One of the keys to Aikan Performing Arts’ success is the dedicated instructors and guest speakers who all have extensive work experience in the entertainment business. Our instructors expect participants to come to class on-time, prepared and ready to engage in class.
FOUNDER, DIRECTOR & INSTRUCTOR
Actor, writer and director Nakia Dillard is a Philadelphia-bred creative soul, as evident by his love of arts of all disciplines.
As a child, Dillard's gift of drawing introduced him to a whole new world of colors, animation, and imagination. Extremely talented in this area, Dillard thought of drawing as a life career. But acting came calling, and soon he would be found in one of the most respected venues in the nation - Philadelphia's Freedom Theater.
Enrollment in the Freedom Theater led to Dillard's meeting renowned coach Ricardo Martin, who introduced him to the Rainbow Company and where he would go on to hone his skills even further. That experience led to Nakia Dillard's determination to become the best he could be. He would eventually perform at the distinguished Hedgerow Theater, and The Wilma.
Dillard later appeared as a frequent character in the critically acclaimed TV series "The Wire," working alongside some of the most recognized names in the industry (such as actor and director Bill Duke). The series was the start of a much bigger picture and Dillard would eventually find himself in company with Gerard Butler, Jamie Foxx, Anthony Mackie, Wendell Pierce, Kerry Washington, and many other notable performers.
Today, Dillard is steadily fulfilling a lifelong dream of giving back to the community which gave to him. He is the founder of Aikan Entertainment Solutions (pronounced "I can"), an organization that empowers young talent and encourages their artistic growth as well as the entrepreneurial spirit. He is also the founder of Aikan Performing Arts, a successful organization, which trains individuals (from ages five and above) in the art of acting and other creative outlets.
TWEET BOOGIE, INSTRUCTOR
Always representing the South Bronx, TweetBoogie is devoted to the street styles of hip-hop. As she continues to travel all over the world teaching in different countries such as Japan, Poland, The Philippines, Ukraine, Saudi Arabia, Australia and South Africa to name a few. Assisting choreography on shows like "So You Think You Can Dance Canada" with Luther Brown, her passion has led her to work with top artists like Jay-Z, Fergie, Mya, Shareefa, LL Cool J, Mary J Blige, Ryan Leslie, Shakira, Kanye West and Nicki Minaj.
She has done NIKE commercials in Europe and for iPod as well. Tweetie was also the host of MTV's "Dances from The Hood" On Demand. Some of her biggest clients were teaching Gail and Oprah some of the latest hip-hop moves as a guest choreographer on The OPRAH Show. As an Associate Producer of the Ladies of Hip Hop Festival TweetBoogie believes in helping Ladies of all ages and sizes across the world to come together and celebrate thru music and dance one Ladie at a time.
You can find TweetBoogie also currently teaching at The Ailey Extension, Peri Dance Center, Broadway Dance Center and EXPG NY Studios.
KAMAL BOSTIC-SMITH, INSTRUCTOR
Kamal Bostic-Smith is a Philadelphia based actor, singer and tap dancer who has been performing in stages and screens across international borders since he was 11.
Kamal has studied theater arts and theater education at The Community College of Philadelphia, Freedom Theatre, The Walnut Street Theatre and the Prince Music Theatre. Kamal has had the pleasure of working with Vivica A. Fox, Terrance Howard, Kim Whitley and Dominic West to name a few.
Although Kamal Enjoys the stage and screen he also enjoys writing, producing and directing and he is currently in pre-production of his first full length feature.
PHILLIP BROWN, INSTRUCTOR
Phillip Sean Brown is currently the Director of Theater at the prestigious Shipley School in Bryn Mawr, PA. Several of his students have gone on to study at Julliard, NYU TISCH and distinguished acting conservatories in the US and abroad.
Before starting his acting studio, The Ambler Actors Studio, just outside Philadelphia, he was the dialogue coach and punch up writer on the hit Original Series Disney shows “That’s so Raven” and “Cory in the House”. He worked for Disney for over four years on two of their highest rated shows ever. Meticulously gleaning the scripts and finding the beats and punching up jokes for both the cast and guest star actors are his daily functions. His personal student was Kyle Massey, star of hit Disney show, “Cory in the House”.
