Toya Renee Ambrose is a former NBA dancer, for both the Chicago Luvabulls and the Memphis Grizzlies. She is a graduate from the University of Memphis, with a BFA in graphic design and was a scholarship member of the 14-time national champion University of Memphis Pom Squad. Toya is the former Head Coach of the University of Connecticut (UCONN) Dance, Cheerleading, and Mascot Teams, and also the former Head Coach of the 2-time National Champion University of Illinois at Chicago Dancing Flames.
She is the owner of T.R.A. Choreography LLC, and choreographs for competitive dance teams, studios, and all-star teams throughout the world, recently teaching master classes in Japan and competition choreography for the National Dance Team of Finland. She is also a seasoned judge for national and state organizations.
Ebony Johnson received a B.F.A. in Dance Performance from Arizona State University, currently holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration, and has 25
years of experience in studio and competitive team dance. She studied tap, hip hop, ballet, jazz,
and modern from the Universal Dance Theatre in Los Angeles. She also studied and Lou Conte Dance Studio (Chicago, IL), Broadway Dance Center (New York, NY), and Arizona State University. Ebony was also a high school dance coach in Illinois, studio dance instructor in Arizona, and assistant choreographer for dance teams to
Brandee Evans and Toya Renee Ambrose. She trains at Ballet Arizona and is the Project Manager
for TRA Choreography, LLC.
In the corporate world, Ebony is a manager for the Centralized Re-Entry department within the
College of Education at the University of Phoenix.
Joni brings combined experience from both a long career in the competitive arts world and a wide variety of professional and non-profit positions. After completing her master's degree in advertising, she began her career on the advertising agency side of the business, working on accounts such as Lenscrafters and Kroger. Because of her experience starting a dance program in her own high school, she began working with dance team students in Ohio and Illinois as a choreographer, coach, and judge after college. This led her to judging for multiple state associations, Hall of Fame recongnition, coaching top-tier state teams, and founding a consulting company for compeititve dance teams. She was also one of the founders and Executive Directors of TeamDance Illinois, and looks forward to continually inspiring young dancers and coaches.
We truly believe that great dancers make great coaches, great coaches build great programs, and great programs create impactful leaders. This organic cycle is the lifeline of Circle Up Leadership-- to develop emerging leadership skills and provide programming for career development and community service. Dance has given us so much, and we have united together to help foster that same lifelong connection to the love of dance among our students and coaches.
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