Owner/Artistic Director
Maxine Lyle began stepping at the age of seven in her hometown of Newark, NJ. She now performs, choreographs, and offers step instruction to youth and adults throughout the Northeast. She has extensively researched the local and international history of stepping. In 1996 she co-founded Sankofa, the Williams College step team, which celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2006 and is now under the official auspices of the Williams College Dance Program. She has been a creative advisor to college and youth step teams and taught at arts institutions, including the Youth Alive Step Team (Pittsfield, MA), the Manhattan College Step Team, the Westfield State University Step Team, the Vermont Arts Exchange, Berkshire Pulse, Eden Hill, and Simon's Rock. Her choreography has been featured at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA). She is a Master of Fine Arts candidate in Theatrical Management and Producing at Columbia University's School of the Arts.

Zakia "Mindz-I" Benyard is a native of Newark, New Jersey. She is a graduate of Kean University. Her passion for dancing evolved at a young age. Her background includes step, African, tap, jazz and hip-hop. In addition to her work with the Soul Steppers, Benyard choreographs and performs with Swing Phi Swing Social Fellowship Inc. and has been an artistic consultant for college step teams in the Newark community.

Angela L. Brackett, a native of Hillsborough, New Jersey, began stepping at the age of 6 in her church community. She co-founded Hillsborough High School's first step team in 2002. She studied dance at Raritan Valley Community College and continued her dance education at Hunter College in New York City. While at Hunter, Ms. Brackett performed with the Inter-varsity Christian Fellowship Step Team and toured with the Hunter College Dance Company, where she worked with well-known choreographers Ronald K. Brown, Robin Dunn, and Randy James.
Ms. Brackett also has extensive experience teaching children in various organizations around New Jersey. When not touring with Soul Steps, "Miss Angela" teaches at the Dance Connection in New Jersey where she combines her love of children and her love of dance.

Denyse "Trini Spice" Deane is from Trinidad & Tobago. She graduated in 2003 from Williams College, where she participated in African dance, drumming and stepping. Prior to that, her arts background included ballet and theatre. Denyse currently works in Marketing and Communications in NYC, with the goal of using those skills to further the performing arts in her native country.

Heather "Eko" DeLeon, hails from Brooklyn, NY. She is a 2005 graduate of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, where in 2001 she was co-founder and head choreographer of Hatari, the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts step team. As a young girl her father introduced her to the art of stepping and she has continued to expose herself to stepping ever since.

Dionne Norton, a native of the "Boogie Down" Bronx, New York, has been stepping from the age of 14. In high school she formed an acclaimed step team, Soundz of Thunda, which performed at the Apollo Theater. She went on to Manhattan College to receive a BS in Marketing, and choreographed and performed with the Manhattan College Step Team. Upon graduation she became a step instructor for students ages 6-21 in Mission Society after-school programs, and also choreographed for Moving Up/Graduation Ceremonies, a special education program at P168 in the Bronx. When she is not stepping, Ms. Norton works for the American Museum of Natural History and performs with the Renaissance Steel Chamber Ensemble.