TashaMaya Gibson (Founder/Studio & Creative Director/Instructor) is one of Chicago’s Finest. She fell in love with dance at the tender age of four and hasn’t looked back since. Her passion for the arts has continuously motivated her to create and implement dance/theatre programs throughout the city. She has been instructing & choreographing for youth, adults & universities for over 25 years. TashaMaya is known for being the “center of attention” during performances and this characteristic has driven her “performance” style of teaching.
TashaMaya attended the Perfection School of Dance, Mayfair Academy of Fine Arts and Sammy Dyer School of the Theatre. Sammy Dyer is where she developed her “performance” style of performing under the late Shirley Hall-Bass. She has also trained by such greats as Amaniyea Payne, Peggy Sutton, Ted Levy, and Savion Glover. She is a former company member of Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago and Rhythm I.S.S. and has shared the stage with historical legends such as Savion Glover, Jimmy Slyde, Buster Brown, The Nicholas Brothers & Norma Miller. Over the years she has traveled throughout the United States and Caribbean performing for various concerts and events. Currently, she is a member of Nunufatima Dance & Craft Company.
Emma Mae’s SunRays Studios was created to be an outlet for performance and competitive opportunities for all.
Mz. Lulu, Performance Manager, and Creative Director. Born and raised on the south side of Chicago, she feels blessed to have had more passion for the Art’s than the streets. She first started dancing, outside of her bedroom, at the age of 7 years old with a plan to become a “FlyGirl”, of the late TV series In Living Color, and take over the dance world. That didn’t quite happen, but along her quest, she performed with many different dance programs and dance teams during the ages 7-17yrs old. Owing the stage and dominating most in her hip hop street dance style she was allowed many opportunities during her adolescent years. She has danced for R&B legend R. Kelly, performed for hip hop artists Crucial Conflict and Twista, and has been in multiple underground artist’s videos. Upon entering college, pursuing a minor in dance, Mz. Lulu took many dance workshops and college dance courses along with acting and visual arts to keep her fresh in the performing arts world.
Mz. Lulu had her first opportunity to work with children in 2001 as a cheerleading coach. This is where she first realized she loved choreographing and instructing just as much as she loves dance itself. After coaching for a few years and booking a few more gigs, Mz. Lulu took a break from the performing arts world and focused on her visual arts skills as a body tattooist and piercer. Through visual art, she created a new name for herself, Lulutatt, and became a very popular tattoo artist. It wasn’t until 2012, that she reintroduced herself back into the dance world as a dance fitness instructor. It was then that she reignited that deep love to choreograph and teach dance. After a few years of being a fitness instructor, she began to instruct children at a local dance school located on the south side of Chicago and helped create an award-winning competition team and helped develop an amazing group of dancers.
This has led her to Emma Mae’s Sunrays Studios where she continues to plan on taking over the performing arts industry and exposing our little artists to greatness. Mz. Lulu is fully in tune with the mission and wants nothing but the best for all children. Mz. Lulu is the proud mother of three children, two are currently members SunRays Studios. She is more than thrilled to be a part of such an upcoming and thriving performing arts company.
Born in Chicago, Illinois, Jamila began formal dance training in the heart of Chicago’s South Side at one of the city’s largest private African American dance schools of its type, Mayfair Academy of Fine Arts. Mayfair Academy, Joel Hall Dance Center, Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center, and many other institutions and local dance companies have contributed to shaping her dance education and style. It was at Fisk University Nashville, TN, where she felt compelled to further indulge in her passion for the art of dance. Through Orchesis, the University’s dance company, she decided to cultivate and hone her dance skills. Upon Jamila’s return to Chicago, she decided that it was important for her to share all that the arts had given to her, through outreach to the community’s youth. It was from those goals, that her consulting company, Adajio was formed. The art of dance has allotted Jamila the opportunity to participate in national events, music videos, awards shows, and concerts. Her talents have carried her across the world, twice, to Osaka Japan, to host dance workshops for missionary organizations. She has been blessed with over 20 years of professional experience. She continues her dance education by attending master classes, dance conventions, and teacher-sharing classes to stay current with the latest trends and skills that support the success and growth of both her clients and self. Jamila believes in passion and hard work, but more importantly, having FUN! Jamila is committed to the endless work of bringing the most groundbreaking ideas and advice to every project, in efforts to bless the masses with the gift of dance!
Maraya is our Public Relations and Media Manager. Born in Chicago, but raised in California – Maraya cultivated her art and love for dance through the classes she took as a child. A former competitive gymnast and cheerleader, Maraya’s passion for the arts remained and she is so excited to contribute to the Sunrays media efforts. She currently works as an Independent film & Web series Producer in the film industry and has worked in administrative roles at companies such as Starz, CAA, and Lionsgate. She specializes in web design, graphics, video editing, and is passionate about all art forms.
Nicholette is SunRays Studios Parent Coordinator.