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Atlanta Dance Connection

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"Education, Art, and Entertainment That Gives Back"

Who We Are

Artistic Staff


Founder, Executive Artistic Director — Allyne D. Gartrell

A native of Atlanta, GA, Gartrell brings thirty years of experience to the art of dance. A graduate of the Dekalb Center for the Performing Arts in Atlanta. Allyne also attended Florida A&M University and Florida State University where he excelled in Instrumental Music and Dance. As a dancer, Allyne has worked with Joel Hall Dance Theater, Ballet Wisconsin, City Ballet Theatre and for seven years he was one of the Lead Male Dancers for the Internationally known Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, where he served as Company Instructor and Rehearsal Director for DCDC II.

While at DCDC, Allyne performed ballets of Alvin Ailey, Donald McKayle, Talley Beatty, Ulysses Dove, and Donald Byrd to name a few. His Broadway credits include; the Wiz, A Chorus Line, Sophisticated Ladies, and his most notable performance as Crown in the National Touring Production of Porgy & Bess. Allyne also served as Assistant to the Tony Award Winning Choreographer Hope Clark for the production of Porgy & Bess which premiered at the Kennedy Center for the Arts.
Over the past two decades, Allyne has worked as Principal Male Dancer, Rehearsal Director and Resident Choreographer for the Dallas Black Dance Theatre. In 2006, Allyne became Director of DBDT II, Dallas Black Dance Theatre's2nd Touring Company. Under his direction, DBDT II elevated its artistic value and was able to establish a National Touring Season. Collaborations with the Allen Civic Orchestra in Peter & the wolf and the Dallas Symphony in Carnival of the Animals became staples of the Season! Allyne is a highly recognized Master Dance Instructor in the country-known for his high energy, & physically demanding ALLYNISM and Contemporary Ballet Classes. His pulsating choreography has been featured on several dance companies and Universities including, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, DBDT II, Milwaukee Dance Connection, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Morgan State University, Spelman College, City College of San Francisco, and Grambling State University. In 2006 Allyne choreographed Primary Movements; a Contemporary ballet in collaboration with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, with original scoring by classical composer Jonathan Bailey Holland. Primary Movements became the official kick-off for Dallas Black Dance Theatre's 30th Anniversary Celebration.

In 2010, The ATLANTA DANCE CONNECTION, Atlanta's Ambassadors of Dance Company, under the direction of Mr. Gartrell made its debut in Georgia. Addressing the need for an artistic outlet for young artist, the CONNECTION'S mission is to present quality art, entertainment and education in the field of Concert Dance. In 2004, Allyne was recognized for his contribution at-risk youth in the mid-west by Senator Russ Fiengold, and was awarded the 2004 AKA Trail Blazer Award for Outstanding Community Service. Currently, Allyne is a member of the International Association of Blacks in Dance, Atlanta African American Dance Community, and for the past fifteen years he has serves as Scholarship Chairman for the Black College Dance Exchange, a coalition of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Allyne is the recipient of the 2009 Presidential Edition of Who's Who in the Arts, awarded the Dallas Black Dance Theatre 2009 Artist Award, and in December of 2009, Allyne was featured in Dallas Modern Luxury Magazine as one of The New Iconoclasts for 2010. Under Allyne's leadership the ATLANTA DANCE CONNECTION has taken its place as one of the leading professional dance companies in the SOUTH! In 2011 the company received the Outstanding Community Partner Award for Dance Education and the 2011 Phoenix Award presented by Mayor Kasim Reed of Atlanta. In celebration of 5 Years of Artistic Excellence, May 22, 2015 was Proclaimed ATLANTA DANCE CONNECTION DAY by the Atlanta City Council. Currently Celebrating 9 Season of Artistic Excellence, The ATLANTA DANCE CONNECTION, has been selected with 25 Black run organizations around the country to receive the Influencers Grant from the International Association of Blacks in Dance & the Mellon Foundation.

Torrance Smith

Artistic Assistant, Principal Dancer — Torrance Smith
A native of Milwaukee, Torrance began his studies in dance under the direction of Sandra Jordan in the Dance Exchange Summer Intensive. After much hard work, Torrance auditioned for the Milwaukee School of the Arts and was accepted into the dance major program, where he would study ballet, modern, jazz, and African dance. Little did Torrance know that he would meet his mentor, Mr. Allyne D Gartrell.

Always striving to expand and grow within the art of dance, Mr. Smith attended Milwaukee Ballet School on scholarship, Danceworks Studio, KO-THI Dance Company, where he studied traditional African dance under the direction of Ferne Y. Caulker.

