The Afro Continuum Cultural Exchange Initiative

 

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Urban Artistry Inc. Presents: The Afro Continuum Cultural Exchange Initiative.
The Afro Continuum Cultural Exchange Initiative is a diasporic family reunion that is grounded in holding space for ethnic specificity, amplifying living traditions, and embracing the connection and continuation of arts in multiple local and global communities. Despite centuries of efforts to break, erase, and devalue ancestral traditions throughout the African diaspora, this Urban Artistry, Inc. initiative connects a global network of organizations and artist-educators to decolonize and unlearn the myth of a monolithic Black Aesthetic.
Through dialogue, workshops, panel discussions, and exchanges, tradition bearers insist that when linguistic, regional, ethnic, and communal specificities are shared, Black Excellence- the vastness of its complexity will continue ad infinitum.
Be sure to head over to follow @theafrocontinuum to stay updated on all that is to come!

Classes Offered

Directorate Lead

Junious Brickhouse

jlbrickhouse@urbanartistry.org

Junious “House” Brickhouse is an internationally established educator, choreographer and cultural preservationist with over 30 years of experience in Urban Dance Culture. Born in Virginia Beach, VA, his dance training began at family gatherings dancing the funk styles of the era. Growing up, he sought out all the learning opportunities available to him, from community centers to parking lots, where young people were teaching each other and building communities around urban
mentor in those communities, serving to educate and guide others. At age 18, Junious embarked on an over 21-year career as a Logistics Professional in the U.S. Army and later as a Department of Defense contractor. Throughout this time in various international assignments, Junious developed both a military and dance career, eventually rising to positions of leadership and responsibility in both areas. As the Founding Executive Director of Urban Artistry Inc. (www.urbanartistry.org), Junious has inspired and
dedicated to the authentic preservation of urban dance culture, specifically within communities of practice. As Urban Artistry’s Executive Director, Junious produces projects such as The International Soul Society Festival, The Preservatory and the UA Digital Archives to encourage other artists to research and document these tradition bearers and their stories. As a scholar/practitioner, Junious teaches at colleges and universities, using an experiential approach to teach urban dance movement and the cultural context from which it evolves. A citizen folklorist, Junious also conducts independent research into those cultural traditions whose influence is reflected in urban dance culture. From ring shouts and acoustic country blues to hip hop, understanding the nature and meaning of these art forms and their influences, is what motivates this artist.

Junious is also the Director of Next Level, an innovative hip hop and cultural diplomacy program of the Department of State, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Meridian International Center. From joining as an artist in the first cohort of the program to becoming Associate Director and now Director, Junious brings his expertise in urban dance culture and conflict transformation to the forefront of
international exchange and diplomacy.

Directorate Staff

Pati Rivera, Afro-Latinx Cultural Exchange Lead

Patricia Elisa Rivera “Patty” is an Afro-Latina educator, social scientist, dancer who is passionate about the connections between art and activism.  Her first contact with dance was during her youth in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Patty first joined Urban artistry in 2008 and since has trained in urban styles of dance in the U.S, Dominican Republic, and Brazil. A founding member, instructor, and choreographer of DC Casineros, she has been dancing, performing, and teaching Cuban popular dances and Afro Cuban for the past 10 years both nationally and internationally. She began her training in Afro Cuban dance during her undergraduate studies at George Mason University with Jim Lepore and has continued under the guidance of Sergio Hechavarria, Oscar Rousseux Pons, Danys “La Mora” Perez, Kati Hernández, Duane Wrenn, and Jorge Luna Roque. During her Fulbright studies and postgraduate studies in Brazil, Patty studied Afro Brazilian dances, Orixas, and Silvestre technique while dancing as a member of the company Dembaia and Aguasalá. With a Phd in Social Science Patty is always seeking new avenues of ways to incorporate dance within efforts focused on education and social justice. 

