Marlon Torres, Executive Director

Marlon Torres is the Executive Director of North Carolina Arts in Action, an organization that helps children reach their full potential using performing arts as the catalyst to build focus, discipline, self-esteem, teamwork and leadership. Marlon began his career as a principal dancer in Mini Pops – a highly-rated Venezuelan televised dance ensemble featuring child performers, which enchanted millions of loyal viewers in Venezuela and the Caribbean. As former principal dancer of the international modern dance company, Galumpha, Marlon created and performed award-winning choreography showcased around the world. He has performed dancing roles on stages throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia, including the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach, FL, California's Napa Valley Opera House, Finland's Jyväskylä Festival, the ARTE Television network in Germany, and the Singapore Arts Festival. Marlon’s work as a Planner, Trainer, and Developer of Project Management Concepts through Body Movement received the 2014 Platinum Award from the NC Project Management Institute. In June 2016, the Certified Association Executive (CAE) Commission of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) conferred on Marlon the CAE designation, the highest professional credential in the association industry. To be designated as a CAE, an applicant must have a minimum of three years of experience with nonprofit organization management, complete a minimum of 100 hours of specialized professional development, pass a stringent examination in association management, and pledge to uphold a code of ethics. Marlon is a certified project management professional (PMP), has an MBA in marketing from the University of Leicester in the UK, and holds a B.A. in theatre and dance from Binghamton University. He recently joined the Downton Durham Rotary Innovation Fellowship class of 2017.

Alton Tisino, Artistic Director

Alton is NC AIA's Artistic Director and Master Teaching Artist. He was transformed by the arts at an early age, having been a participant of the Texas affiliate of the National Dance Institute, the program on which NC AIA is modeled. After receiving his B.A. in communication studies from Texas State University –San Marcos, he went on to assist NDI’s founder Jacques d’Amboise in several residencies in West Hartford, Connecticut and the Catskill Mountains. Alton is also a published songwriter/composer. His credits include 3 original holiday compositions for Christmastime, the critically acclaimed album by national recording artist and dear friend of NC AIA Yolanda Rabun, as well as her Top 20 adult contemporary hit single, Hold On to Your Dreams. Alton has also collaborated with award-winning off-Broadway playwright Mitch Uscher as the sole composer in the original musical production, Baby girl as well writing and producing for actress and vocalist Rozlyn Sorrell.

Doug Largent, Music Director

Doug Largent is a Carrboro, NC-based music director, double bassist, jazz organist and pianist. After earning his degree at UNC-Chapel Hill, Doug worked in New York City as a freelance musician at jazz clubs such as The Blue Note, Smalls, and the Jazz Standard. As a studio musician, he contributed to hundreds of projects, including Emmy-winning children's programs Wonder Pets, Sesame Street, and Third and Bird. After moving back to NC in 2010, Doug has played in productions at NC Theater, Burning Coal Theater, and Raleigh Little Theater. He has served on the faculty of The UNC Jazz Workshop. His jazz group The Doug Largent Trio has released five albums. Doug plays organ and bass at Unity Church of the Triangle and Cornerstone Presbyterian. He accompanies ballet classes at Duke University. Doug has been performing in NC Arts in Action productions since 2013, came on as a full-time accompanist in 2015, and became music director in 2016.

Jennifer has meandered her way in and out of the Dance, Movement and Arts worlds her whole life. She has traveled the world with off-broadway shows and small contemporary companies, taught in higher education and found her voice again as "Dancer With an Attitude", writing dance, theater, and book reviews. Her work caught the attention of the Dance Critics Association and she received their 2011 Emerging Writer Award. She brought movement expertise to the world of animation and film with Grasshorse Studios.  She continued honing her administrative chops with CORE Performance Company, a small but prolific internationally touring dance company based in Houston and Atlanta. Jennifer is amidst a reinvention and renaissance as a filmmaker and video installation artist. Today she is bringing her skills, dance and music, to the public school system through N.C. Arts in Action.

Kathy Berberian, Teaching Artist

Kathy holds a BFA in Dance from Florida State University and an MA in Dance Education from NYU.  She has taught and choreographed in numerous venues, including DPS at both the elementary and high school levels in Durham since 2001.  Currently, Kathy is Dance Instructor at the NC School of Science and Math in Durham.   Additionally, she has taught dance in NY public schools, and a range of summer programs for young children in many different parts of the country.  Kathy has performed with the Choreo Collective locally and with the Montgomery Co. Ballet Company in Silver Spring, MD.

Suzi Landis, Teaching Artist

Suzi Landis is a North Carolina native with more than 20 years experience teaching ages three to senior citizens in ballet, tap and jazz. She is a certified Grade II Cecchetti teacher and currently teaches ballet at City Ballet in Raleigh, N.C. She has been a contributing writer to Dance Teacher Magazine and Dance Spirit Magazine. Suzi has a degree in Communications and a minor in Dance from Appalachian State University. She was a dancer and choreographer with the Appalachian Dance Ensemble, performing original ballet and modern dance pieces. She is a former board member of the North Carolina Dance Alliance and continues to enjoy master classes in all forms of dance to keep her mind and body at its fullest potential!