After graduating from MSA, Torrance moved to Atlanta to pursue his dream of dancing and working directly with his mentor. In August of 2013, Mr. Smith joined Atlanta Dance Connection. Torrance has danced the ballets of Christopher Huggins, Richard Freeman-Carter, and Kevin Jackson. He has also worked directly with Michael Jackson, Jr. and Sean Aaron Carmon of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

In 2016, Torrance was appointed artistic assistant to Mr. Gartrell. Traveling and teaching all over the country, Torrance has worked with Florida A&M University, Morgan State University, Grambling State University, Middle Tennessee State University, and Dance Connection Palo Alto. Currently in his fifth season with Atlanta Dance Connection, Torrance is the recipient of the 2017 Director's Award for Outstanding Service and Dedication. Torrance is also a member of the artistic team of the Tri-Cities dance department and a faculty member of I Am Arts.

upcoming event

Horton Instructor — Patrick PK Smith
­Patrick K. Smith - artistically known as "PK"—hails from Little Rock, AR. He received a B.A. in Music from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. PK’s initial dance training started while attending Horace Mann Arts/Science Magnet Jr. High School and later as a company member with the Tidwell Project Dance Ensemble--under the direction of C. Michael Tidwell. Upon relocation to Dallas, TX, his concert dance training continued with Dallas Black Dance Theatre’s academy; having participated in annual summer intensives, workshops and master classes.

PK is a founding member of The ATLANTA DANCE CONNECTION, where he served as Dancer, Rehearsal Director, Choreographer & Instructor, he is also a former member of Dallas Black Dance Theatre’s second performance company (DBDT II), also serving as Rehearsal Assistant and eventually as Rehearsal Director. While with DBDT II, he performed the works of BaBa Chuck Davis, Allyne D. Gartrell, Christopher L. Huggins, The Lion Kings'- Ray Mercer, Derrick Minter, Nycole Ray, Dianne M. Grigsby and Cleo Parker Robinson. In 2010 PK received the Director’s Award for Dedication & Service to DBDT II. PK has also performed as guest artist with Déka Dance, Happy Nía Dance Theatre, Beckel’s Dancing Company, The Black Academy of Arts and Letters, Allen Civic Ballet, Ursula, Inc., Darryl Foster’s: LIFT , as well as the role of Snow King in Tolbert City Ballet’s presentation of “The Nutcracker

Currently, Patrick is the Director of Dance at Stephenson High School in Stone Mountain, GA; bringing his experiences as a concert dancer, musician and instructor in order to better serve the students of the Dekalb County district. He remains involved within the Atlanta dance community as an instructor at Norma’s Academy of Dance, with the intention of sharing all of which has been poured into him as an artist and human being. PK is a member of the National Dance Educators Association, Black College Dance Exchange and the International Association of Blacks in Dance Conference. Recently PK participated in the Horton Pedagogy Workshop at The Ailey School led by an internationally-recognized master teacher--Ana Marie Forsyth.

Le'Von Campbell

Company Manager

A native of Chicago, Le'Von began his professional dance training when he received a scholarship to join the Dance Theatre of Harlem as a trainee with the company. After much hard work, Mr. Campbell became a member of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's second performing company. Always striving to expand within the art of dance, Mr. Campbell later joined George Faison's Universal Dance Experience.

Mr. Campbell's extensive dance credits include performing with The Katherine Dunham Company, Morris Donaldson Dance Company, Rhondo Dance Theatre, Disney on Parade, Gene Marriancio Dance Company, Bryant Ballet, and Sesame Street Live. Mr. Campbell's Broadway and national touring credits include The Wiz with Stephanie Mills, Raisin with Virginia Capers, Timbuktu with the late Ertha Kitt, Pal Joey 78" with the late Lena Horne, and Donald McKayle's Evolution of the Blues. Le'Von was also featured in the Opera Enscolto and Amistad.

Over the past decade, Mr. Campbell has shared his gift of dance with several local dance companies in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area, as well as the Dallas Independent School District, Ardmore, Oklahoma School District, and the Atlanta Public School System. Le'Von also served as ballet master for Happy Nia Dance Theatre, Membership Coordinator for the Black Academy of Arts and Letters, and Associate Artistic Director/Company Touring Manager for the renowned Dallas Black Dance Theatre. Currently, Le'Von serves as Atlanta Dance Connection's company manager and massage therapist.

The Artists


• Alyseia Darby
• Eric Grigley
• DelShawn Hickman
• Morgan Jackson
• Kyla Gibson

• Naijaah Patterson

• Shomahri Simmonds
• Torrance Smith
• Morhgan Washington
• Demetrius Tucker


• Levon Campbell
• Wesley Franklin
• Allyne D. Gartrell

• Astral Gartrell-Holt

• Aaron Lewis
• Johnny Lewis
• Andy Lyon
• Tony Burks

Atlanta Dance Connection Anniversary APPRENTICES

• Benson Georges

• Jemari Neal


• Tracie Barnes

• Wesley Franklin