Nikeva Marie Stapleton
Nikeva, a Chicago native with West Indian roots, is a professional dancer, model, and actor. She began dancing at age 7, taking ballet, jazz and tap classes while competing in major dance competitions. At age 16, Nikeva joined Chicago’s Joel Hall Dancers’ junior company, where she furthered her training with modern, contemporary, and hip-hop techniques. She then ventured off to New York City after being accepted into The Ailey School/Fordham University BFA Program. There, she majored in dance with a minor in business, was a member of the Dean’s List & a Fordham Scholar. In college, Nikeva underwent rigorous technical training and further diversified her dance background with West African, improv, composition, and theater classes. Nikeva performed repertoire by legends Bill T. Jones and Ronald K. Brown, and performed in Alvin Ailey's "Memoria" with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at New York City Center.
Upon graduation, Nikeva began her professional career as a freelance dancer. She was cast in the revival of Rigoletto at the MET Opera, in Frank Gatson's Jubilee! show in Vegas, and for several TV performances including VH1’s Jenny McCarthy Show, MTV’s VMAs, the Today Show, and America's Got Talent. In addition, Nikeva has performed live with artists such as Jennifer Lopez, Chris Brown, and Flo Rida. She was also in Beyonce’s music videos “Pretty Hurts” and “Formation,” and had the honor of dancing in Beyonce’s performance at the 2016 Super Bowl.
When moving to LA in 2015, Nikeva signed to a theatrical agency and began to pursue an acting career in television and film. Nikeva has since appeared in Spike Lee’s feature film Chriaq and his soon to release Netflix' series She's Gotta Have It. She was also cast in Marlon Wayans' film Naked and NBC's sitcom Marlon, both coming out in 2017.
Aside from her dance and acting career, Nikeva is a fitness, fashion, and commercial model, having worked for such companies as MAC, Nike, Adidas, Fila, Athleta, and more.
Outside of performing, Nikeva is passionate about her Caribbean roots. Her paternal family hails from the small island of Nevis, and spreads throughout the eastern Caribbean. Nikeva has always wished to share her joy of dance through educational outreach and festival programming in this region. She is currently a teaching artist for Art Saves Lives, a foundation that hosts a summer dance intensive in St. Maarten. Nikeva aspires to become a cultural ambassador for the arts in the Caribbean, with the intention of preserving traditional West Indian artistic culture, while introducing lesser known art forms to the islands and its people. She believes exposure to new concepts, coupled with opportunities to actively engage in the expression of art, leads to overall cultural enrichment; therefore, she strives to promote this philosophy wherever it is absent.
"I had to trust life, since I was young enough to believe that life loved the person who dared to live it." - Maya Angelou