History & Vision
“Dance isn’t just about the dancers. It’s about the audience.”
~ Carleton T. Jones, Founder
1992-1993 Carlton T. Jones, Rainbow Tribe Founder and Artistic Director
With his charisma and powerful physicality, Carleton T. Jones was a natural on stage. His talents took him to the Broadway stage, where he appeared in A Chorus Line (as Richie), A Broadway Musical and Dancin’, and led to his groundbreaking music video and television work with Janet Jackson, Paula Abdul and Tracy Ullman. Along the way, Jones developed street-smart choreography that ultimately dominated the visual components of music videos for the MTV generation.
After introducing the street-funk trend at the Jeannette Neill Dance Studio in the early 1990's, Jones believed that his “Rainbow Tribe” could cement his passion for dance with the desire to help others embrace motion to develop self-confidence and bridge cultural differences. The dance company emerged onto the scene at the Boston Dance Festival Showcase in 1992. Jones’ life was claimed by AIDS in 1993 but his vision for Rainbow Tribe lives on.
1993-1997 Calvin Wiley, Rainbow Tribe Artistic Director
In 1993, Calvin Wiley took over the reins of Rainbow Tribe at the invitation of the company’s original members. Then new to Boston, fitness guru Wiley displayed an energy, style and spirit that made him a natural fit for the company. Wiley invested four years as Artistic Director. During that time, the dance company's varied appearances raised its profile so that by 1997, Rainbow Tribe had earned sponsorship support from MTV's The Grind Clothing and Greater Boston Media. Having experienced significant success in Boston, Wiley departed the Bay State in 1997 in pursuit of career opportunities in New York.
1997-2012 Mary Mazzulli, Executive Artistic Director
Original Rainbow Tribe member Mary Mazzulli stepped up to lead the company in 1997. Under Mazzulli’s leadership, the company was incorporated as Rainbow Tribe, Inc., a Massachusetts non-profit corporation dedicated to bridging cultural differences, building community and educating through the art of dance. In addition, Mazzulli developed the company’s range and demonstrated a choreographic style that raised the bar yet maintained Tribe’s unique feel and culture.
The organization earned headlines at the 1999 Boston Moves performance at the Emerson Majestic and Hip-Hop Boston at the Strand Theater. In 2003, the organization partnered with Children’s Hospital and the Italian Home for Children on monthly “Movement For Health” workshops for at-risk, under-served and differently-abled children. 2005 headlines included being named “Dance Pick” of the Boston Globe for two weeks in a row. Other performance highlights include "Rock the Block," New England Health & Fitness Show, and the East Coast Alliance Fitness Convention in New York City.
2012 to present Melanie Kasdon, Executive Artistic Director
Following Rainbow Tribe's 20th anniversary, Melanie was named Executive Artistic Director of Rainbow Tribe, Inc. Melanie is committed to expanding the Company's network with the Boston and other area communities. Melanie is focused on the continuation of using dance education and the arts as a positive and beneficial means to enrich our communities.
Today, Rainbow Tribe takes pride in its history and looks forward to advancing its vision of dance as a powerful positive force.