In schools, in communities, and online

From artist-led workshops to special classroom curricula to free online lessons, Ordway's Education and Community Engagement programs connect artists with you—wherever you are. Get to know the extraordinary artists who are sharing their work, and learn where else you can find them!

2022-2023 Beyond the Stage Artists

Jonathan van Arneman

Dancer, choreographer, and musician trained in traditional and contemporary styles

AJ is the 2019 recipient of the Momentum New Dance Works grant for emerging choreographers in Minneapolis and is the current Artist in Residence at the National Institute of Arts (NIA) in Soualiga. AJ is a previous company member of Ananya Dance Theatre and Afoutayi where he trained in Yorchha under the leadership of Dr Ananya Chatterjee and traditional Haitian dance under Djenane Saint-Juste, respectively. His training also includes West African dance forms, Ballet, Modern, Caribbean Social and Traditional Dances, and Capoeira. His past work includes Atlantis Rebirth- a nod to the defiant history of Black peoples in the Caribbean as well as an imagination of a post-colonial Caribbean utopia; and Atlantis13- a work choreographed in collaboration with Peace Madimutsa and a cast of brilliant dancers in Minneapolis that explores diasporic connections and Black liberation. AJ's current project, Atlantis Origins, is the third installation of the Atlantis Universe series and will premiere on November 5 and 6 at the Cowles' Center in Minneapolis. In the realm of music, AJ trained and performed with Souliga's Ebony Steel Orchestra for 10 years under the leadership of steelpan legend Isidore York aka The Mighty Dow.


Denzel Belin

Writer, director, actor, producer, and improviser

Belin is a longstanding cast member and writer at The Brave New Workshop and a staff writer for AWF magazine. He serves as the Artistic Director for Threshold Theater, whose mission is to "produce fresh LGBTQ works." He currently writes and performs for “Queer Window,” an all-queer sketch show based in New York City.

Denzel has appeared on TPT Almanac and created work for the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus and Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce. He presented a longform collection of solo sketches and storytelling, “With Love, From Washington” for the Blackness Is… Festival in Minneapolis. With Threshold Theater, he is currently leading a play reading series that will provide playwrights the opportunity to workshop their play with a director and team of actors that concludes with a staged reading that is open to the public.

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from_washington on Instagram

Denzel Belin Website

Tiffany Cooper

Broadway actress, singer, dancer and arts educator

Tiffany is a Minneapolis-based and Broadway actress, singer, dancer and arts educator with a career in the entertainment industry spanning more than two decades. In addition, she is a certified Life Coach practitioner and Executive Speech Coach. She has performed at major venues across the US and in fifteen countries with extended European residencies in Switzerland, Austria, Germany and Italy. Tiffany was in the original cast of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Tony-nominated musical Bombay Dreams on Broadway. Other performance highlights include Mamma Mia, In The Next Room; The Vibrator Play, The Audition (world premiere), Clybourne Park, Jesus Christ Superstar, Guys and Dolls, The Tempest, When Shakespeare’s Ladies Meet, Fences, Cinderella, South Pacific, The Buddy Holly Story, Porgy and Bess, and Sisters of the Sixties. She appears on the cast recordings of Grease Das Musical, and Guys and Dolls (50th anniversary). Her debut solo recording Satin Mood, A Tribute to Julie London was self-produced. Her multi-media solo piece Black Thread premiered at the Blackness Is… Arts Festival, which was produced by the Guthrie Theater and MN Black Circle Theater. As an arts educator, she has created workshops and artist masterclasses for universities and arts organizations. She received certification in arts education from The Actors Fund in New York City. In addition, she regularly adjudicates regional and national talent and dance competitions. Tiffany holds, a BS degree in Speech Communications, Theatre, and Dance from Murray State University.


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@tiffanycooper7 on Instagram

Tiffany Cooper Website

Troy Florent

Dancer, Singer, Model, Actor, and Teacher

He was trained at the National Institute of Arts (NIA) in St Martin. In 2020, Troy played the part of Aaron Burr in NIA’s abridged version of the Broadway Musical Hamilton. In 2021, he was featured as a model in Vogue Italia as part of Lisandro Suriel’s Ghost Island Photography Project. During this same year, he was also a principal character in Jonathan van Arneman’s internationally acclaimed dance film documentary Atlantis Rebirth. In 2022, Troy had the privilege to perform for International Afropop artist Ckay as well as several local artists like Kenyo Baly, Clara Reyes, and Arlene Halley. Troy has trained with artists like Ryan Miller, Alicia Graf Mac, Vivian Nixon, Nikeva Marie, Jaquelyn Allsopp, and Darian Parker in styles such as Ballet, Lyrical Jazz, Afro Caribbean, Soca, Dancehall, Hip Hop, Acro, Contemporary, Improv, and West African Dance. Troy currently works as an educator at several local primary schools on St Martin teaching a dance outreach program that gives K-12 kids skills in Afro Caribbean, Hip Hop, Lyrical jazz, and Improv.

@troyflorent on Instagram

Joseph Mathew “Godsent” James

Dedicated and motivated by his passion for creativity to continue providing education in dance to the next generation of artists in the Twin Cities

Joseph got his start in dancing through musical theater as a sophomore in high school.  He moved to social styles such as Latin and Swing, and from there found Breaking which got him connected with the Funkstyles scene. Over the years Joseph has represented local crews including 4got10 Elementz, YML (Yesterday’s Missing Life) and ALL DAY.

