Aspire Dance Arts was created by husband and wife team Jamie and Christine Newnham. The pair met whilst working for Royal Caribbean Cruiselines in the summer of 2012. Christine and Jamie went on to do five contracts together performing all over the world including Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, as well as various islands in the Caribbean. After finishing their time with Royal Caribbean, Jamie and Christine were married in the fall of 2017. The two always aspired to create a home for performers to learn and grow and to be able to share their passion and experiences with the next generation. After alot of hard work and commitment, Aspire Dance Arts was created in the fall of 2018. Christine and Jamie could not be happier to have made their dream a reality and now reside in Canton, Georgia with their daughter Bella and their dog Squidge Ellington.
Jamie Newnham studied Musical Theater from a young age at the Medway School of Music in England. After training under the prestigious singing teacher Stuart Barr, Jamie joined the Youth Show Choir of London where he performed in various shows and events across London before attending the London School of Musical Theatre graduating in 2004. He has worked professionally in the industry since 2005 touring in shows across Europe and England and performing with the West End Chorus in London before joining cruise ships in 2008. Jamie joined the renowned Cunard Queen Victoria as lead vocalist. Thereafter, he began to work for Royal Caribbean as a lead vocalist touring the world for five years before working with the casting team of Saturday Night Fever and joining the cast of the musical as ‘Monty’ a featured actor, acting captain and fight captain.
Jamie has worked diligently on his craft for sixteen years and has extensive knowledge in musical theater, performing, directing, and voice. Understanding the need for physical fitness within the industry, Jamie worked for most of his career with fellow performers helping with fitness goals and personal training in general. Jamie most recently received his certification from the American Council on Exercise and has been working as a personal trainer with clients ranging from early 20’s to late 70’s on a variety of things. He continues to work with clients in the industry to achieve their performance based goals. His belief is that an understanding of how the body works and how best to strengthen and condition someone relative to their needs applies massively to the performing world and is excited to bring this new, much needed aspect to Aspire. Jamie is also Acrobatic Arts certified and adjudicates regional and national competitions with Dance Mania International.
A Native of Woodstock Georgia, Christine's passion for dance began at the age of six with the dream of becoming a professional dancer. She trained in all styles of dance throughout her youth and represented the state of Georgia in the 2006 Governor’s Honors Program as a dance major. Christine was awarded a scholarship to further her education with Steps on Broadway in New York before getting accepted to the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA where she went on to pursue her dance degree.
During her college years, Christine was awarded a scholarship to train with Giordano Dance Chicago and furthered her dance training with classes at Broadway Dance Center and The Joffrey Ballet School. Christine was also part of the Xhale Dance Company in Philadelphia under the direction of Michael Susten. Ultimately Christine earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Education Graduating with Honors.
Some of Christine’s notable performance credits include Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, park swing at Busch Gardens in Virginia and dancing around the world for Royal Caribbean Productions as a Dance Captain and Aerial Captain. Most recently, Christine performed in the hit Broadway show “Saturday Night Fever” the Musical where she understudied the roles of Annette, Maria, Doreen and Linda. Christine also performed in aerial shows on various apparatus under the direction of C5.
Christine has over 25 years of dance training and has taught at numerous dance studios across the United States for over 15 years. She is an award winning choreographer, a member of the Dance Masters of America organization and an adjudicator for various dance competitions. Aspire Dance Arts is the culmination of years of practice, experience and dedication to her craft and is truly a dream come true.
The Aspire Staff
Lance Washington spent the past ten years as a principal dancer with the Patti Rutland Jazz company in Dothan, Alabama. He is originally from Chicago, Illinois. He received his professional hip-hop training from Maurice Fulkon in Chicago, Joshua Allen in Texas and Vincent Johnson from Atlanta. His professional credits include industrial television work in Chicago. National awards in choreography include, the Platinum Power Award from Platinum National Dance Competition, which also earned his crew the opportunity to be featured on the front cover for the Platinum Dance Convention brochure. In 2012, Lance made it through to Vegas for the hit television series So You Think You Can Dance. Lance also taught within the Patti Rutland Jazz Arts in Education Outreach program. This is the largest outreach program in the state of Alabama. It includes teaching over 6000 elementary and middle school children weekly. He taught at The Patti Rutland Jazz Dance Centre, The Dothan School of Dance, Enterprise School of Dance, Panama City Dance Academy and A Time to Dance studio. Lance Washington has also taught for the 2015 and 2016 Jazz on Tap convention in Atlanta, Georgia, hosted by Marcus Alford and Annie Day, and the 2019 Alabama Dance Festival. Lance has also taught and danced along side of Rustin Matthew, Phillip "Pacman" Chbeeb, Rob Hoffman, Balta Monkiki, Nick Wilson, Nicole Kirkland,and Jimmy Locust. He also works as a hip-hop choreographer for many other groups throughout the Southeast and has won numerous regional choreography awards. Lance is very excited about how his career is taking him to so many places where he is meeting more and more talented dancers, choreographers and friends.
