All of your certified ASA! Instructors have at least 3 years’ experience as African dancers, dancer instructors and professional performers. Through the 3-5 month training process they have gained knowledge in basic biomechanics, anatomy, musicology, dance history, health and wellness and the ASA! technique. Each instructor holds a CPR/AED certification and is capable of maintaining a safe and fun exercise environment.
ASA!'s Director of Certification, and Assistant director for ASA! Kelenya. She began her professional dancing career at the precious age of 5 in New York City under the auspices of Marie Basse Wiles, founder and director of Maimouna Keita School of West African. She currently performs and teaches with the D.C. based company, Farafina Kan. Teaching internationally as a Master certified ASA! instructor, ASA! has recently come to take its rightful place inside her dance career.
Dr. Fofie Akoto
Assistant to the president for ASA! Enterprises, Manager and Booking Agent for ASA! Kelenya, and ASA! Enterprises Medical Advisor. Dance has been a part of her life for as long as she can remember and the art of performance began at age 7. Sometime later, the desire for broader understanding and the skills to heal magnified inspiring an enduring journey to medical school as a single mother, dancer, choreographer, entrepreneur and all around community developer. Since graduating from Meharry Medical College with an M.D., she has been working as an internal medicine physician in Atlanta Georgia.
Sunmolu, the 2012 ASA! Marathon champion in the category of longest whine, and lead performer for ASA! Kelenya, is a Master Certified instructor from the DC Metropolitan area. A mom, education consultant, and professional dancer, she was motivated to become an ASA! instructor after finding joy, discipline and freedom in the program.
A lifelong dancer, I began my training in classical ballet. Ever the omnivore, my interests led me to Graham, Middle Eastern Folkdance, modern, Afro-Cuban and dance traditions from across The Diaspora. In college, I fell in love with African dance while learning traditional rhythms from Senegal and Guinea. Becoming a part of the ASA! Movement as both certified instructor and lead performer for ASA! Kelenya is a fusion of that passion and an ever-growing desire to learn new styles and techniques.
Dance, health and fitness, and African culture are a large part of my life, so naturally I fell in love with ASA! I am a lifelong dancer and health enthusiast. As a wife and working mother of 5 children, ASA! has been my "release" from the daily "have-to"s. It gives me energy, feeds my spirit, and is the best workout I've ever experienced in my life. I was so inspired by the ASA! movement, that I too wanted to become an instructor, so that I could share it with the world.
Born and raised in Detroit, MI, at age 10, she stepped onto the dance floor, and hasn't left it since. A graduate of Howard University with a B.A. in African Studies, she has lived in the DC area for nearly 15 years. As a student, Lesina was a co-founder of Nsaa Dance Ensemble, the campus' first African diasporic arts organization. Her love for African music and dance has taken her to West Africa, South America and all accross the United States. Currently,Lesina is a member of Farafina Kan performing company and co-director of the Junior company.
She has performed professionally for more than 20 years, continuing the cultural and musical path of her family as a dynamic dancer, singer, educator and performing artist of Manding traditions. The 150th generation of the Kouyate lineage of her father, Diali Dimo Kouyate, Bintou performs with Fara fina Kan, Memory of African culture, the Manding griot Ensemble and teaches children and adults for various community organizations.
Donovan is a native of College Park, Georgia. He received his training and BFA from Howard University under the direction of the late Dr. Sherrill Berryman Johnson. He has performed with numerous companies and choreographers including Kankouran West African Dance Company, Ronald K. Brown/Evidence, A Dance Company, Camille A. Brown and Dancers and choreographs independent works. Mr. Herring is currently working with Black Grace dance company in Auckland, New Zealand.
