Lotus Performing Arts Studio
Stephanie Simms - Owner, a Charlotte, NC native, grew up like most kids who loved to dance, twisting and turning every time a great song played on the radio, or standing wide eyed in front of a TV anytime someone was performing. Before she had any formal training she was accepted into the dance program at the Northwest School of Performing Arts where her passion and technique grew simultaneously. It was here that Stephanie learned to tell a story and convey a message to an audience without using verbal language and dance became her favorite form of expression. She continued throughout high school and college to study dance at the North Carolina Governors School, the university of North Carolina at Greensboro and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Stephanie has performed with the UNC-G dance team, Power 98 dancers, Carolina Cowboys Cheerleaders, and the Charlotte Checkers Checkmates. She has been honored with the opportunity to perform amongst many talented dancers and has been requested to teach at a variety of venues throughout the triad. Stephanie passionately believes dance is first and foremost an art form understood best when conveyed from the heart using the body as a mere vessel and this mantra shines most clearly through her students.
Najjawa - Teacher - Began dancing at age 3 concentrating on jazz, tap and ballet. By 7 she began dancing at the Dance Institute of Washington, focusing on ballet and jazz. Najjawa was accepted to Duke Ellington School of the Performing Arts where she gained a better appreciation for dance, it was here where her love and passion for the arts and dance truly blossomed she saw growth in her skills and became more inclined with Modern, Ballet and African. She was taught by Sandra Fourtin Green, Cathy Smith and was fortunate enough to take classes with many other great dance legends. Once she graduated with a concentration and degree in dance Najjawa relocated to Atlanta and began teaching with after school programs such as AOC and Generation infocus. Najjawa is PBT certified, and has a love for teaching and growing young dancers .
Symone - Teacher - Has been dancing all her life! At around the age of 3 she danced with Bahamas dance theater in Nassau Bahamas, where she studied Ballet, modern, tap and Jazz. Symone is also a part of a Dance organization in The Bahamas - "THE VALLEY BOYS" it is a large group of musicians, dancers and performers who compete against other groups in a festival known as "Junkanno". Symone then went on to become a cheerleader and president of the dance ministry at Emmanuel College, Franklin Springs GA, where she also obtained her Bachelor's degree in Kinesiology (the study of the movement of the body!) She is currently studying for her 'NASM' National Academy of Sports Medicine certifications (CPT, CES) And recently obtained her Progressing Ballet Technique Certification. She has been with Lotus performing Arts for 5 years now and also continues to show her passion for dance in performing with the "Atlanta Junkanno Group" right here in Atlanta, Georgia! Symone is always smiling and always dancing and LPA is a second home to her!
Chrystola Luu - Teacher - was born in Atlanta, Georgia, but much of her childhood was spent in Monroe, Louisiana where she began her dance training at the age of three years old. She has trained in various styles of dance including ballet, pointe, tap, modern, jazz, musical theater, and aerial dance. Some of the highlights of Chrystola’s dance career includes winning Dancer of the Year in 2006 in the AMTC national talent competition in Charleston, South Carolina. She also gained recognition for her talents through the NAACP, where she was afforded the opportunity to compete in Orlando, Florida at the ACT-SO competition, placing amongst the top 20 dancers in the nation. Chrystola continued her dance training through college, attaining a dance scholarship and attending New World School of the Arts in Miami, Florida. She completed her degree at the University of Georgia, receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance in May 2012. While attending The University of Georgia, she was a member of CORE Concert Dance Company, an aerial and contemporary dance company, under the direction of Bala Sarasvati. Chrystola also had an experience of a lifetime, studying abroad in dance in Costa Rica for a maymester of college. Currently, Chrystola is a member of Zoetic Dance Ensemble, an all female contemporary dance company based in the Atlanta area.
Katesha - Studio Manager
Katesha- a multi-passionate creative from Baltimore, MD lives life by one of her favorite quotes, "Let the beauty you love be what you do". She spent over 12 years in a leadership role and had the pleasure of working for two retail giants. Those roles included department manager at Anthropologie and visual merchandiser and women's stylist at Nordstrom. Wanting to pursue more meaningful life work, she left retail and went on to work as an assistant art teacher at a non profit school here in Atlanta. For three years she enjoyed working with 5-12 yr olds and still nurtures those relationships by periodically dropping in to see her former students. Katesha believes in intentional and conscious living and relentlessly chooses to be purely authentic.