Linda Faye Johnson is respectfully known as "Sister Linda" West African Dance Pioneer/Cultural Educator:  Ms. Johnson is recognized as one of the foremost exponents of traditional music and dance education in the Bay Area. For more than forty years she has directed and choreographed music and dance ensembles, extending her Ambassadorship worldwide to venues in South Africa, Senegal, Jamaica, Trinidad, St. Croix, Brazil, and Europe.

 

 

She has performed professionally with internationally recognized Entertainers such as Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield, Patti La Belle and Melba Moore and Grammy award winning Artists Donnie McClurkin and Yolanda Adams. "Sister Linda" established the first West African dance training program at Everybody’s Creative Arts/Alice Arts Center, now known as Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts in Oakland, CA (1981-Present).

 

She's a three-time Oakland Tribune Newspaper Spotlight Awardee Creative Arts Fellowship Award recipient for choreography and Isadora Duncan Dance Award for Dance and Choreography with Bay Area Pioneering Dance Company Ballet Sabá.

 

“With more than 40 years as a Multi-cultural International Performer, Linda Faye Johnson has transformed her experiences as a Dance Artist/Choreographer to the realms of Education and Humanitarianism.” ~Dance Spirit Dance

 

Nimatoulaye Camara was raised in a famous family of dancers and musicians and began dancing and singing at a very young age in Conakry, Guinea. She was principal dancer for Guinea’s National Company, “Les Ballets Africans,” and toured the world with them for more than 20 years. Ms. Camara also held the position of Premier Danseur in the National Ballet of Guineau for an unusually long term of eleven years. One of her responsibilities as Premier Danseu was the training, supervision, and leadership of other dancers. She performed with the Ballet all over the continent of Africa, as well as in Europe, Asia, and America. She was also a founding member, lead percussionist, and dancer for Les Amazones du Guinee, the first all-female percussion and dance ensemble in Sub-Saharan Africa. Currently, she is the Dance Director and choreographer for Nimba Dance and Drum Company, which she runs with her husband, percussionist Mangue Sylla.  She is one of the most sought after West African dance teachers in NYC and continues to perform and give master classes locally and abroad.

 

Ryan OG Riz Graz Greenidge was born and resides in Brooklyn NY.  Ryan began drumming at the age of 3.  He continued his passion for the arts and was recruited into his 1st professional performing company (Indoda Entsha Society) at the age of 12.  At 14 he taught his 1st drum class.  He has played with many known African Dance Companies, Ballets & Dance Groups such as Djoule African, Ayolawa, Kowteff, Asase Yaa and many different Dance schools and classes in NY and the states. Ryan Currently drums with Asase Yaa and is also an independent arts educator.  He has traveled all over the world (Caribbean, Asia, Europe) teaching and sharing the culture he has to offer. Brother Ryan also makes annual trips the Guinea West Africa to enhance his skills and talents.  Ryan is a great person to learn from as he understands the academics of the drum..He has helped many to understand the root of this culture and has demonstrated his talents on numerous occasions.  He has a great knowledge of the Guinean style drum and dance and loves to share his experiences.

Sekou "Tepaka Lunda" Conde an accomplished and devoted artist has garnered much critical acclaim and respect for his approach to the ancient music of West Africa. Throughout his life, he has learned very valuable lessons from Masters from Africa and America. Though born in the United States, Sekou is a descendant of the Conde Family of the Siguiri Providence in Guinea West Africa.

 

His achievements range from teaching worldwide, performing with touring companies of Guinea West Africa; self produced 5 original recordings of Traditional and original compositions, appearing on 3 episodes of the hottest sitcom on

National Television "EMPIRE", and "SOUTH SIDE WITH YOU" (The Barack and Michelle Obama movie).

 

Mr. Conde, inspired by his Father, began drumming around the age of 4. Thus, Sekou was propelled into a professional career at a young age with Muntu Dance Theater of Chicago, where he became assistant musical director, program manager and now

Executive Director.

 

Moreover, Conde established The Djembekan School of Percussion, in Memphis TN, Co-founded Bamana African Drum and Dance Ensemble, even creating a school of West African Percussion in Chicago and Kansas City MO entitled “Kafolike School of

Percussion, where he teaches the intricately delicate, and ancient music of the Malinke people of  West Africa.

 

The intrinsic discipline and vast knowledge that Sekou has amassed vis-à-vis the dialectical process of impassioned learning and teaching, has taken his abilities to new heights, increasing his cultural devotion to the traditional African value system.

Sekou continues to lecture and perform around the globe, sharing the importance of traditional West African culture to audiences and young people world wide.

Funmilayo Chesney was born in Brazil and grew up in Guyana. Funmilayo traveled extensively to Nigeria and Ghana, where she lived and studied dance for three years. She also visited the Congo - the motherland of her ancestors.


In 1987 to 1992 she was a member of the only traditional Congolese dance company in New York City, Malaki MA Congo. 
Funmilayo have been teaching Congolese Dance for close to 20 years in New York City and is the director of F.U.S.H.A. Dance Company founded in 1995. In 1996 she won the Ethnic Dance Award for best African dance instructor. 


Funmilayo has also studied Ballet, Modern, Tap, Sabar, Guinean, Haitian, Afro-Cuban, Afro-Brazilian, Dahome, and Dunham.  She is employed by the Department of Education where she teaches ethnic dance to pre k through 12th grades in the artist in residence program. 
Funmilayo realized that the ancient dance of the Congolese people, combined with the genius creations of their descendants have shaped the musical culture of many music and dance styles in the diaspora i.e., Samba, Salsa, Hip Hop, Reggae, Calypso, Cassav, Jazz, Hawaiian, Belly Dance, the Electric Slide, and even Michael Jackson's "Moonwalk".  She became inspired to form Fusha Dance Company to empower and educate people on the healing powers of dance and to celebrate the richness of dance and culture from Africa and the diaspora.


Congolese dance is a healing dance that Funmilayo refers to as "medicine dance" movements for healing the womb and prostate through music vibrations ad pelvic rotation.

 
Jamaica AfricanDance Arts&CultureFestival

Teaching Artists

Khalidah Kali is founder and artistic director of Khalidah's North African dance Experience, Inc; (a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization). Khalidah is an internationally renowned dancer and choreographer, conducting workshops and company tours throughout the United States; Certified Health Coach, Certified Kemetic Yoga Teacher, Certified Zumba Teacher, pursuing BA/MA of Arts in Holistic Natural Health & Nutrition; also presenting annual-professional discussion panels on domestic violence and breast cancer awareness, and has volunteered over 300 hours at LaRabida's Children's Hospital in Chicago as "Feeder/Rocker". Khalidah has dedicated her life to the art of dance, and has studied and taught dance for many years. During this time, Khalidah has traveled extensively throughout Africa, the Middle East, and India, and has seen/traveled over 31 countries!  Most recently, Khalidah traveled to Turkey and Brasil to study and perform dances of these areas as part of an International dance collective.   Khalidah executes, exquisitely, beautiful movements, clearly, concisely, and soulfully in instruction and performance with peacefulness and positivity, and with an ageless beauty!

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