Encore Performance Academy was founded by Charity Johnson ("Coach J"), a multitalented coach and choreographer with more than 25 years of performing arts experience. Having earned state and national titles throughout her childhood, Charity attended college at the University of Georgia (1996-2000) where she performed as the first African American majorette in Redcoat Band history. She was also a lead choreographer and Co-Captain of the UGA Dance Dawgs basketball dance team. During the past 15 years, Charity has coached dance and twirling at Georgia Tech, Kennesaw State University and Georgia State University - in addition to judging competitions, emceeing pageants, mentoring young women and serving with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) Cheerleading ministry. Her passion to inspire others through the performing arts is evident with every 8-count.
Karin Pietruszka Richman began her dance training at the Denise Daniele School of Dance in Brick, New Jersey. While studying at the world renowned Broadway Dance Center in New York City under master teachers Charles Kelley, Frank Hatchett, Germaine Salsberg, Robert Christopher and Celia Marino of Alvin Ailey, Karin additionally earned certificates from The Robert Christopher Dance Teacher Seminars. Karin was a featured dancer at The Yakety Yak Cafe and has performed with many world famous entertainers such as Chubby Checker, Crystal Waters, Turbo B (Snap), Amber, Freedom Williams (C+C Music Factory) and Bruce Springsteen. Karin has danced and choreographed for multiple television shows including NBC's Today Show as well as a number of stage shows in Madison Square Garden and Disney World. Karin's choreography has won numerous awards at various national competitions. For 13 years, Karin has choreographed for the band Holiday Express, and her students have gone on to perform at Carnegie Hall, Broadway, Walt Disney World and for many international cruise lines. One of her students was even nominated for an Emmy!