“Return to old watering holes for more than water; friends and dreams are there to meet you.”




    Shakers Performing Arts Camp




  • Our vision

    Shakers mission is to groom young outstanding citizens through the arts by promoting teamwork, self-confidence, reading skills, creativity, and presentation skills so that they can find their artistic voice.

  • Meet Our Executive Team

    Shakers Performing Arts is a fun learning environment that reaches the heart of all its participants on a personal level. In addition, our mission is to teach and encourage the youth to dream big, believe deep and strive hard at being their individual best.

    Laiona Michelle

    Founder & Artistic Director

    Laiona Michelle Weaver (Founder/Artistic Director/ Acting Coach) received her MFA from Brandeis University and a Bachelor of Arts from Alabama State University. She is professional actress/director from Springfield Ma. She lives in New York where she made her debut on All My Children and has appeared in various episodes of Law & Order: CI and the Black List. Some of her teaching credits include: Brandeis University- Improvisational Skills, Colorado Shakespeare Festival’s summer camp, Theatre Camp in Vermont, TAPS (Theatre Arts Performing Arts School), and 3T (Teaching, Teens Theatre). Laiona Michelle Weaver has directed and performed in over sixty plays, a recipient of a NAACP for her role as Ida B. Wells in Tazewell Thompson's Constant Star, and was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for the IRNE (Independent Reviewers of New England) awards as well as being nominated for Best Actress for The Helen Hayes Awards for her work in Yellowman at the

    Arena Stage. She works under the stage name Laiona Michelle and recently had her Broadway debut in the principal role of Nana, after leaving the national tour of The Book of Mormon with the acclaimed stage play, Amazing Grace.


    Shuwanda Nzikou-Ilagou

    Co-Founder & Assistant Director

    Shuwanda Nzikou-Ilagou (Assistant Director/ Dance Instructor) is a graduate from Brandeis University’s MFA Program where she earned her Master’s Degree in Acting. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree, cum laude, from Alabama State University. Mrs. Nzikou-Ilagou is a professional actress and native from Washington DC but currently resides in New York City, New York. She has studied dance for 20 years and has choreographed for Alabama State University’s musical theatre productions, The Funnibone Comedy Club and TAPS (Theatre Arts Performing School). She has taught dance for TAPS (Theatre Arts Performing School) in Montgomery, Alabama and to undergraduates at Brandeis University. Mrs. Nzikou-Ilagou starred in Disney’s Festival of the Lion King in Orlando Florida, and toured with Theatre Works USA out of New York City, New York. In addition to performing in numerous professional theatre productions such as Permanent Collections, The Exonerated, North Star, La Dispute, In The Blood, West Side Story, Big River, and To Kill A Mockingbird to name a few, Mrs. Nzikou-Ilagou has also toured and performed professionally throughout Europe and has been a mainstage featured singer with Disney Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. Mrs. Nzikou-Ilagou has also had the pleasure of studying theatre in Greece with the University of Athens and in France with the Roy Hart Theatre. In addition to her numerous stage credits she also has done voice-overs, commercials, and independent films.

    Crystal Harvey

    Music Director

    Crystal Harvey (Music Director) Ms. Harvey holds her BA from North Carolina School of the Arts and an MA from the University of Utah. Ms. Harvey currently works for various cruise lines as a principal singer in their main stage production shows and well as a background recording singer. She has also been the music director, and choreographer for the USA Gospel Singers which tours all over Europe with Frank Serr and was part of the original cast of Three Mo tenors. Ms. Harvey has also been a feature singer for Holland America, Princess and Carnival Cruise

    Lines. Other credits include Festival of The Lion King, Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Sight and Sound Ministries in Pennsylvania. Ms. Harvey also has experience as a music teacher with the Baltimore City Public School system in her hometown of Baltimore, Maryland.


    Charlie Hudson III

    Acting, Stage Combat, Movement

    Charlie Hudson III (Acting, Stage Combat, Movement) Mr. Hudson holds an MFA from Brown University/Trinity Repertory Consortium and a BA from Alabama State University, (magna cum laude). Some of his stage credits include Lymon, The Piano Lesson, Yale Repertory Theatre; James Miranda, White Women Street, Irish Repertory Theatre; Sam, Mater Harold and the boys, Portland Stage Company; Chet, Fly, Crossroads Theater and The Vineyard Playhouse; George, A Raisin in the Sun; Richmond, Richard III; Topper, Undertaker’s Man, A Christmas Carol; Sugar Boy, All the King’s Men; Captain Carbon de Castel-Jaloux, Cyrano de Bergerac, Trinity Repertory Company; Hades, Hillary, New Georges; Phrynichus, Old Comedy, Classic Stage Company; Ensemble Soldier, Mother Courage, Public Theater/NYSF; Fly, Sweet Bird of Youth, Williamstown Theatre Festival; Benvolio, Romeo and Juliet, Bread Loaf Acting Ensemble; Mark Antony, Julius Caesar; Booth, Topdog/Underdog, Brown/ Trinity Consortium. Charlie’s film credits are The Rosa Parks Story (CBS), Shades of Blue (NBC), Criminal Justice, Forever (ABC), Unforgettable (CBS) and Waterfront (CBS), and his voice is featured in the McGraw-Hill's PodClass GRE Vocabulary Study Guide. Mr. Hudson is the 2003 KC/ACTF Irene Ryan Best Actor Award winner, Region IV. Mr. Hudson made his Broadway debut in the revival of

    The Raisin in the Sun, that stared Denzel Washington in 2015.

    Brice Nzikou-Ilagou

    Circus Arts

    Brice Nzikou-Ilagou (Circus Arts) joins Shakers from Libreville Gabon on the continent of Africa where he trained exclusively and earned his diploma from the Cirque de L’Equateur school in Circus Arts. Brice is also the current leader of the Gabonese Eagles and has spent over a decade touring and performing throughout Europe with various Circus shows including Andre Heller’s Africa Africa and Cirque Italia. Mr. Ilagou is currently in preproduction with Walt Disney World Entertainment and Zuma Zuma Entertainment for an exciting new production opening 2016 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida.

    Xavier Pierce

    Lighting Designer

    Xavier Pierce is a graduate of New York University Tisch School of the Arts MFA in Design Stage and Film, RECENT CREDITS: HARVEY by Mary Chase, directed by Libby Appel at Guthrie Theatre. TWO TRAINS RUNNING,by August Wilson directed by Raelle Myrick -Hodges A RAISIN IN THE SUN at the Westport Country Playhouse directed by Phylicia Rashad, Xavier lit TWO TRAINS RUNNING directed by Ruben Santiago -Hudson at Two Rivers Theatre Company in Red Bank, NJ. Katori Hall's THE MOUNTAINTOP directed by Raelle Myrick-Hodges in a coproduction between Playmakers Rep and Triad Stage. Xavier designed August Wilson's FENCES directed by Phylicia Rashad in a coproduction between Long Wharf Theatre and the McCarter Theatre. Xavier designed THE PIANO LESSON at the Olney Theatre Center directed by Jamil Jude.

    Bonnie Weaver

    Costume Designer

    Bonnie Weaver received her degree from Kentucky State University. She is the director of Woman on the Mission, which is a program designed for working community moms interested in supporting their children in theatre by making costumes, cooking meals and fundraising.


  • Shakers Is Coming To Africa

  • Shakers In Action