Meet the Artists: Restore Arts Festival

Jade Charon

Instagram: @jade_charon

Jade Charon is an interdisciplinary artist, choreographer, filmmaker, and international dance educator, hailing from Milwaukee, Wisconsin living in Brooklyn. Charon received an MFA in Dance from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a BA in Dance and Theater from Columbia College Chicago. Charon was awarded the 2020 Hicks Choreographer Fellowship from the School of Jacob’s Pillow where she received mentorship from Dianne McIntyre and Risa Steinberg. In 2018, Charon was selected as the Chuck Davis Emerging Choreographer Fellow from BAM(Brooklyn Academy of Music) . She is an Assistant Professor of Dance and Technology at Medgar Evers College. As a filmmaker, her films have been accepted in festivals and conferences such as Montreal Independent Film Festival, Mke Film Festival, Toronto International Women’s Film Festival, American Dance Festival Movie By Movers, and The Outland Dance Project Dance Film Festival. She was awarded the jury select Cream City Award from Mke film festival and the semi-finalist for Best Experimental Film for Montreal Independent Film Festival.


Charon aims to use her art as a ministry to uplift her community and was selected to give a Ted Talk on using dance as a ministry for TedxUCLA. In 2013, Charon was selected to pioneer and design a dance program for the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee through a national research study with The Wallace Foundation. This experience sprouted Charon into starting her own non-profit company, By Jade Charon Company. By Jade Charon has birthed films, arts curriculums, community outreach initiatives, and arts festivals, fusing art, education, mentorship, and social justice globally. Charon is also the founder 30:11 by Jade Charon LLC, a leotard and activewear line, designed to support all body types with the hopes of eliminating body shaming.

Tori Isaac

Instagram: @tori_lauren22

Victoria “Tori” Isaac is a dancer, educator, and creator based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A dancer of 18 years, Tori began cultivating her training under the mentorship of Yesenia Valverde at the Valverde School of Performing Arts in Southern California. Relocating to the Midwest, she then continued under Cait Jones of Transcendance Dance Studios in Oak Park, Illinois before pursuing dance collegiately at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, graduating with her Bachelor of Arts in Dance and Sociology. Tori has performed extensively throughout the West Coast and Midwest and has taught dance and movement education in a variety of settings, including primary schools, youth detention centers, and collegiate institutions. She is currently a Tap lecturer in the Department of Dance and a graduate student in the Department of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her current research interests address the concepts of personal and bodily autonomy, introversion, and burnout, especially in Black women.


Work Inspiration: This work plays with the ideas of burnout and the stress and barriers to ‘tapping out’. I was inspired to create this work because of my own experiences with rest, my aversion to it, and my inability to be able to engage with it out of fear of losing my ‘place’ in the line of opportunity. As a Black woman in academia, I struggle with imposter syndrome and the consistent concern of succumbing to another statistic. These ideas are prevalent within this work and shape its content.

Shalome Unique

Instagram: @Shalome_Unique, @theunproblematicqueens


Born and raised in Milwaukee,WI, Shalome Unique started dancing in ministry at church. With her strong desire to learn more about dance and performance, Shalome took interest in many forms of dance including African, Hip Hop, Contemporary and Jazz.


With a passion for making art accessible to everyone, Shalome teaches throughout the community. In 2022, Shalome developed her dance group Unproblematic Queens. Shalome has a desire to promote a space and opportunity for women of color to come together, encourage, build each other up and heal one another. 


Shalome continues to work on her own brand and artistic development. Currently still training, her goal is to continue to grow creativity and continue to build and perfect her technique. Her mission is to Inspire others  to establish resilience and freedom by being actively engaged and supportive. With a desire to create a judgment free place for individuals in crisis to problem solve, troubleshoot and discover themselves through dance. 


Work Inspiration: This piece illustrates the dynamic and strength of women coming together to create a community to help build each other up. It’s not as easy as it sounds and oftentimes women compete with one other out of insecurities, fear and self doubt. Being able to see past your emotions and know the importance of building and investing in your village.

Francine E. Ott

Instagram: @ott_the_walk


Francine E. Ott, a native of New Orleans, received her B.F.A in Dance from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and has had the pleasure of studying with many artists that she admires. She has worked and danced with Camille A. Brown and Dancers, Ronald K. Brown/Evidence, A Dance Company, among others.  She has had the privilege of teaching many workshops, classes, and residencies—as well as being able to showcase her choreography.  Francine has received her Masters degree in Mental Health Counseling at Nyack College, and is currently a Dance Lecturer and Director of Panoramic Dance Project at North Carolina State University.  Ms. Ott has her own company, Francine E. Ott/The Walk, where she integrates mental health with dance and other art forms, allowing one to further their creativity through a unique therapeutic process—providing a space for growth, healing, change, and transformation in one’s life.


Work Inspiration: The piece is about releasing and letting go of things that are no longer serving you. Letting all of this wash away to embrace what is new and better. Releasing the fears to step forward in faith… honoring your value on this earth and not only knowing but believing and accepting that you are loved.

Hannah Victoria

Instagram: @mshannahvictoria

Hannah Victoria (Thomas) is a native of Atlanta, GA, and holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Dance and Choreography, along with a teaching artists certificate from Arizona State University. She received her training from DeKalb School of the Arts, Ballethnic Dance Company, Price Performing Arts Center, and McClendon School of Dance. In addition to her studio training, she truly started dancing in church, learning from her mother, Charlotte Dudley. Hannah has trained and/or worked with Nicole Klaymoon, Michael Sakamoto, Jade Solomon, Joan Rodriguez, Taimy Miranda, Tina Fears, Tobe Nwigwe, and learned from many artists in the metro Phoenix area, like Mary Fitzgerald, Eileen Standley, and Marcus White. Her teaching experience includes adjunct and faculty positions at Grand Canyon University, Arizona State University, and currently, as an Assistant Professor of Dance for the University of Oregon.


In 2019, Victoria premiered an evening-length show, Her Brown Body Is Glory that explored sisterhood, rites of passage through dance, and healing for Black women. On June 19, 2020, also known as Juneteenth, she live streamed the show to raise money for the Breonna Taylor fund.


Her other passions include styling and fashion, dance ministry work for local churches, theatre directing/choreographing, sound engineering, and dance films. In 2021, she collaborated with Faith Christian Center, Martian Media Studios, and 5 local artists to creative-direct a dance film called, “This must be the place”, which was selected to be featured in the 2022 Arizona Drive-In Dance Festival.


Work Inspiration: This work is an ode to the voices heard from praise houses built by enslaved African- Americans; a place to meet, sometimes in secret, for prayer and song. It is an exploration of praise as resistance to an oppressive version of Christianity as a way of survival, transformation, and inspiration for old hymns that have inspired us to keep “going on” and “get over” day after day.