He has performed in many spaces including, but not limited to: The Guthrie, Ordway Center for Performing Arts, and the Minnesota State Fair. Joseph has also appeared in shows such ROOTED and Being Brothas, Sistah Solo, as well as productions at Main Street Theatre. He was the choreographer for High School Musical for Morris Park Players, previously taught at Moore than Dance studio, and currently is an instructor at House of Dance Twin Cities Studios and Saitn Paul Conservatory for the Performing Arts. Beyond his own performances and achievements, Joseph has been a judge for a number of competitive dance competitions.

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@godsent545 on Instagram

Herb Johnson III

McKnight Fellow

McKnight Fellow, Herb Johnson III graduated from Perpich Center for the Performing Arts in 2010 and studied 3 years at the Lundstrum Center for Arts. Herb is now at the University of Minnesota as an Urban & Street dance instructor. He currently choreographs and performs solo and in groups 612 Crew, DeadPool, and Mixtape. Professional work includes iLuminate from America’s Got Talent, Choreographing G-Easy'sHalftime show 2018, and SuperBowl 52 half-time Show 2018 with Justin Timberlake.

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@herbisdaword on Instagram

Naomi Janelle

Jamaica-born, Sint Maarten-grown dancer, singer, choreographer, and teacher

She has been in performing arts ever since she was 9 years old at the Motiance Dance School now known as The National Institute of Arts since merging with Imbali Dance School. She rooted herself in many art forms to fulfill her artistic desires including representing her home country in international dance competitions. In 2015, she competed in an international dance competition in France called ‘concours de confederation de danse‘ where she received two silver medals (2nd place) in Jazz and African Dance. She also received a scholarship to Anthony Burrell’s ‘Breaking Barriers’ Summer Intensive. In 2018, she was awarded a scholarship from Arts Saves Lives Foundation to partake in a week-long intensive in New York where she danced at BDC, Steps on Broadway and The Ailey Studios. She has been a St. Maarten Heineken Regatta Dancer since 2018.  In 2020, she auditioned for St. Maarten’s Abridged Version of Hamilton and she was casted as Angelica Schuyler. Her role consisted of singing, rapping, dancing and acting. She also auditioned for a dance and cultural film called ‘Atlantis Rebirth’. She was casted as a main dancer for this film and it is now one of St. Maarten’s Historic Films, touring the Dutch Caribbean and Minnesota. In 2022, she performed for International Afro-beats artist Ckay and International Hip Hop artist Kalash.

@iamnaomijanelle on Instagram

Erinn Liebhard

Dance artist

Erinn Liebhard is a dance artist making opportunities for people to experience the reflective and connective power of groove through performance and education. Guided by this inspiration and a fondness for jazz and American social dance ideas, she's worked with creatives as varied as hip-hop dance theater artists Rennie Harris and the Wild Goose Chase Cloggers Appalachian clogging company. Currently, in performance, she makes and performs new staged works and presents those of others through her company Rhythmically Speaking and plays as “Nerdette” for St. Paul Saints Baseball, in addition to making new works for professional companies, colleges and high schools. In education, she works as a Teaching Artist for the Cowles Center and serves as a member of their Advisory Council, is on faculty at several area art high schools and universities, conducts educational outreach through her company and is an active writer and conference presenter. She is driven to connect with people and help them connect to themselves, one another and the moment through rooted and innovative embodiment of groove.

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@erinnliebhard.danceartist on Instagram

Erin Liebhard Website

Sarah Larsson

vocalist, songwriter, and folklorist

Sarah is devoted to learning and sharing music form women’s traditions from her own roots: Eastern European, Irish, Scottish, and Swedish diaspora. Sarah has performed with The Nightingale Trio and is the founder of Folk Will Save Us and the Twin Cities klezmer jam community the Longfellow Village Band. Drawing from deep roots of vocal folk music from Eastern Europe and North America, Larsson infuses her interpretations of traditional music with a harmony sensibility rooted in and liberated from years as a classical choral singer. Sarah’s new project, Red Thread, further unspools the line of folk tradition, merging original song with rich textures and vocal harmony from the Balkans, Yiddish, and Americana tradition. 

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@jagoda_larsson on Instagram

@folkwillsaveus on Instagram

The Nightingale Trio Website

See More Perspective

MC, Producer/Composer, Spoken Word Poet, Visual Artist, Filmmaker, and Educator

Their work explores identity, culture, social justice, mythology, science fiction, spirituality, and the paranormal. See More has received the VERVE grant for spoken word for a spoken word album about dreams, freedom fighters and mythology; the Artist Initiative grant from the MN State Arts Board for a music video suite about healthy sexuality, sex positivity, consent, and rape culture; and a Cedar Commission from the Cedar Cultural Center to premiere new work about new mythologies and cultural justice work. They worked as a member of the Night Light cohort grant project from Public Arts Saint Paul to create 3D digital projection-mapping in 2021 to premiere, ‘Jaws of Life After Death’, a psychedelic Death trip of hip hop, poetry, synth, and soaring ethereal vocals. See More is currently helping Teatro de Pueblo develop a cultural adaptation of ‘ Romeo and Juliet’, writing rap and spoken word for a new character that kicks the Chorus off stage. They are currently producing Kat Parent’s powerful upcoming album ‘Swampling’, which premiered at the Cedar Cultural Center at the top of 2022. His most recent release ‘Edgar Allen Poe Dameron’ is an action packed, classicist boom bap, tour de force of MCing and Beat-making. Learn more at

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See More Perspective Website

@seemoreperspective on Facebook

2021–2022 Beyond the Stage Artist