Esperonto Bean is the Program Director of the Youth Urban Dance Program at Joy of Motion Dance Center. Esperonto has been part of the street dance community for more than 20 years. He is well-versed in many dance styles, including house, hip-hop, locking, and punkin/waacking. Recognized as one of the original house dancers from Baltimore City, he has performed in legendary house clubs such as The Sound Factory Bar in NYC, Club Zanzibar in NJ, The Paradox and Club Fantasy's in Baltimore, MD. Esperonto was the co-recipient of the 2007 Kennedy Center Millennium Stage Imagine Choreographer Award for his House Dance Choreography. His street credibility in the club scene also led him to open for acclaimed house and hip-hop artists such as Barbara Tucker, CeCe Penniston, Robin S., Mass Order, James Howard, Funk Master Flex, KRS1, Loon, K-Solo, Mix Master Mike and Dirty Vegas. Esperonto was mentored by the legendary Fluky Luke and the late Fred "ReRun" Berry of the famed group "The Lockers." He became a member of GroovMekanex in the late 90s, which is the first locking crew in the DMV area. Esperonto has danced with Groov Mekanex as special guest performers for the internationally recognized hip-hop dance company Rennie Harris Pure Movement. Since 1996, he has taught youth and adult classes throughout the Baltimore/DC area. He was a premier performer and master class instructor at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall at ArtScape, Culture Shock DC, Edgeworks Dance Theater, Lesole's Dance Project, The White House Easter Egg Roll, Mason-Rhynes Black Expressions!!! Hip-Hop Festival, Earth Week on the National Mall, Dance Place, the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, NBC-4 Fitness Expo, The Hippodrome, and the Maryland Council for Dance and Theater Project. Esperonto taught dance classes for a combination of 12 years as adjunct faculty at Howard Community College and Community College of Baltimore County. He also implemented the first lecture course on hip-hop culture at Howard Community College. For more information visit www.esperonto.com
A scientist who was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, Stefani Thomas has been dancing for more than 20 years. What began as a creative outlet of self-expression for her has blossomed into a passion for the performing arts. She is classically trained in ballet and jazz and has been training in hip-hop for more than 15 years. In LA, Stefani trained under the tutelage of such renowned dancers as Jimmy Locust, Regina Williams, Mykael Boyd, Rhythm & Boogie, Odell Williams, Hassan Christopher, Tricia Miranda, and Gus Bembery. She has taken master classes with various pioneering hip-hop dancers, including Rennie Harris, Spex, Gemini, Rodney Hill, and Aus Ninja. She currently trains and performs with Esperonto Bean, an original house dancer from Baltimore who has been part of the street dance community for more than 20 years, in house, locking, hip-hop and punking/waacking, and with Mama Sylvia Soumah (Founder and Director of Coyaba Dance Theater) in West African dance. Stefani is a company member of Coyaba Dance Theater. The venues and events in Maryland and DC at which Stefani has had the great privilege of performing include the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (Artscape), Dance Place (Dance Africa DC), Atlas Theater, Washington DC Earth Day Climate Rally on the National Mall, DC Cherry Blossom Festival, National 4-H Youth Conference Center, and the Black Expressions Hip-Hop Festival. As one who is a firm believer in the value of lifelong learning, Stefani continuously seeks inspiration from other artists who are truly committed to maintaining the authenticity of their art forms.