ABOUT YOUTHFUL EXPRESSIONS

Dedicated to Dance

Youthful Expressions was founded in 2016 by Owner, Zena Murray. As a Springfield native, Zena has always had a passion for dance and sense of duty to her community. Youthful Expressions was designed to offer an affordable and dedicated program for the local youth to call home. Following Zena's vision, Youthful Expressions has made a commitment to dedicate our time to giving back to our community through volunteer efforts and local entertainment for all community events.


Our mission is to teach the youth to aim high for their dreams, give back to their community, remain humble on their journey and let their hard work speak for itself. 

 
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ZENA MURRAY

Founder, CEO

Zena is the Founder of Youthful Expressions. Zena has always had a passion for dance and providing family services for her community. Zena's mission to spread the joy of dance to all led her to open up the doors and create a studio of her own. Her involvement with families of all sizes and demographics and understanding the struggles in our community motivated her to create a safe space for everyone to come as they are and share their love and passion of the arts.

TYLOR THOMAS

Artistic Director

Tylor Thomas, born in Springfield, Ma, began his journey in his Junior year of high school. Tylor began dancing with local dance crews, then focusing his training at local studios, where he learned foundations for a variety of styles such as Ballet, tap, hip hop, and jazz. Tylor has trained for over a decade taking classes from industry professionals in Connecticut, New York and Toronto. 

Tylor has guest instructed at several local dance studios and workshops, choreographed music videos and stage performances for local artist and toured as a back-up dancer for local indie artist Taija New. Specializing in Hip Hop and Contemporary, Tylor still dedicates himself to learning and training in the arts to share his knowledge and love of dance with every student who walks through the door.

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ANGELICA "JELLY" POLK

Artistic Instructor

Angelica Polk is a performer, choreographer, and dance educator from Western Massachusetts. She is the rehearsal director and performer for Kia The Key Company. She holds a B.A. in Dance and Arts in the Community and is in process of receiving her masters degree in mental health counseling from Cambridge College.


Angelica continues to artistically challenge and enrich the lives of many young people at Youthful Expressions, School of Contemporary Dance and Thought, The Dance Studio in Wilbraham, and various educational settings and communities. She is the founder and director of an all inclusive majorette dance line, The Community Ambassadors of Spirit and Performance Team, C.A.O.S. C.A.O.S. is a unified collective of studio and community dancers willing to learn majorette style and perform their own creations of choreographed stands to reaffirm our power and strengths together for both our enjoyment and for seasonal parades.


Angelica was honored to have been a featured dancer and on the cover of the New England Regional ACDA Dance Conference in 2016 at Springfield College. She also had a life changing opportunity and studied dance history at the Umbra Institute in Perugia, Italy and visited Rome and Venice. Angelica is skilled in many dance forms and techniques such as Horton, Vop Jazz, Contemporary, West African, House, and Hip-Hop.

JANAVIA MILLER

Artistic Instructor

Janavia is a 22 years old dancer/choreographer whose been dancing for over 10 years. After graduating from PVPA in 2019, Janavia went to Boston to explore her career goals but also different varieties of contemporary dance with different artists and schools in Boston, MA.


Janavia describes her own unique style of contemporary dance as eclectic with original movements that can border on the lines of strange and unusual but above all eye catching and mesmerizing.


Janavia has taken classes from industry professional artist such as Debbie Allen, Kody Jauron and more. Janavia has also partaken in performances at Jacob’s Pillow The Academy of Music and recently had a documentary film released with DEL. Janavia is excited to see where this new journey takes her and all the door that will open! 

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ARLIA BARNES

Artistic Instructor

Arlia Barnes was born and raised in Springfield, Massachusetts. Arlia began her journey at the early age of 6 training in singing, acting & dancing at D.R.E.A.Ms performing arts school in Springfield, MA. Dance stole her heart at a young age & she began to focus solely on the art of dance, continuing to improve her skills & knowledge at a few local studios including Youthful Expressions where she is now a celebrated alumni!


Arlia is trained in all styles with a specialty in Hip Hop & the many individual styles within. Arlia began teaching in 2017 as an assistant to Mr. Tylor and from then she knew that teaching was in her future. Throughout her dance journey she has worked with multiple celebrity choreographers from New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Detroit, Connecticut & Boston through dance conventions, workshops & even features in concept and music videos for local rappers & national choreographers.


In 2020, Arlia became a member of a New York dance company team called “Royal Thieves”, led by Deshawn "Da Prince", where she realized that hip hop is her one true love and ultimately her focus with her dance training. Her love & passion for dance is something she prides herself in & has the desire to share her love for dance to the next generation of young dancers. Arlia can’t wait to see what greatness she can pull out of any dancer she is able to teach and is excited for what this new journey holds!