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Meet the Company


Karen Bernstein’s professional dance career spans 40 years and includes performing as principal dancer with six professional dance companies nationally and internationally; directing two dance companies; teaching at numerous universities and private studios; working as a master teaching artist; and presenting workshops at conferences, universities, and art organizations throughout the US and abroad, including Russia and India.  She is presently working as a dance consultant for various art organizations in the Washington, DC area. Through her career she has had the pleasure and honor to work with Twyla Tharp, Murray Louis, May O’Donnell, Hannah Kahn, Ohad Naharin, Rachel Lampert, Phyllis Lamhut, Anna Sokolow, Matthew Diamond, Senta Driver, Pat Catterson, Viola Farber, Mel Wong, Bill Evans, Doug Varone, Jan Van Dyke, and Eric Hampton. In 2010, she received the Dance Metro DC Alan M. Kreigsman Award in recognition for her ongoing artistic and community service.

Harriet Moncure Williams, Rehearsal Director, has been on the faculty at the Maryland Youth Ballet since 1982. Williams received her early training at the Richmond Academy of Ballet and later with Eric Hampton in Washington, DC. She was graduated from the University of Richmond and was a leading dancer with the Virginia Ballet Theatre. She performed with Perlo/Bloom & Company for many seasons. She has taught dance at Randolph-Macon College, George Washington University, Arlington Center for Dance, Dance Place, Richmond Academy of Ballet, Lancaster Ballet, and master classes for Dance Educators of America, Towson State University, and the NW American College Dance Festival. She has created dances for Maryland Youth Ballet, Perlo/Bloom & Company, Southern Virginia Dance Company, Center Dance Ensemble, and Ballet Theater of Lancaster. As the conservator of the choreographic work of the late Eric Hampton, she has staged his work at the Juilliard School, Washington Ballet, Rincones & Company, CityDance Ensemble, The Maryland Youth Ballet, and DanceSmith.

Karen Studd, Movement Analyst, holds a Masters degree in Dance from University of Oregon (1983). She is also a CMA (Certified Movement Analyst), RSMT and RSME (Registered Somatic Movement Therapist and Registered Somatic movement Educator). Karen has taught in the Dance Departments of the University of Oregon, the University of Wisconsin, George Washington University and George Mason, where she is a tenured dance faculty member. She is a teacher of dance technique, experiential anatomy, dance composition and dance appreciation. She is also a choreographer and has set works on both professional and student companies. Karen’s teaching is grounded in the theories of Laban/Bartenieff movement studies and is focused on personal development through the art of movement. For twenty years she has taught in the Laban/Bartenieff Institute for Movement Studies Certification Programs across the United States and in Canada. Internationally, she has taught dance in workshops in Krakow, Poland, the International Summer Dance Festival, in Poznan, Poland and has presented papers and given workshops in Brazil and Bratislava. She has been recently active in the observation of movement of political pundits and has been interviewed by the Washington Post newspaper and on television’s Hard Ball commentary with Chris Mathews.

Todd Mion has been a lighting designer in the Baltimore Washington area for over 25 years. His designs for dance and theatre have been seen in Baltimore, Washington DC, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and even in Edinburgh, Scotland. In his capacity as Production Manager for Goucher College’s Dance Department Todd has lit pieces for Zippora Karz (NYCB), Tresbien Pollard (Pilobolus) and will be lighting a piece in a few weeks for Susan Jaffe, former principal dancer with the The American Ballet Theatre. Todd is pleased to be working with Dakshina.

Adam Carey, General Manager, has studied performance, leadership, and project management since 2004. From 2011 to 2012, Adam directed the youth leadership and education program known as Middle School Experience in Leadership as part of the non-profit Maryland Leadership Workshops. His passion for performance lead him to pursue an education in drama and, since receiving his BFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts in 2013, Adam has worked in media production and arts administration roles in New York, Los Angeles, and Washington DC.


