Karisma Jay is the Artistic Director and Founder of the AbunDance Academy located in the heart of Brooklyn. For their first End of Year Dance Production, this past June, AbunDance Academy presented The Wiz – this version written, directed, and narrated by Karisma who added exciting new flavors to the classic.
“A Broadway worthy performance, it was our first big production!” she proudly proclaims. “We showcased 100 students, 20 senior citizen members and 20- 30 of our AbunDance staff. We attracted an audience of 400, and 50 volunteers from the Brooklyn community.”
Karisma Jay’s life is in dance and she has been dancing and performing since the age of two.
She studied at the Dance Theatre of Harlem, the Junior Division of Ailey School, High School of the Performing Arts and also studied Performing Arts and Pre-Med at NYU.
In addition to performing with a number of prestigious dance companies such as Brooklyn Ballet and Ronald K. Brown’s Evidence, Karisma performed with the national touring company of STOMP, the longest-running Off Broadway musical, during the 2013-2015 seasons.
Professionally, Karisma has also worked in television and has done voice overs for commercials.
Meanwhile, Karisma honed her skills working with children to develop the confidence of even the shyest and youngest of students. She has taught dance since the age of 11.
At AbunDance, students of all ethnicities, from ages three through adults, study many dance forms including ballet, African, tap and jazz, theatre arts, specialty performing arts and fitness.
“Our performance of The Wiz turned into a testimony to the power of AbunDance, experiencing the ‘Dance’ in abundance,” she said.
“Coming up are winter and spring dance company performances, acting workshops, our annual winter gala fundraiser and of our annual June dance concert, “ she says.
Karisma is also competing in the 6th Annual Stars of New York Dance competition, partnering with Rev. David Brawley of St. Paul Community Church. “We’ll be raising scholarship funds for select AbunDance students,” she adds.
Karisma’s inspiration is her mom. “Everything that I am is because she invested in me and continues to do so. She supports my passion for the arts. She never allows me to limit myself creatively, academically, or personally. She implanted in me all the life tools I need to draw upon in her stead.”
Karisma was born in the U.S. Her mom and family are from Panama with lineage from Barbados, Jamaica and England.