Chatiera "Cookie" Ray
Executive Creative Director
Chatiera “Cookie” Ray, is a Cleveland native that transitioned to Long Beach, California in 2013 to expand and explore her career in dance and youth development. Chatiera began dancing at the age of 11, but began professionally training at age 12. She has been trained under Michael Medcalf; Terence Greene; Desmond L. Davis; and Natasha Lee-Colon Ehindero. During her adolescence, much of her training and experience was spent at Karamu House, Cleveland Contemporary Dance Theater, Rainey Institute, and Foluke Cultural Arts Center.
Later into her college years, Chatiera attended Kent State University as a Fashion Merchandising major, minoring in Dance Performance. During her undergrad at Kent, she had the opportunity to choreograph many dance works, where she received the “Dance Choreographers Peer Award”, where her work was chosen for adjudication at the American College Dance Festival. She was also granted the opportunity to train with the Garth Fagan Dance Company in Rochester, NY and be a featured dancer in “Why I Had to Dance”, a choreo-poem written by Ntozake Shange and choreographed by Dianne McIntyre. After graduating Kent State, Chatiera went on to do other dance productions (i.e. “ A Son Is Born”), as well as exploring her teaching capacities with Foluke Cultural Arts Center, local studios, and even outside of Cleveland, Ohio (i.e. Kent, Youngstown, Akron, Detroit, etc.).
In 2014, Chatiera made the decision to spread her wings, which landed her in Long Beach,California. Here she worked in Workforce Development with The AmeriCorps Vista program, where she then landed an internship with the Lula Washington Dance Theater. Here, Chatiera had the opportunity to train, teach, and dive into some event coordinating. With much success and gained experience, she then moved forward in her career to teach youth in underprivileged communities and continued to progress in her dance endeavors.
2015, Chatiera realized that she wanted to do something bigger than just perform. That’s when the CRayProject was established and her creativity expelled! Since then, Chatiera has created many works and has had the opportunity to collaborate with other Performing Arts organizations and companies around the United States. A lot of her work has been performed with LA Unbound, RAW Artists, Lula Washington Dance Theater, MOD ARTS (New York), Long Beach Playhouse Theater, and more.
Chatiera has developed many Performance Arts programs within Los Angeles County for After-School programs, Recreation Centers, and local non-profits. She continues to dance and create for the betterment of the communities she serves and as an outlet to share her artistry to the world.