Prior to working for Disney, Phillip has led a rich and diverse artistic career including writing, acting, directing and film production. He has worked professionally in the TV, Film and Theater industry throughout the United States. He was co-creator and head writer for a live interactive Entertainment News/Video show for the Black Entertainment Network (BET) entitled AM@BET in 2000 which was BET’s first full live hour TV show. Phillip worked with a Philadelphia based independent film company, Kino Craft Productions, to associate produce award winning documentaries, entitled “The Land of Jim Crow” (Documentary Series) 1991-1992. “Growing up Segregated” 1992. Awards: Bronze Apple Award-National Education Film & Video Festival, 1992. Red Ribbon Award, American Film Video Festival 1992. Honorable Mention- Columbus Film and Video Festival 1992. “Celebrate” (four part series) Kwanza, Indian Pow Wow, Chinese New Year and Obon, 1992-1993.
However the commercial pull of main stream television was not strong enough to take him from his theatrical roots that were planted several years ago at the University of the Arts, where he majored in Drama. Since then he’s formed a non-profit theater company called Urban Artists, from which his current theater company Salt World Inc. derived. Both of his theater troupes toured several of his original one act plays to prisons, schools and neighborhood streets promoting non-violence, education and faith. His passion for creating and teaching inspirational theater arts has taken him around the world. He traveled nationally with The Covenant Players Drama ministry and has done mission/art, theater in Southeast Asia (Thailand), Central America (Limon’ Costa Rica) and Mexico.
Phillip believes that all of his writing, teaching and art/mission experience over the years have been perfectly orchestrated to prepare and cultivate him for a time such as this - the launching of a successful stage hip hop musical, “The Last Jimmy,” starring Dice Raw from the renown “Legendary Roots Crew” and Rennie Harris, founder of Obie Award winning dance company “Pure Movement.
DUSTIN FELDER, INSTRUCTOR
Dustin Felder, one of Hollywood’s premier acting coaches, films have amassed over 1.7 billion dollars in international box office sales to date. He is the go-to coach for superstars Will and Jada Pinkett Smith. In 2005, Dustin coached the couple’s son, Jaden Smith, in the Academy Award-nominated and Golden Globe-nominated feature film “Pursuit of Happyness”. In 2007, the Smith’s turned to Dustin to coach daughter Willow in the blockbuster “I Am Legend” also starring Will Smith, Dustin coached Jaden in summer blockbuster “The Karate Kid”. And most recently, Dustin coached the summer smash hit “Straight Outta Compton” which was number 1 in the box office for 3 weeks straight.
Equally impactful in the world of TV, Dustin was the acting coach for the ABC sitcom, "My Wife and Kids." His ability to evoke emotion from veteran actors Tisha Campbell, Jennifer Freeman and Noah Gray Cabey, quickly propelled the show to a #1 ranking. He is currently working on another Wayans family show, “Second Generation Wayans”, which aired on BET.
In addition to the Smith children, Dustin’s client list includes the actor/ rapper Common (LUV,) Shawn and Marlon Wayans, and the Wayans family super model Chanel Iman Tatiana Ali, to name a few. Dustin’s success as a coach is rooted in his mastery of various acting techniques, mastery of discovering and developing of an actor’s brand, his dynamic understanding of character analysis, as well as his own experience as a child actor with recurring roles on the Emmy Award-winning “Law & Order”, “My Wife and Kids”, and dozens of national commercials.
Believing firmly that ‘the worst thing in the world is wasted talent,’ Dustin has utilized his gifts to help others realize their potential.
TROY ROWLAND, INSTRUCTOR
Troy Michael Rowland is one of Hollywoods premiere Life and acting coaches. Troy began his acting career studying under John E. Allen Jr. at Freedom Theatre in Philadelphia and holds a BFA in Theatre Comunications from The University of The Arts in Philadelphia. Troy has studied with Walter Dallas and Barbara Sommerville of Yale School of Drama and served for one year at NYU New Dramatists internship program in New York City.