Native to California, Pascha Barnwell spent most of her childhood overseas in Europe where she began dancing at the age of three. Upon returning to the U.S., she continued her studies at the Dance Theatre of Harlem and The Ailey School. Ms Barnwell has performed with the State Ballet of Rhode Island, The Seventh Principle, Genesis Dance Company, Washington Reflections Dance Company and Gesel Mason Performance Projects. She currently serves as Registrar at the Maryland Youth Ballet and is the primary modern and improvisation teacher for their summer programs. She also teaches, choreographs and guests in the metro area.

Julia Battist trained at the National conservatory of Paris (CNSMDP) and at the school “Le Monde de La Danse “. In 2008 she won the great Art Prize for her interpretation of “Nikiya( la Bayadère ) at the International dance contest of Dinant (Belgium ). Battist performed classical repertory for two years touring Europe with the “Ballet Classique de Paris” under the artistic direction of Jeannette Jacquet.
Since May 2014, she is working with the  “Nyane Khosi Dance Theatre ” in New York. She joined the Dakshina in Washington DC in June 2014. Julia Battist has been deeply inspired and influenced by two artists of her family: Clement Bottier and Frederic Veys . She considers her teacher Muriel Duclos as her cherished mentor.

Jamal Ari Black is originally from Goldsboro, N.C. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a B.F.A. in Dance Performance and Choreography.  He was a 2006 recipient of a Stagecraft Apprenticeship from the American Dance Festival.  While in N.C. he danced with John Gamble Dance Theater, Cyrus Art Productions, and Jan Van Dyke Dance Group.  Currently residing in Texas, Jamal is excited to start the MFA program at the George Washington University.

Helen Marie Carruthers has been performing in the D.C. area for many years with companies such as The Washington Ballet, ARKA Ballet, and DanceSmith. Ms. Carruthers also ventured into the musical theater world, performing in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, the national tour of The Will Rogers Follies, and locally, The Producers. She also currently has a massage therapy practice in Ellicott City, MD. Helen Marie is thrilled to be dancing with Dakshina!

Sudha Radhakrishnan started learning Bharatha Natyam from Padmasri. Adyar. K. Lakshman and then graduated from the world renowned dance institute, Kalakshetra, in Chennai (India). She has given several solo and group performances in many places over the past 12 years, including India, Thailand and Reunion Islands (France). She has been performing and teaching since she moved to the DC metro area. She has danced with Dakshina for over 5 seasons.

Rachel Turner is originally from Chicago, IL where she trained at Hyde Park School of Dance and as part of the Ballet Chicago Studio Company, where she learned and performed the works of George Balanchine, and has also trained with summer programs at American Ballet Theater and Alonzo King Lines Ballet. She graduated from Columbia University in 2013 with a B.A. in Dance. In addition to dancing with Dakshina, she directs her own company, Errant Movement, and has worked with DancEthos and ArasDance. She has presented her choreography at Dance Exchange, The Jack Guidone Theater, The Clarice at UMD, and Dance Place, and she teaches dance at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, Metropolitan Ballet Theater and Academy, and Sitar Arts Center.

Mac Twining studies ballet in NYC with Nadege Hottier and contemporary dance with a variety of artists. He performed with Dakshina when he was 9 and is delighted to have the chance to work with Dan again.  

Artistic director Daniel Phoenix Singh attributes his love of dance to Pamela Matthews, a long time friend, teacher, and mentor. Singh holds an MFA in dance and a Graduate certificate in Women’s Studies from the University of Maryland, and he studied Bharata Natyam with Guru Meena Telikicherla for several years. Singh has been studying the Cuban/Colombian variations of Salsa and Merengue with Javier Varela and Shawn Malone for over nine years and has studied Tango with Sharna Fabiano for two years. He continues to train at the Maryland Youth Ballet and he considers Karen Bernstein, Harriet Moncure Fellows, and Lorry May his cherished mentors.