Central Avenue Dance Ensemble Bios (Old)

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Jenoyne Adams is author of the critically acclaimed, nationally best-selling novel Resurrecting Mingus (The Free Press/Simon and Schuster, February 2001) and Selah’s Bed (The Free Press, February 2003). A PEN USA Emerging Voices Fellow, Jenoyne has been featured in programs at the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Essence Music Festival, the National Black Arts Festival, the Mark Taper Auditorium, the Schomburg Museum and the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. She dances West African, Jazz, and Lindy Hop/Vernacular dance.

Fumilayo Bankole is a writer, dancer (Lindy Hop, jazz and Traditional West African), musician, actor and teacher. She has a BS in Chemistry and lives in Los Angeles with her son, Bomani.

Michael Brown, a native of Houston, Texas, is a Renaissance man. He’s been a professional roller skater, played semi-pro baseball, been an actor, member of several singing groups and choirs and has been an executive chef for Royal Norwegian Cruise Lines. He is founder and owner of Twin Knives Catering in Los Angeles.


Jawanza Dumisani is a native of a small French settlement off the Great Lakes. Born in Detroit, Michigan in the summer of ’53, Jawanza attended Mercy College of Detroit and moved to Los Angeles in 1979. He works as a design consultant for Alpine Carpet One in Brentwood. He is also a member of the Anassi Writer’s Workshop in Leimert Park Village. Jawanza begin dancing in October 2003 after accepting an invitation to join Chester Whitmore’s dance company.


Felicia Shelton-Oliver, a native born dancer, is a graduate of CSULB, and has a B.A. degree in English Education with emphasis in Linguistics. She has toured locally and internationally with numerous dance companies and artist such as Lula Washington’s LACDT, Joanie Bartels-Silly Time Dancers, Lenora Anson’s Liturgical Dance Troupe, Pasadena Civic Ballet Company, Black Ballet Jazz, and currently with Central Avenue Dance Ensemble. Felicia is a well-rounded dancer performing in all areas of dance, Ballet, Modern, Praise Dance, Jazz, Tap, African, Japanese, Hip-Hop, and Swing. Her first love to dancing is choreographing, and she has choreographed for several of the companies aforementioned, and was the lead dancer/choreographer for 10 years for the L.A.T.T.C. Dance Ensemble. She privately teaches praise dance, and is currently the head teacher at her church for praise dance. She also directs and sings in the choir at her church. She enjoys life, being a mom and wife, teaching, dancing, singing and choreographing, all to the beat of her heart.

Ron Parker is a native Californian, born and raised in Los Angeles. A graduate of U.C.L.A. with a degree in French and Linguistics. Ron is a nationally recognized dance instructor and Ballroom dancer. His hobbies include skiing, hiking, rock climbing, and dancing and performing a variety of Ballroom and social dances (including Argentine Tango, Salsa, Hustle, West Coast Swing, Lindy and Tap). He has performed with the Central Avenue Dance Ensemble since its inception and his dance experience includes performances in the musicals “At the Lincoln Theatre”, “De Obeah Mon” and "Didn't My Lord Deliver Daniel?", the T.V. shows “That’s So Raven” and “Tom Joyner Show”, and the movies “Lackawanna Blues” and “Their Eyes Were Watching God”. He is also a principal dancer with the Beverly Hills Cotillion Dance Ensemble.

Paul Thornhill – Born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Paul actually does live near Central Avenue and prides himself on being the best-dressed man in Los Angeles. Paul also dances West Coast swing, hustle, international style ballroom, and is an accomplished musician who plays guitar and piano.


Reginald T. Thornton – A singer, dancer and actor, Reggie is a native of Gary, Indiana. He has appeared in numerous television shows, such as Soul Train, Solid Gold, American Bandstand, The Wayne Brady Show, and General Hospital, and has danced throughout Europe with the Black Ballet Jazz Dance Company of Los Angeles. A graduate of Ball State University, Reggie is a member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity. He enjoys running with the NikeTown Running Club, and has completed eleven marathons and a number of 10K races.

Toni Thomas – Dancer/choreographer, native of Pittsburgh, PA, Toni holds a B.A. in Dance from Point Park College and an MFA in Dance from UC Irvine. She has performed and toured with the Pittsburgh Black Theater Dance Ensemble, the Atlanta Dance Theater, the play “Diary of a Black Man”, and performed internationally in West Africa. Her master’s thesis explored the validity of dance in conjunction with spirituality, and her recently completed documentary film “An Evening of Liturgical Dance” demonstrates the role of dance in worship services. Director at Joyful Praise dance ministry at Grant AME Church in Compton, CA, she is presently a dance teacher for the Los Angeles Unified School District.


Chester Whitmore (Artistic Director & Choreographer) - Dancing since 1974, Chester Whitmore originally studied to be a cinematographer. An encounter with famed tap dancer Fayard Nicholas changed his life. Eventually, Mr. Nicholas became his teacher and mentor. Mr. Whitmore has been jumping ever since. Lately, he has been traveling around the world on tour as a dancer, teacher, choreographer, director and entertainer. He has performed with the Lionel Hampton Orchestra, the Duke Ellington Orchestra under the direction of Mercer Ellington, the Count Basie Orchestra under the direction of Frank Foster, and the great Mile Davis. Chester Whitmore’s choreography can be seen in music videos by Weird Al Yankovic, Teena Marie, Boys II Men, and Sugar Ray. The NAACP Image Awards (1989-1994), Soul of American Music, and Stellar Awards (Gospel Music Awards) show Mr. Whitmore’s versatility in choreographing for diverse groups, such as the Nicholas Brothers with Savion Glover, M.C. Hammer, Levert, BeBe and CeCe Winans, Vickie Winans, and in dance tribute to Dick Clark and The Artist (formerly known as Prince).


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Central Ave Dance Ensemble