Jamima Angulu, Nigerian Cultural Exchange Lead

Jemima Talatu Angulu Aka Mima is a Dancer, Choreographer and Artistic Director and Founder of The Krump Dance Studios Abuja. She works as a Dance Consultant as well as producer focused on creating programs and building creative structures for organizations.

As a choreographer, she infuses her Knowledge of Hip-hop and other Contemporary dance styles to tell stories through her productions and has worked with various creative artists and organizations such as Dike Chukwumerije, Davido, Clarence Peters, The American Embassy Nigeria, The French Institute Nigeria, The German Embassy.

Her training background includes Nigerian cultural dances, Ballet, Jazz, Salsa, Hip-hop, and contemporary dance. Mima is also a graduate of the ISVP program at the Broadway Dance Center New York, a Graduate of Entrepreneurial Management at The Pan Atlantic University Nigeria, A Next Level Global Alumni, and a recipient of the Arts in Public Space Culture Program. As a producer, her work includes Grease “The Naija Mix;” For the Love of Hip-Hop, Love and Jazz; Omo Naija Expressions of the Soul; Texture; and Abuja the Musical. She is also the Initiator of “Creative Connect,” a creative learning experience class and Krump Studios’ “contemporary Dance incubator,” a project for building young contemporary dancers in the city of Abuja.

For her, the Krump Dance Studios is a place to be inspired, to create, to train, and where dance is used as a tool to change lives. She spends her time teaching and working with youth using dance as her tool for community development. Jemima is also a group fitness instructor and the Creator of Krump Fitness and has hosted and designed several group fitness programs and mentored several fitness trainers. Jemima was also The National Director for Special Duties on the Guild of Dancers Nigeria.

Krump Dance Studios
https://mimaangulu.blogspot.com/2019/10/krump-studios-profile.html

The Krump Dance Studios was founded by Jemima Angulu in 2011 as an organization with initiatives focused on Dance as tool for change and wellbeing. The vision of Krump Studios is to equip and produce refined dancers with world-class equivalence and bring the culture of dance and dance fitness to individuals, homes and organizations in Nigeria and the world with uniqueness and virtue. Krump also provides a Space for Dancers and creatives alike, Performances, Creative Collaborations, Dance training sessions, Group dance Fitness sessions and creative projects and solutions. For over 9 years The Krump Dance Studios has been a home and foundation for many dancers, choreographers, creatives and fitness lovers from various parts of the Nigeria and the world.

 

Directorate Instructors

Kati Hernández

From Cuba, Kati Hernández brings her explosive, joyous energy to the American stage and classroom. Her attention to detail and versatility reveal her mastery of dance and choreography, making her a highly sought after educator and performer, nationally and internationally.

 Kati grew up surrounded by the rhythms and spoken language of the drums from her Afro-Cuban culture. At the rigorous School of Art, she studied folkloric, popular and modern dance as well as ballet, choreography, composition and staging. Her earliest performances were with the Havana International Jazz Festival in the company of Cuban stars such as Bobby Carcases and Chucho Valdés, and the Havana Biennial with Afro-Cuban icon Mercedita Valdéz and visual artist Manuel Mendive.

Kati’s international journey began when she toured Spain with the celebrated timba bands Manolito Simonet y Su Trabuco. After completing her education. Kati’s fiery style won her an invitation to tour with Cuban productions in Portugal, The Bahamas and Costa Rica, where she resided for five years. There, she refined her teaching and choreography, and grew into acting and television dance and choreography. Kati also volunteered, teaching dance to children and young women in impoverished communities throughout Central America, empowering them to use dance as a medium for expressing emotions, experiences, hopes, and dreams.

