Shanelle is a 3rd generation African American West African dancer whose dance career dates back as early as 3 years old. Her direct line to the culture stems from her grandmother, Alesa Komode who was one of the original pioneers of the culture in the Los Angeles/ Long Beach areas and her aunt Faida Brigham who have both built extensive relationships and resumes in performing arts. Although she was introduced to the culture at a young age, when she entered middle school and throughout college she took a hiatus and focused on her basketball career and studies. She eventually attended Cal State Dominguez University where she got Licensed as a Nurse. Even so, she has always been a strong believer that what is meant to be will always be, and at 19 years old she made her re-entrance and picked up where she left off with West African dance and drum.
Shanelle has been blessed to have the opportunity to study under some of the greatest Master teachers studying songs and dances from Guinea, Mali, Senegal, Ivory Coast and the Congo. Some of her teachers throughout her almost 15 year career include Mareme Faye, Youssouf Koumbassa, Marietou Camara, Djeneba Sako, Moustapha Bangoura, Aziz Faye , Mabiba Baegne and many more. Even with extensive classes and dance conferences attended she believes we are all always still students, and that there are always lessons and techniques to be learned and mastered!
She eventually joined Le Ballet Dembaya drum and dance ensemble in 2016 where she performed professionally at places like the Ford Amphitheater, Dorothy Chandelier Pavilion for their annual televised Christmas show on PBS, a Los Angeles cultural exchange series of workshops called FandangObon, at various grade schools from the OC to Los Angeles county areas, and colleges like Cal State Long Beach, UC Irvine, Cal State Dominguez Hills, and Cal state Fullerton for various graduation and Black Student Union events . Individually she has performed for artists like Beyoncé and has been a part of the Black history halftime performance at the Staples Center for the Los Angeles Clippers. She hopes to attend a trip to Africa with her group members in 2023 to further their connection as a group and as students of the culture.
Shanelle was selected to teach a weekly children’s class in Long Beach at Cesar E. Chavez Park where she and her fiancé Omari Quarles taught a dual drum and dance class to the youth in the area after school hours. She continues to have a strong connection and love for the younger generations because she feels that eventually they will be the ones tasked with the responsibility to continue spreading what those who have come before have taught them, so we must pour into them whenever we have the opportunity to. Shanelle hopes to encourage and inspire other Black young men and women to experience what it is like to play and dance in the footsteps of their ancestors.