Erika M. Smith is the Director of LKN Perform. She graduated from Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, Jacksonville, FL in 1990 with a concentration in Dance and studied at The Florida Ballet. In 1990 Erika studied at The Martha Graham School in New York and was privileged to study the craft of choreography from the legendary dancer Pearl Lang there as well. Erika studied dance in college at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro where she graduated in 1994.
Erika moved to the North Carolina coast and taught, choreographed and performed there locally. She taught Dance at West Brunswick High School in Shallotte, NC. In addition Erika traveled to schools K-12 in Brunswick County and worked with Special Education teachers to use Dance as a tool in their curriculum. Erika moved to the Lake Norman area in 2009 from Wilmington, NC where she was co-founder of The Dance Cooperative a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the dance community locally in Wilmington and throughout North Carolina. Erika was one of the founders of The Dance Cooperative and served in many capacities – as board President, Vice-President, Secretary, choreographer and dancer throughout the years. She also participated in the North Carolina Dance Festival throughout the years as both a choreographer and a dancer. She also was a choreographer for UNC-Wilmington performances, a dancer with Forward Motion Dance Company and Wilmington Independent Choreographers. Erika has choreographed and performed in various venues and productions throughout North Carolina and Florida over the years. Most recently she was the dancer/choreographer for the music video ‘These Broken Wings’ Featuring Inspectah Deck of Wu Tang Clan.
Erika’s true passion in addition to choreography is teaching. “Seeing dance through my students eyes inspires me on a daily basis. The joy that is reflected in a child’s face when they are dancing is priceless. I want all of my students to see LKN Perform as a place where they are able to grow as dancers & individuals in a positive environment, celebrating their achievements as well as encouraging and supporting the other students in their classes. ” Her goal is that all students walk out of LKN Perform with a solid foundation, love & appreciation of the performing arts.
In addition to being a busy mother of six beautiful children and Director of LKN Perform Erika also has other outside creative projects in the entertainment industry including being an Executive Producer on the television show ‘One Shot’ that aired on BET last year as well as other projects that are in development.
Kim Hotchner discovered her passion for dance at 4 years old and has been dancing ever since, teaching for 25 years. Kim has her BCA from UNC-Charlotte and is certified in dance education, kindergarten through 12th grade. Kim was head of the dance department at Northwest School of the Arts for 10 years, and was commissioned to write the High School Honors Dance curriculum for Charlotte Mecklenburg School system and the Dance Integration Curriculum with North Carolina Dance Theatre. She has received the Charlotte Mecklenburg School’s Dance Teacher of the Year award and also received the New York Educator Apple award for her choreography and collaboration. Kim has performed at Coca Cola Olympic City during the Atlanta Olympics and participated in numerous dance collaboratives, including a tap partnership with “Bring in Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk,” through the Washington Heights Leadership Academy, and with the Alvin Ailey Dance Arts Project .
Maya Sanders Fripp I have been dancing all of my life! I have been trained in various forms of dance such as ballet, jazz, hip hop, African, tap, liturgical, modern, cheer , contemporary, and lyrical. Dance is my passion and it enables me to express myself. I began to take off with my talent in high school when I was discovered for The Possibility Project a very well known talent program for talented teens of Charlotte. I am a former cheerleader for the Charlotte Hounds Professional Lacrosse Team and am currently a professional back up dancer and a professional cheerleader for the Charlotte Knights baseball team as well as a professional dance and fitness model. I currently teach Hip Hop & some Jazz classes here at LKN Perform. I love to teach children and adults how to stay in shape, love dance & have fun!
Jeni Seas is coming to us from Chicago with 23 years of teaching experience. Most of those years she spent at the same studio in the Western suburbs of Chicago at DancEncounter. She holds a BFA in Theatre Arts/Dance Performance from Northern Illinois University where she was recipient of the Rene Lebeau Dance Scholarship. She trained there under Randall Newsom, Judith Quirk Chitwood and Paula Frasz. Jeni has extensive training in Ballet and Jazz. She was proud to have performed for 10 years with Magician Bob Higa as his magic assistant. They toured nationally and internationally with his production. Jeni and her husband have just relocated to the Lake Norman and she is excited to share her joy and love for teaching dance with all of you!