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Lakey Evans-Peña

Associate Director, Ailey School Horton Pedagogy

Lakey Evans-Peña is a performer, artistic coach, educator, and creative leader. She received her BFA from the University of the Arts, her MFA from Montclair State University, and was a scholarship recipient at The Ailey School. She has performed the works of Alvin Ailey, Lester Horton, Donald Byrd, Ron Brown, Eleo Pomare, Hope Clarke, Milton Myers, Jacqulyn Buglisi, Kevin Iega Jeff, and Kathryn Posin. Her performance credits include tours with Ailey II under the direction of Sylvia Waters, with Donald Byrd’s The Harlem Nutcracker, New York City Opera, SummerStage, and most recently in an evening of her own work, Roots & Routes, in which she restaged and performed Lester Horton’s The Beloved.

Believing strongly in creating equitable spaces to share the power of dance and the performing arts, she founded and served as the Executive and Artistic Director of the Williamsburg Movement & Arts Center from 2009-2021. For over a decade she developed public school, private school, and community partnerships which enabled three thousand students a year to explore dance through daytime workshops and on-site residencies. With a robust after school program, open adult classes, and specialized wellness events, WMAAC existed as a hub for the community. In 2015 she co-curated, co-produced and presented a performance series providing rehearsal and performance space for emerging and established choreographers to present their work. Identifying a need for quality arts programming in the Brooklyn public school sector, Lakey founded and served until 2017 as President of WMAAC Residencies (now renamed WRArts), a 501(c)3 organization which continues to offer an array of creative and rich arts programming.

Lakey has restaged Alvin Ailey’s works in her role as Ailey II Rehearsal Director, Ailey/Fordham Student Dancers Rehearsal Director, assistant to Ronni Favors for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s City Center production of Memoria, as well as for the American Dance Festival. For Ailey II, she has coached the works of Alvin Ailey, William Forsythe, Francesca Harper, Andrea Miller, Robert Battle, Elizabeth Roxas-Dobrish, and Yannick LeBrun. Lakey has been the Contemporary Teacher for the Prix de Lausanne in 2023 (celebrating the 50th anniversary), the 2023 Summer Intensive as both Contemporary Teacher and Pre-Selection judge, as well as teaching Contemporary in the 51st Prix, 2024. She served as an adjudicator for the Ailey/Fordham BFA program, Ailey Certificate Program, and the Summer Intensive, conducting national auditions with Melanie Person for over a decade, as well as teaching masterclasses and workshops nationally and internationally.

In her work teaching, restaging, and coaching choreography and dance methodologies, Lakey centers her practice in cultural relevance and artistic empowerment through performance practice. Her thesis work, Lineage and Legacy of Horton Through The Ailey Lens, Then and Now, examines the ideologies of cultural relevance, equity and inclusion through Horton/Ailey lineage as well as exploring the historical and contextual framework of the Horton technique at The Ailey School. It is this research, as well as her three decades of teaching the Horton technique, that she draws upon in her role as Associate Director of the Ailey School Horton Pedagogy, Horton faculty, AFSD Rehearsal Director, and BFA junior advisor.

Lakey has taught Dance As An Art Form at Marymount Manhattan College, Dance Appreciation for Montclair State University, served as artist in residence at Hollins University, as visiting professor in dance at Marymount Manhattan College, NYU Tisch School, Montclair State University, and as guest faculty/lecturer at the American Dance Festival, Canada’s National Ballet School’s Assemblée Internationale, the Rockette Conservatory, Ballet Hispanico, Dallas Black Dance Theater, AMDA, STEPS, and Peridance.