Tobin James is the Associate Artistic Director of Störling Dance Theater. She grew up in Washington, D.C., where her early Dance training began, courtesy of the Department of Recreation, with Lynn Williams and Lisa Clark. She went on to study at the Washington Ballet School and the Modern Dance Center. Tobin later attended the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA where she received her BFA in Modern Dance. While attending the University, she had the privilege of joining the Philadelphia Dance Company (PHILADANCO) where she benefited from the teachings of Pearl Primus, Denise Jefferson, Dolores Brown-Abelson, Pat Thomas, Milton Myers, and James Truitte and performed works by Louis Johnson, Gene Hill Sagan and Saeko Ichinohe. Following graduation, she attended the Martha Graham Center for Contemporary Dance, in New York City. She was awarded a full scholarship to their training program and was invited to join the Martha Graham Ensemble, now called Graham 2. As a member of the Ensemble, then directed by Yuriko Kikuchi, Tobin performed in Acts of Light, Heretic, Secular Games, and Diversion of Angels, where she danced the role of the dancer in Yellow. Her involvement with the Ensemble lead to work in independent projects for choreographers such as, Yung Yung Tsuai and Pearl Lang.
A series of performance opportunities lead to the launching of her freelance career in the Christian music industry as a dancer and choreographer that covers the span of eight years. As a solo dance artist she accompanied musical artists such as Steve Green, and Bill and Gloria Gaither. She performed and choreographed video projects for Ron Kenoly, and Cece Winans. She toured for five seasons with “The Young Messiah Tour” featuring Sandi Patti, Larnell Harris, Twila Paris and Steven Curtis Chapman to name a few. She staged, choreographed and designed/constructed the costumes for dancers on the Emmanuel tour. For four years Tobin was the Dance Coordinator for the Christian Artists’ Music Seminar in Estes Park, Colorado.
Tobin joined Störling Dance Theater, under the direction of Mona Störling-Enna, where she performed for ten years as a soloist and principal dancer in works such as, The Prodigal Daughter, Butterfly, Parable of the Sower, Suspended Grace and Underground. While still performing as a company member she was offered the position of Associate Artistic Director, a position she held for ten years. A passion for college students and a concern for low persistence rates led Tobin to pursue a Master’s Degree in Higher Education Administration, which will be completed in the spring of 2019.
Tobin, a full scholarship recipient for the NARB Craft of Choreography conference, has choreographed for Sight and Sound Theaters, The Continental Singers, Störling Dance Theater, and Dramatic Truth Ballet Theatre, and the Kansas City Youth Ballet. Her work, Bound to be Free was acquired by Philadanco after it was performed by company members for the choreographic showcase, “Danco on Danco”. She has had the privilege of Choreographing for Ballet Magnificat, who commissioned a work, in collaboration with the Mississippi Mass Choir, entitled God Gets the Glory. Tobin is honored to have had the privilege of collaborating with choreographer, Mona Störling-Enna, to create Störling Dance Theater’s production, Underground, chosen by critic Paul Horsley as one of the “Top 10 Performances of the Decade (2000-2009)”.
This wife and mother of four, in her spare time, is an Adjunct Professor for The University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Conservatory of Music and Dance, and modern dance faculty for The Kansas City Ballet School, Dramatic Truth School of the Arts and The Culture House Academy of Performing Arts. In 2013 she was invited to teach for the Southwest Festival of Regional Dance America and continues to teach for various organizations at workshops, and intensives.