Christiana Murphy, Lead Teaching Artist

Christiana Barnett-Murphy has been a teaching dance throughout the triangle since 2009 and has been a teaching artist with NC Arts in Action since 2012. She began her professional dance career at age sixteen and has performed in works by Andrea E. Woods Valdes, Ava Lavonne Vinesett, Dendy Dance Theater, Diego Carrasco and more. Christiana has attended the American Dance Festival for six summers as a student and during the summers of 2012-2016 Christiana was the personal assistant to ADF faculty member, Jesse Zaritt. She has been on faculty at the Triangle Youth Ballet since 2011 and has been the director of TYB’s summer dance intensive, Cirque de Danse since 2013. Christiana continues to choreograph her own work perform regularly and has been showcased in Tobacco Road Dance Productions, Durham ArtWalk and The Durham Arts Council’s Centerfest in 2013, 2014 and 2015. In 2013 she received the DAC Ella Fountain Pratt Emerging Artist grant which supported her solo work, BURNING. In addition to her professional teaching, Christiana regularly volunteers at the Reality Center of Durham teaching dance to teens and adults with developmental disabilities.

Sue danced most of her life in the Philadelphia area performing with Pa Ballet, Philadanco, various theater companies and was a founding member of South Jersey Ballet. She has a BFA in Speech, Theater & Dance and is an accredited early childhood educator. Since moving to Raleigh, NC, Sue has been a Pre-K teacher and a dance teacher in public and private school systems. She is part of the faculty at City Ballet of Raleigh and now is excited to be a teaching artist with Arts in Action. 

Kim Demery, Project Manager 

Kim Demery is a multi-talented music educator, author and speaker who received her music education degree from Northwestern University.  She joined AIA as Project Manager for L.E.A.P. Team (Learning, Excellence and Perseverance) in the Fall of 2016. She has a solid teaching foundation in public and non-profit arts education and is a thought leader with multi-layered experience in Program Development, and Operations Management. As a featured presenter and speaker for the North Carolina Symphony education program,  Ms. Demery's work with her students has been featured at the North Carolina Music Educators'  Conference and on UNC-TV's Carolina Now.  With over ten years of professional corporate experience, she managed training and development in Broadcast Operations at HBO Communications in New York. As Director of Programming for arts education programs, she is planning to use her varied experiences to encourage students to become life-long lovers of the arts who seek to become leaders in their schools and communities.

Rachel Lee, Assistant Teacher LEAP Team 

Rachel began her dance training at Raleigh School of Ballet and was a member of its pre-professional ballet company, Raleigh Dance Theatre. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance and Choreography from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Rachel also received training at the North Carolina School of the Arts summer program and was awarded scholarships for the summer programs at the American Dance Festival in Durham and New York City and the Florida Dance Festival. She has performed in the North Carolina Dance Festival and with North Carolina Theatre in their production of "South Pacific". She was a professional dancer in New York City for many years and performed in modern dance companies and musical theatre projects. Favorite credits include "The Mikado" with the New York City Opera at Lincoln Center and the National and International tours of the Tony-nominated Broadway show "Swing!". Rachel has competed as a professional ballroom dancer in American Rhythm and American Smooth Ballroom. She is a licensed Zumba instructor and certified Pilates instructor. Most recently, Rachel spent the last ten years teaching dance to children ages 2-18 in Greenville, North Carolina. Rachel lives in Cary with her husband, Dan and their three children.

Dayna DeFilippis, Teaching Artist 

Known as a passionate educator and innovative choreographer, dance professional Dayna DeFilippis is a graduate of The University of Arizona, where she attended on scholarship, having earned her Master of Fine Arts Dance degree with an emphasis in choreography (2013). Her most recent professional endeavors were choreographing Crane River Theater’s productions of Wizard of Oz and Oklahoma! In Kearney, NE. Other Crane River pursuits include choreographing Shrek The Musical and Footloose The Musical as well as serving on the Board of Directors. Dayna was the Dance Director at the University of Nebraska, Kearney for the past three years, where she taught dance appreciation, jazz, tap, ballet and modern. While there, she directed the experimental and conceptual concerts, It’s Essential, Art IN Motion, When Planets Align, (Dis) Connected and Synergy with two touring performances to Wayne State College in Wayne, NE. Dayna is also an active member of the National Dance Education Organization, where she recently presented two research projects at this year’s national conference in Washington, DC. She has also presented workshops at Region V of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival and the North Central Regional Conference of the American College Dance Association. Prior to pursuing graduate studies, Dayna worked in the industry as a teacher at private studios throughout the Midwest and director of youth performance companies and public outreach programs. She completed both her Bachelor of Fine Arts Dance degree and Bachelor of Business Administration degree at The University of Iowa (2003). Dayna is excited to be a part of the North Carolina Arts in Action team and share her expertise and love of movement.
Our Mission
North Carolina Arts in Action helps children reach their full potential using performing arts as the catalyst to build focus, discipline, self-esteem, teamwork and leadership.

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