Ms. Jay, Executive Director
New Rochelle's Center of Commerce 2018 Women of Excellence Entrepreneurship Awardee
Kyra “Ms. Jay” Johnson is a native of Freeport, Long Island, and has always possessed two great loves, teaching mathematics and the performing arts. Kyra graduated from Marymount College of Fordham University Summa Cum Laude with dual degrees, a BS in Mathematics and a BA in Secondary Education. On the graduate level, she earned a M.Ed. in Mathematics from Iona College of New Rochelle, also graduating with honors.
After six years of successful teaching, Ms. Jay could no longer fight the desire to be on stage. Her performing arts experience is as broad as it is deep. Since the age of six, Ms Jay has danced with elite schools such as: The Dance Theatre of Harlem, Alvin Ailey, Joffrey, and Steps on Broadway. By the age of ten, she was declared a pre-professional and was invited to study with The Dance Theatre of Harlem Dance Company.
Ms. Jay found her love for theatre at the age of 13 and began studying under the direction of Mr. Raymond G. Wilson, founder of Utopian Dramatists, a faith-based troupe that addresses social topics through comedy. She found her place off-Broadway, performing in plays such as: The American Dream, Meeting in the Ladies Room, and The First Born. Ms. Jay also performed in the 2009 film Step Up 3D. Additionally, Ms. Jay has toured, both domestically and internationally, in places such as Barbados, Canada, Mexico, and Trinidad. In addition to teaching at Broadway Dance Center, Ms. Jay is also a member of New Beginnings Dance Company and continues her study of dance at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, under the direction of her mentor, Ms. Robin Dunn.
In 2009, Ms. Jay opened her dance studio, New Beginnings Performing Arts Studio, LLC in New Rochelle, NY in order to share her gifts and expose adolescents to life experiences through the performing arts. NBPAS, LLC., has participated in community events such as the New Rochelle Annual Memorial Day Celebrations, the Annual Thanksgiving Day Parade, and sponsored dance workshops with breast cancer awareness components. The performing arts school has school residencies in New Rochelle, Yonkers, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Manhattan. In an effort to build awareness of the body and confidence in movement, Ms Jay hosts regular D.I.P (Dancing in Pumps) workshops for dancers and non-dancers alike in New York and Atlanta.
Ms. Jay’s passion to make a positive influence in her community is not only seen through the performing arts. Ms. Jay has developed work study relationships with local colleges to help mentor students who major in dance. Mentoring teenage girls, offering opportunities for internship or shadowing her professionally, and challenging childhood obesity are just some of the many reasons why Ms. Jay is creating a legacy in New Rochelle.
In November of 2018, Ms. Jay was recognized of her achievement and was awarded the Woman of Excellence Entrepreneurial Award.