Daina Shukis received a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Dance/Drama from New York University as well as studying voice and specialized in writing her own musical and vocal accompaniment for her choreography. As a dance accompanist at Skidmore College, Daina choreographed and wrote music for their dance group, as well as studied piano with Impressionist specialist Professor Housman and later with Julia Ryauskas in New Jersey. She brought the Skidmore dance group to her Alma Mater Emma Willard School. She directed the production of the William Butler Yeats play “Only Jealousy of Emer ” at Skidmore, where she met Don Alias, Gene Perla and Jeremy Steig when they performed with Elvin Jones at a concert. These friendships lasted many years and their support of her music and dancing career influenced the albums and videos presented on this website.
You may remember Stuart Klines View of Culture in his New York City News cast. Daina can be seen dancing at the Port Said where she was house dancer for many years. Prior she danced at the Egyptian Gardens and later other notable clubs in the New York area as well as Ft. Lauderdale and the West Coast. These clubs brought the best musicians from the Middle East to perform in New York and her love of Greek, Turkish and Arabic music shows in some of her writing and performances. She also had a great love for the art of ballet and took class regularly at the American Ballet Center in New York City and studied with Mellisa Hayden, Ola Fatum and Elizabeth Carrol at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. She studied Baharata Natyam with Sukanya the daughter of the famed Indian dancer Indrani, African Dancing with the great performer and teacher Chuck Davis, Modern dance with Paul Sanasardo, Arlene Laube and Stuart Hodes. Her choreographic piece danced to her own music and the improvisation of Jeremy Steig and Eddie Gomez, “Tlalocs Forest, Cocoon into Butterfly” was shown on cable TV on occasion.
Daina has sung for “Sesame Street” animations for children’s television and performed for many years with her own band “Daina and the Tribe” in the New York City area at such notable clubs as the Bottom Line (opening for James Cotton), The Lone Star (opening for Jaco Pastorious), CBGB’s and many others. Her song “Long John Silver” was incorporated into a play at the La Mama theatre in which Daina had a role as “Baby Doll”and choreographed the presentation. The Villager newspaper stated ” Great Double Bill at La Mama”. She was assaulted and severely injured and was not able to continue her career. On the road to recovery she is still composing and more recently performed her one woman 3 1/2 hr Patsy Cline tribute with originals on guitar and piano at the end of every set. She has produced 5 albums from her vintage catalogues, one instrumental album, “Mystic Rendezvous” instrumental Daina and the Tribe, on which Daina plays impressionist compositions on synthesizer. New material is in the works for the late fall. On a recently released album “Dance Of the Spirits, Daina’s Tribe” are live audio recordings of the exciting singers Judy Niemack and Carolyn Coppolla who performed with Daina and the Tribe on occasion. Her latest album “Smooth and Jazzy”, a compilation of favorite songs and new material fresh from the studio, as well as “On a Jungle Boat Ride” are being aired on Pandora radio and she has 2 stations Daina and the Tribe radio and Daina Shukis radio. She has gained recognition abroad as a featured artist on Johnbc radio and is aired on the renown Tom Lamberts “Independent Music Station”. she has been keeping her no 1 status on Reverbnations local charts and her new single “Babylon Is Burning” is climbing the charts on coast2coast fm. You can request her on West Coast Radio’s Ministry of Rock with Reverend St John. Her first album “Daina and the Tribe Live from Soundscape with Jeremy Steig and CBGB’s power trio” was in the artist spotlight for the 13th annual IMA awards.
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