Following this period of touring and teaching, Kati moved to California where she has developed her profound commitment to preserve and promote Afro-Cuban culture by producing regular events and teaching workshops that create cross-cultural community. She is the artistic director of her dance company Kimbambula Cuban dance and Music Ensemble. And the  co-founder artistic director of KimBamBula Productions which produces the annual “Essence of Cuba,” a reunion of Afro-Cuban masters in Los Angeles that includes members of the renowned group Los Muñequitos de Matanzas, along with Unite State  finest Cuban folkloric masters. Kati recently created one of her dream projects, “Isupo Irawo,” an ensemble of Afro-Cuban masters from around the world that features maestro Lázaro Galarraga, a founding member of Conjunto Folklorico de Cuba. The maestro has been a lifelong inspiration for Kati, and more recently a mentor to her. Their latest work together includes performances at the Esalen International Music and Dance Festival and opening for renowned Brazilian Jazz percussionist Airto Moreira, at Avila Beach on the California coast. University of Oregon in Eugene. 

In her hometown of Los Angeles Kati has served as lead choreographer  for Afro-Cuban jam sessions at the Ford Theatre where she has also co-hosted dance workshops with the acclaimed Afro-Cuban rock band, Síntesis. More recently, Kati was artistic director for the joint production “Cuba Antes y Ahora,” a series of dance and music workshops with visiting Cuban artists at Grand Park and the Getty Museum – Kati. She also presented her Dance company KimBamBula at the Skirball Museum. Also had choreographed and performed in musical videos. Including “Un poquito de amor every day” with world renown Colin Hay and San Miguel Perez. 

With boundless energy and knowledge.  Kati guests teach dance classes and lectures at colleges, universities and dance studios around the country. She continues to tour, bringing her Afro-Cuban dynamite to national folkloric and Salsa dance conferences. Her reverential propagation of the roots of Cuban culture motivated her  to create her national acclaimed dance program Oricha dance Therapy. Bringing empowerment and healing  through the reach Afro-Cuban dance diaspora. That joins Afro-Timba, part of her pioneering repertoire, a dance fitness program that she co -founded and actively tours.

Kati flows between public and academic venues. She has worked with dance and music departments like UCIrvine, University of Oregon, Pomona College where she choreographed and performed the dance installation “Fire” that was directed by Judith Davis. Kati also choreographed a piece for Santa Monica College’s dance company Global Motion. Additionally, Kati has participated in the Esalen Institute’s summer festival where she performed a tribute piece for the legendary Afro-Cuban master percussionist Francisco Aguabella; it was also here that she workshopped and birthed her popular Oricha dance therapy program. 

 Kati is known for her uniquely uplifting and intuitive teaching techniques, her vibrant energy and sabor on the dance floor. Her unforgettable work is a true illustration of her heritage and an endless celebration of Cuban dance and music.

Adrian Valdivia

Director of DC Casineros, Adrian has been dancing and performing SonCasino, and other popular Cuban dances for 10 years. He has also been teaching classes infused with Afro-Cuban dance for the past four years. He won first place in the couple’s competition in Miami Rueda congress of 2009. Adrian has traveled nationally and internationally to participate and to teach in the major Rueda de Casino and Afro-Cuban dance conferences. Along with DC Casineros, he has performed and taught locally, nationally, and internationally at prestigious and popular venues, conferences, and congresses including: the Kennedy Center, Smithsonian, DC Salsa Congress, San Francisco, New York, Miami and Atlanta Rueda Congresses, and the Nicaragua Salsa Congress.

MTV 3 Latino recently featured Adrian and his partner and Director Amanda Gill talk about Casino as a Cuban Popular dance in the DC area.

Adrian and DC Casineros also brought the critically acclaimed All Stars Dance Company from Santiago de Cuba, and collaborated on a 1 and a half hour production in DC.

Born in Venezuela, Adrian grew up in a family of dancers and musicians, which heavily influenced his love for the arts. Adrian currently trains under the guidance of Afro-Cuban dance Masters Duane Wrenn, Kati Hernandez, Yudisleidy Valdes, Jorge Luna Roque, Yoel Marrero, Oscar Rousseaux and Aramis Pazos. He teaches Son, Casino and Rueda de Casino, rumba at beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. His casino style emphasizes the power and intricacies of Son, Rumba, and at times Orisha dances.