Shalay Johnson, a native of Atlanta, GA., is a graduate of the University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA; where she received her B.F.A in Modern Dance Performance. In 2008 while attending UARTS, Shalay became a member of Eleone Dance Theater, under the directorship of Mr. Shawn-Lamere William (Artistic Director) and Dr. Sheila Ward. She performed with the company for four years, three years as a principle dancer. Shalay has had the opportunity to study and work with many renowned choreographers. She has worked with Tony Award nominated choreographer Louis Johnson and performed the “Shout” solo, from his critically acclaimed “Forces of Rhythm”. She has also worked with Diane McIntyre (“Beloved”, “Miss Evers Boys”), and performed in Katherine Dunham’s “Americana”, restaged by Ruby Street. She has performed the choreography of some of today’s best choreographers: Desmond Richards/Dwight Rhoden (Complexions), Anthony Burrell, Christopher Huggins, Tommy Waheed-Evans (Philadanco), Gary Jeter (Complexions), Abdur-Rahim Jackson (Alvin Ailey), Lamar Baylor (Philadanco), Dara Stevens-Meredith (Eleone). She has also trained with Kim-Bears Baily (Philadanco, UARTS), Kim Brown (UARTS), Brian Sanders (UARTS), Roscoe Sales (Atlanta Ballet, Gotta Dance), Kentucky Youth Ballet, Bluegrass Youth Ballet, and Phusion Performing Arts Alliance.
In 2012 she auditioned for Celebrity Cruise Lines as a production cast dancer. Based on the audition she was selected to attend an aerial boot camp for the opportunity to also work as a specialty act. Upon completion of the boot camp she signed on as a production dancer, aerialist and in her second contract became the dance captain. She has toured and trained in multiple countries. She attended World Dance Movement in Castellana Grotte, Italy and continues to expand her skills and knowledge by traveling to places like London, England to study.
Shalay began her formal dance training at the age of four, and trained at various studios in the metro Atlanta area. Shalay graduated in 2007 from the Dekalb County School of the Performing Arts, in Atlanta, GA. In her sophomore year at DSA; she founded a competitive dance company, the Harambee Dance Company. She started this group for dancers who were routinely overlooked due to things like body type, but exhibited a passion for dance. Within two years, she led this company to regional and national recognition, where the company and her choreography were awarded top honors.
Shalay credits the late Mr. Andrew Jerrick (Actor, Dancer), and her brief association with him as one of the pivotal moments in her life. Mr. Jerrick taught her not only how to develop her artistic persona, but also how to prepare herself mentally for success.