Resident Companies at East Bay Center

Discovery of one's gift is the beginning of a journey. When ready, students are invited to join one of nine distinctive resident companies at the Center. In these companies, alongside professional faculty and accomplished adult mentors, students gain intensive experience performing cultural masterworks from around the world as well as in creating original works of theater, dance, music, and film.

Iron Triangle Theater

Jordan Simmons



Iron Triangle Theater performs original works created through improvisational workshops as well as scripted works, both traditional and contemporary. The company maintains a repertoire of poetry, scenes, and monologues from Richmond community history as well as under heard literary voices, all of which are performed at community events throughout the Bay Area. Through year-round writing and production, young adult company members are supported in the translation to stage of material that reflects their life experiences and those of their community.

Iron Triangle Urban Ballet

Jamar Welch with Dance Faculty



Based in modern hip-hop dance and the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater training style, the members of this resident company receive extensive training in classical ballet, jazz dance, and modern dance, as well as supplementary training in Classical African dance. As part of the company’s instruction, practice and performance, the Iron Triangle Urban Ballet is accompanied by live music provided by the Center’s other resident musical performance companies.

Mien Legends

E-Yoon Saelee



The repertoire of this rare company features pauu-zuung, an ancient style of micro-tonal singing, and Mien Ceremonial and Laotian Traditional dances. Mien Legends’ hauntingly beautiful songs, and dignified timeless dances, represent a nearly extinct tradition from the people who originally inhabited the highest mountain ranges of Southeast Asia. The Center has partnered with the Lao community to preserve and sustain Lao performing arts in Richmond for the last seventeen years.

Richmond Bloco Steel Band

Joe Kelly



Bloco, which means “group” in Brazilian Portuguese, draws inspiration from parade and procession traditions in Louisiana, Bahia Brazil, West Africa, and Trinidad, as well as the imagination of students from the Center's neighborhoods. East Bay Center’s award winning ensemble combines the traditions of American Jazz, Brazilian samba, and West Indian calypso as played on the steel drums, with contemporary urban hip-hop music styles.

Richmond Chamber Ensemble

Janet Woodhams


Hiyas Hila


Supported by the Center’s large private and group musical instruction program East Bay Center's Youth Chamber Ensemble prepares and performs challenging music grounded in the Classical European tradition, from the Eighteenth into the Twenty-first Century. Repertoire material generally features diverse music written for two to nine musicians and is usually performed without a conductor. The members of the Richmond Chamber Ensemble rehearse year round, welcoming guest artists, preparing side by side recitals and collaborating with vocalists, dancers and theater productions at the Center.

Richmond Jazz Collective

Howard Wiley





The Richmond Jazz Collective at the East Bay Center is where mentors and young jazz lions meet. Dedicated to the skills and repertoire of Jazz's Be Bop era and its luminaries such as Thelonius Monk, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, and Miles Davis, the Collective also explores Latin jazz forms, Rhythm and Blues, and contemporary styles. In this Resident Company, works of the masters are analyzed, studied, and transmitted to new generations of composers and jazz creators.

Son de la Tierra

Artemio Posadas


Dolores "Lolis" GarcĂ­a



Son de la Tierra (Song of the Earth) reflects an intense commitment to traditional practices of distinct Mexican dance, poetry, music, and ceremonial occasions including Xantolo (Día de los Muertos), La Rama and monthly Fandangos. Central to this group's purpose is a dedication to Son as a cultural form, exemplifying a range of unique expressions from rural Mexican villages to inner-city California neighborhoods.

Voices of Reason

Dana Salzman


Valerie Troutt



Comprised of eight to sixteen young singers, Voices of Reason adds an urban mix of school-yard intensity and hip hop inflection to the deep roots of African American Song — spirituals, gospel, blues, jazz, R&B, and soul singing. Whether a capella or accompanied, Voices of Reason reminds us that before the first word was spoken, it was most likely sung.

West African Music And Dance Ensemble

CK Ladzekpo


Betty Ladzekpo



The work of the Music and Dance Ensemble is based on the vast wealth of classical music and dance forms from West Africa. The Ensemble is seen as a guardian of the root dance forms of West Africa, ensuring their integrity and clarity, maintaining a tangible link directly to West Africa and their cultural context. Though clearly West African in origin, the dance and music of the Ensemble is choreographed and composed specifically for an American audience.

Kwesi Anku

Associate Director: Student Development and Training