Krystle Brown fell in love with West African dance in 2003 as she started to take classes with Sankofa Dance Theatre in Baltimore, MD. Krystle has performed with many premier dance companies in Baltimore, yearly company showcases, and several public school and community events. The spiritual nature of the movements and the symbiotic relationship African dance has with the drums made Krystle gravitate and appreciate this form of dance. Krystle’s love and respect for this form of artistry reaches all that have taken her classes
A New Orleans native, Zakiya received her B.A. from Dillard University in Business Management. As a New Orleans-based independent artist, she performed with several African dance and drum companies. Zakiya served as a teaching artist for 5 years with Young Audiences of Louisiana. Zakiya earned an MFA degree in Dance at Temple University. Zakiya has taught traditional and contemporary African dance classes across the country. Zakiya current research and studio practice, investigates women of African descent healing and spiritual practices
Tosha “T. Ayo” Alston, Brooklyn made her but Chicago claims her. She’s been in the spotlight since the age of 5; dancing, acting, singing, and drumming. T. After 10 years of developing her quintessential style with Muntu Dance Theater of Chicago; in 2008 T. Ayo founded Ayodele Drum and Dance community to foster a safe space for women and children to study and perform African, Contemporary and Afro Brazilian dance and music styles. Ayo continues to educate students in dance and music from the African Diaspora at various arts establishments in Chicago.
Dzifa Richards Jones resides in Atlanta, Georgia with her three children. Raised in New York, she started dancing and performing with Marie Brooks Caribbean dance theatre at age 3, where she studied West African, Dunham technique and Ballet. During her years at Howard University she danced with Memory of African Culture and then Injabulo Leta when she relocated to Atlanta. She has served as co-founder and principle dancers for various companies in Atlanta, GA. She has also taught both African dance and a prenatal dance movement class locally and internationally. As a Pediatric Physicians Assistant and Holistic Birth Doula she is passionate about health and wellness.
have nurtured a love for African culture and dance since my early years. Performing in various small productions, I learned to appreciate the creativity, art, and expression that is dance. Upon acceptance at Howard University, I quickly joined the campus’ traditional West African dance group, Nsaa African Dance and Drum ensemble. Growing in experience and exposure, I served as Artistic Director of the ensemble my Senior year. In this role I choreographed for both on and off-campus performances as well as the ensemble’s spring concert production. A proud Atlanta native, I currently reside in Detroit, Michigan where I have performed professionally in two major West African dance production
William “Addae” Lawrence III began his dance training at the Nashville School of the Arts. He continued studying dance and theatre at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN where he received a B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus in Dance and Theatre. He has traveled to South Africa and Ghana, West Africa for student exchange programs to study drum and dance in the African culture. He has been a part of Hayiya West African Dance Ensemble, Found Movement Group and Dayton Contemporary Dance 2nd Company under the direction of Shonna Hickman-Matlock. Currently he is living in Nashville, TN performing with Sankofa Drum and Dance Ensemble.
Dara moved from ASA! fanatic to ASA! instructor and is the first recipient of the ASA! Certification Scholarship. She praises ASA! for introducing her to the magic of dance and its incredible ability to nurture the whole self and empower one to push beyond expectations. A native of Philadelphia (PA), with a B.S. in Psychology and a Master’s in Education, she’s known for her expertise in creating out-of-the-box learning experiences that inspire youth and adults. Whether it’s at a dance studio, wellness event, or private fitness session, Dara brings ASA! to those who are moved by music and desire to explore the strength and joys that come with dance.
A native Washingtonian, I began training in and performing dance at 8 years old, and over the course of the next four decades, wound my way through modern, jazz, some ballet, martial arts (tae kwan do and later ju jitsu), cheerleading, stepping, and Latin Dances (street not ballroom). Informally, there was club training in DC Go-Go, House, Atlanta bass, Hip Hop, Reggae, and most recently Soca and contemporary incarnations of Afrobeat. Professionally, I pursued a career in Education and founded various dance program outlets for the youth, but never stopped dancing. A lifelong dance and workout enthusiast, I came to ASA! timidly in 2012 with a multiple joint arthritic crisis unfolding in my body but continued to push through my training into the instructor levels