s Trombone, and You’ve Got Nerve. Not mention assisted Legendary Dance choreographer Dianne McIntyre in a production entitled Closure that premiere at Karamu House; several appearances an on WVIZ PBSKids. Some performance include: Why I Had to Dance directed and choreographed by Dianne McIntyre, Launch program Dance through Spirituals with Duffy Liturgical Dance Ensemble, and various show and opportunities performing in the Playhouse Square District.

DARNELL WEAVER is widely known for his teaching methods in Dance, Music, and Theater. Drawing from his professional performance background, he pushes children to reach new and exciting heights.  Darnell’s arts journey began at The Eleanor Rainey Institute, and the Cleveland School of the Arts, that led to studying Theater, Capoiera, Modern, Ballet, Hip Hop, Liturgical and African dance, as well as El Sistema (The System) and Suzuki methods for private Viola, Violin, Cello, Piano, Harp, and Drum instruction has made Mr. Weaver the well-rounded artist and teacher he is today.  Darnell has studied with Deeply Rooted of Chicago, Lula Washington, Troy Powell from Alvin Ailey, Liza Nancy of Contemporary Youth Orchestra, Cleveland Institute of Music, The Cavani String Quartet, Dianne Macintyre, Margaret Ford Taylor, Bowling Green State University Philharmonic, Cleveland State University, Cleveland Philharmonic Orchestra, Grammy award winner Peter Zolof, Zandra Richardson, and has worked with Daniel Bernard Romaine, Nipsy Russell, Dale Shields, Sammy Davis Jr. Jonathan Dunn, and Jennifer Holiday just to name a few.  He is also the Director of FluxNDance, an up and coming Dance company known for its eccentric invigorating choreography combining musicians who dance and act, as well as play live music.  Previously, Mr. Weaver had the pleasure of directing the orchestra at the Cleveland School of the Arts lower campus and is currently the Conductor for the El Sistema @Rainey orchestra. and is excited about blending the arts – music, dance, theater, and visual, - into one large and inspiring manuscript of life ‘s most beautiful qualities, stories and lessons.

FOLUKÉ-JATA (Jeffrey and the Artists), DETROIT, MI

Until recently, Foluké Cultural Arts Center has been an organization operating solely out of Cleveland, OH. Foluké has blessed to be able to further their mission in another city where there is a need for family oriented alternatives to negative behaviors, through training in the discipline of the performing arts. Foluké now encompasses a Detroit based dance company, Jeffrey & The Artists (JATA). It was founded in 2011 by the late Scott Jeffrey Bartell; a Detroit, Michigan native and graduate of Renaissance High School (2004) and University of the Arts (2008). JATA is an Urban-Contemporary company under the Artistic Direction of Lauren Taylor, a Lakewood, Ohio native. Jeffrey & The Artists Dance Company was restructured in March 2014, after the untimely death of its founder Scott Jeffrey Bartell in December 2012. It is comprised of six company members and two apprentice dancers. JATA has already performed across the Detroit Metropolitan area, and will continue to expand to other performance venues in various cities.

The goal of Foluké, Jeffrey & The Artists (JATA) is to: • Offer quality dance instruction through classes, workshops, and repertory programs taught by master teachers and world renowned performers and • Create professional performance opportunities so that students/participants may actively participate in the world of performing arts and showcase their artistic talents.

RICHARD GRAHAM II, is artistically known as Ric or Ricci Lebeau. Ric began dancing in the 5th grade with tap at Elizabeth Courville Elementary School in Detroit, MI.  This is where his love for the art of dance developed and expanded. Ric stopped studying dance in a school setting but continued to groom his craft in church, with various forms of inspirational dance; including Liturgical, miming, and Hip Hop Praise.  In 2012, Ric suffered the loss of movement in his legs, due to a rare form of arthritis. In September of 2014, Ric began dancing with Foluké-Jeffrey & The Artists, in memory of the late Scott Jeffrey Bartell.

LOGAN M. McCLENDON, started dancing as a self-taught kid in his living room memorizing music videos! Dance was a hobby until he decided to study Dance in academia for 1 year at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan & 4 years at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He now dances for Foluké Jeffrey & The Artists and is Social Media Chair. Dance is something that chose him. He used to run from the calling of Dance& now he chooses to embrace it daily.

LYDIA ALEXIS PORTER, graduated from Wayne State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Dance Education and is currently the dance teacher at Marvin L. Winans Academy of Performing Arts Elementary School. She has studied ballet (pointe), modern, jazz, tap, and African dance and has traveled to Buenos Aires, Argentina where she studied the Argentine Tango.  She has performed as a principal dancer in the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans, Louisiana and took the opportunity of a lifetime to perform with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra also as a principal dancer.  As a proud member of Foluké-Jeffrey & The Artists Dance Company, Lydia also holds the title of Administrative Assistant. Lydia plans to go back to school to get her Masters in Kinesiology: Occupational Therapy for Children.

LAUREN MICHELLE-RENEE TAYLOR, is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of the Wayne State University Maggie Allesee Department of Dance, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Dance Education/K-12 Certification, with 5 years of teaching experience with the Detroit Metropolitan area. As a member of the DuffyLit Teen Ensemble, Lauren performed in Paris, France; Barcelona, Spain and Sydney, Australia in the 2000 Olympics. With the Followers of David Liturgical Dance Ministry, from Lane Metropolitan CME Church, she performed with Foluké & The Cleveland School of the Arts collaborative concerts under the tutelage of Mr. Terence Greene. In 2008, Lauren was nominated for the prestigious ACDFA/Dance Magazine Awards for both Outstanding Student Choreographer and Outstanding Student Performer, for her choreographed work A Woman’s Window. Lauren proudly serves as Artistic Director of Foluké-Jeffrey & The Artists Dance Company, founded by the late Scott Jeffrey Bartell.

DANIELLE WALLACE, off to a late start, began her training at the age of 14 under the instruction of Gina Ellis, as a dancer in the Renaissance Dance Workshop. She attended college at Michigan State University, where she was a member of the Urban Dreams Hip Hop Dance Team, MSU Dance Orchesis and the only African American member of the MSU Dance Team. Upon graduating, Danielle went on to claim a spot as a Detroit Pride Cheerleader for the Detroit Lions 2013/14 seasons. Outside of her work with the team, she taught dance for after school programs for the Detroit Public School System, as well as performed in her own right through Vanity Rose Productions. More recently, she has become a member of the Foluké -Jeffrey & The Artists Dance Company, while teaching after school dance at Bunche Academy in Ecorse, MI.

KARLA LANE WILLIAMS, is a native to Michigan. She began her early dance training under Beverly Stone at MBS Training Center in Oak Park, Michigan.  Karla credits her love of dance to her sister, as they would often mimic music videos and perform for their mother. Her passion for dance helped her further her education as she graduated Cum Laude from Marygrove College with a Bachelor in Fine Arts in Dance Performance. After graduation, she continued her dance training in American Ballroom at the Arthur Murray Dance Studio. Karla has had the honor to work with and performed for various master choreographers. Her goal is to inspire children to dream big and to realize their potential