“Always Stay teachable!”
Gabriela Escalona was born in Caracas, Venezuela and starts her professional training at age 17 under the tutelage of Nina Novak former principal dancer of Ballet Russe of Monte Carlo, 3 years later she graduates from the Nina Novak Ballet Academy, but continued to train and perform as a guest. The next year was invited to be part of the pre-professional ballet program 2014-2015 at the Kirov Ballet Academy of Washington DC, in 2015 she return to Venezuela to continue her training this time as a professional performing with Ballet Municipal el Hatillo company, under the artistic direction of Rumen Rashev,
Vaganova Ballet Academy graduate and former principal dancer at Sofia Opera in Bulgaria, were she preform the roles of Sugar Plum Fairy in their Nutcracker production,Giselle act II and Grisi in Classical Pas de Quatre among others. In 2017 she joins the main company in the country “Compañia de Ballet del Teatro Teresa Carreño”. In 2018 she joins Ballet de la Mar, where she worked as a teacher for the school, under the artistic direction of Cristina Fungairino former director of Teatro Teresa Carreno, as well as guest dancer.
Her repertoire includes, Grand pas classique Pas de Deux , Sylvia Pas de Deux by G. Balanchine, Raymonda Variation and visión scene Adagio, Snow Queen among others. She currently teaches ballet technique at Namari Dance Center and year round programs and summer intensives at North Atlanta Dance Academy, where she also performs with the school company as a guest artist.
As a native of Newnan, GA, Madeleine Johnson got her training from a variety of studios in the south Atlanta area, such as Southern Arc Dance Centre under Paulo Manso de Sousa and Kyle Kahn Studios under Kyle Kahn. During these years, she was able to compete and take master classes from a variety of choreographers, in addition to dipping her toe into paid performance jobs. Thanks to the guidance of her well-known studio owner, she was able to dance backup for Kelly Clarkson and be a greeter/performer for a number of benefit fundraisers across the country.
After graduating from high school, she attended the University of Georgia, where she graduated with a BFA in Dance and a BSFCS in Social Entrepreneurship in May of 2022. During her time at UGA, she trained in ballet under Colleen Barnes and Dr. Lisa Fusillo and in contemporary-modern styles under Bala Sarasvati and Rebecca Gose. She also performed for a number of faculty and student concerts—including UGA’s first black history concert “UBUNTU” under Jason Aryeh and for CORE: Contemporary and Aerial Dance Company under Bala Sarasvati. In addition, she was able to choreograph for student concerts and even brought her senior thesis work to the Southeast American Collegiate Dance Conference this past March.
Outside of academia, she attended inHouseDance intensive under Cherrise Wakeham, had dance films chosen for Zoetic's Distance Disco, was a member of Dance FX Athens’ hip hop company for a season, and performed/choreographed for Sigma Delta Tau’s philanthropy dance competition for her sorority over the years.
Stephanie is originally from Salt Lake City, Utah where she grew up with a natural love for storytelling and music. In her youth she engrossed herself in Irish Step Dancing, performing for over a decade with An Dragan Ceilteach school of dance. She studied both classical and musical theatre style singing extensively for over 15 years, hand in hand with nurturing her passion for acting through both private educators and onstage performance. She furthered her education, earning her B.A. degree in Musical Theatre from Weber State University where she received numerous Irene Ryan nominations and several Outstanding Acting Awards and scholarships for Midwest competition.
Over the past decade she has performed and filmed with such companies as Pioneer Theatre, Utah Light Opera, the Grand Theatre, Centerpoint Legacy Theatre, Disney, ABC Family, Azvedio studios and Salty Productions. She has recently moved to Canton with her husband and two little girls, who consequently also love to perform and have joined Aspire. She has been privileged to teach private and group acting through several previous dance and vocal studios, and is now thrilled to join the Aspire Dance Staff, in sharing a love of art and creativity with your little ones!