In California, under the mentorship of Chip Fields Hurd, Troy has matured into a team player with special skills to assist artists in the areas of life goals, line memorization, choice work and problem solving.
Troy recently worked on TV1's new comedy, Here We Go Again. He is currently on the Disney XD show Kirby Buckets and is coaching on The Untitled Terry Minsky project for The Disney Channel. Troy also recently directed Disney XD's Zeke and Luther. Troy also produced and directed the pilot, Discord and Harmony episodes 1 and 2.
EARLY WORK HISTORY
For years, Troy worked for Disney as an acting coach until he was assigned to work with Hilary Duff on Lizzie McGuire, and then later worked on her management team and became Hilary’s producing partner for seven years while serving as Senior V.P. of Operations.
Recent projects/ artists Troy has been associated with: Kirby Buckets, I Didn’t Do It, Cosmic Encounters, Killers, Footloose, The Preachers KID, Material Girls Cheaper By The Dozen 1& 2, The Perfect Man, Raise Your Voice, The Even Stevens Movie, Agent Cody Banks, The Lizzie Movie among others.
Troy also assisted Chip Fields for years in the 90's on shows like Hangin with Mr. Cooper, Livin Single, and The Steve Harvey Show, Troy has also worked on The George Lopez Show, NYPD Blue and The Cosby Show. Troy coaches many mucical artists from Creative Artists Agency.
Personalities: Troy has worked/coached with and or been associated with are: Jacob Bertrand, Mekai Curtis, Cade Sutton, Flo-Rider, Mario, Olivia Holt, Alex Lowery, Hutch Dano, Adam Hicks, Daniel Curtis Lee, Cody Simpson, Cee-Lo, Stephanie, Justin Beiber, Letoya Luckett, Tank, Owen Benjamin, Christina Ricci, MoNique, John Cusak, Marissa Tomei, Sir Ben Kingsley, Academy Award Winner Angelica Houston and Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt, Brent Spiner, Carmen Elektra, George Lopez, Lukas Haas, Maria Concita Alonso, Eugene Levy, Rita Wilson, John Corbett, Caroline Ray, Kym Whitley, Chad Michael Murray, Carl Lewis, Queen Latifah, Regina King, Jennifer Coolidge, Kimorra Lee Simmons, Chris Noth to name a few.
Troy is excited to take on directing full time along with continuing to break out new stars at his acting school, Troy Rowland Acting Studios located in NORTH HOLLYWOOD CA. https://youtu.be/ijzcQ5PKEy8
MEL WILLIAMS, INSTRUCTOR
Mel Williams has been directing and training actors for the professional stage for over 40 years. His own training began in 1967 at The Neighborhood Playhouse where he trained under Sanford Meisner. The next year he interned with Lee Strasburg at The Actor's Studio. Over the years, Mel has acted and directed in outstanding regional theaters in the country, including Freedom Theater, The Arden Theater, InterAct, and The Drama Guild in Philadelphia; The Arena in Washington, D.C.; The Opry House in White River Junction, VT; and The Globe in Boston.
Mel relocated to New York City in the 1990s and began his directing career at LaMama Theaters under the guiding eye of Ellen Stewart. It was at LaMama's that Mel directed three plays, including the awarding winning KEEP BACK 200FT. Other directing assignments included ZOO STORY and LINE at Lincoln Center, DUTCHMAN at StageEast, CORNER WARS at 47 St. Theater, and A SOLDIER'S PLAY at The Paul Robeson Theater.
Mel has directed scores of showcases and continues to teach two classes, SCENE STUDY and PRODUCTION, aimed at developing actors. He has coached some of the top talent in the business: Queen Latifah, Common, Michael K. Williams, Mary J. Blige, Rick Ross, Dwight Howard, and Jill Scott. In 2001, Mel was selected, along with 52 directors from around the country, to become members of The Lincoln Center Director's Lab Class of 2002.