Our Purpose

Black Arts Development Program

The Black Arts Development (BAD) Program consists of six sections that focus on Theatre and Film for Script Writers and Actors, Dance, Visual Arts, Media and Music. The two primary aspects of the BAD Program are training and mentorship. The Program was designed with the intent of providing emerging and pre-professional Black artists the tools and practical knowledge to take the next step in their artistic journey and generate an environment where African, Caribbean, and Black Diaspora culture can flourish in Calgary. 

Woezo Africa has partnered with arts organizations, institutions, universities, and businesses in Calgary to reform old systems and move into a place of renewed support that will help contribute to a thriving presence of Black Theatre, Film, Dance, Media, Music, and Visual arts in Calgary. Our ultimate goal is to acclimate and nurture the African Diaspora cache of creative artists to the performing and visual arts sector.

BADP_Wunmi WOEZO 2019-308

Why Apply For This Program?

The Black Arts Development (BAD) Program was created and designed with Black artists in mind by providing emerging artists the tools and practical knowledge to take the next step in their artistic journey. This free dance component of the BAD Program will be held in Calgary and invite five local and international guest dance artists to lead workshops and intensives for 40 African, Caribbean and Black participants ranging from five years of age to adults over three weeks from July 10 – 29, 2023. The instructors will be traveling from Africa (Rwanda), Trinidad and Tobago and the USA (Atlanta, Chicago and New York) bringing over their 20+ years of experience in African diasporic dance forms.

Guest Instructors

Wesley Ruzibiza – Germaine Acogny contemporary from Rwanda, West Africa

Imania Detry – Sabar Traditional and Mbalax (Senegal) from Chicago, USA

Kieron Sargeant – Caribbean Folk from Trinidad and Tobago

Akosua Akoto –  Coupé Décalé (Ivory Coast) from Atlanta, USA

Omari Wiles – Afrobeats –  Nigerian, Ghanaian, and South African Footwork from New York, USA


The benefits of this FREE program include:

  • Imparting the value and traditions of African dance forms to students through classes and workshops.
  • Build physical and mental well-being from exposure to dance.
  • Learn about the relationship between dancer and musician in a cultural context.
  • Deepen their understanding of the art form’s movement and music.
  • Successful applicants will be paid for the 3-Week Dance Intensive.
  • Empowered to share experiences with others and build personal networks.
  • Small class learning. 
  • Practical and applied skills.
  • Provide exposure to dance forms that parents or grandparents were raised with, but have since ceased to find a place in the Calgary landscape.
  • Enhance your professional dance career.

Admission Requirements

The 2nd iteration of the Black Arts Development Program will focus on creating spaces for African, Caribbean, and Black community members by supporting 40 emerging artists to learn and grow. No prior dance experience is required; however we are only accepting serious participants who are passionate about learning and growing as a professional artist. 

Program Eligibility

  • The BAD Program 3 Week Dance Intensive is for the African, Caribbean, and Black community members.
  • No prior dance experience required.
  • A $100.00 commitment fee will be required from successful candidates at the beginning of the workshop. This will be refunded upon successful completion of the workshop.
  • An additional $50 (Youth) and $100 (Adults) will be awarded to all candidates upon successful completion of the program.

Meet Our Instructors

For Akosua, traditional West African dance was ritual before it was performance and urban African dance styles were part of social gathering before they were an Instagram video. While the majority of movers are catching onto the trend of African dance styles one popular dance move at a time, Akosua uses dance language to shine a wider spotlight on African culture as a whole. A dance scholar, performer, choreographer, movement coach, and artistic director; Akosua is working to strike a balance between the commercial industry and the underground universe that is traditional African dance. 

Born and raised in Washington DC, Akosua is a product of Ghanaian culture, a traditional Senegalese ballet, and a hint of life in the Caribbean. She made her first appearance on stage at age 3. Her early work in choreography and dance instruction began at age 13 for a collection of after school programs in the Washington DC Metropolitan area. She taught her first adult West African dance class at age 15, an achievement that would jump start her career in choreography. Akosua’s undergraduate career at Howard University is a melting pot of both exercise science and an introduction to the world of modern and contemporary dance. An experience on which she bases unique strategies as a movement coach. 

She founded ASA! Enterprises in 2011 – an umbrella company covering ASA!, one of the first international African dance fitness programs,  a line of sport and dance apparel, a group fitness certification, the SBJ Dance and Mentorship program and the ASA! Body Personal Training Studio. She is also the co-founder of the Antigua-based carnival company, FUZE. She is an injury rehabilitation specialist and personal trainer with 4 national certifications, 2 degrees, and 10 years experience in the physical therapy and fitness industries. She has traveled the world as a performer and dance instructor gracing stages, TV screens, and studios across the United States, the Caribbean, the Middle East, and West Africa. She has worked with celebrities across cultures including Jidenna, Janet Jackson, Busta Rhymes, Machel Montano, Fally Ipupa and more. With every opportunity, Akosua moves from and through culture.

Wesley Ruzibiza artistic director and choreographer Major dancer and choreographer in Rwanda, artistic co-director of École des Sables – Sénégal, Founder of L’Espace Cultural center in Kigali, associated teacher at the research centre CPARC in Bordeaux – France, at National University of Rwanda, Muda Africa in Tanzania and various other professional training centres for dance. Simultaneously dancer, choreographer, comedian, trainer, stage director and artistic director of Amizero Kompagnie, Wesley distinguishes himself by his visionary and daring mind as well as by a professional network spread to all five continents.

Kieron Dwayne Sargeant was born in the twin island state, Trinidad and Tobago, the most southerly of the Caribbean Archipelago. He is an interdisciplinary artist, choreographer, drummer and dance researcher emerging out of the African-Caribbean Diaspora tradition. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Dance at Skidmore College NY.

Over the past 20 years, he has been involved in documenting, assessing, and analyzing dance traditions of the Caribbean and establishing a canon of dance teachings and workshops, informed by his research, to popularize the ancestral survival of movement traditions between the Circum-Caribbean and Western Africa.

Kieron’s artistic practice includes: translating sacred, cultural and spiritual practices, resulting in dance works for the concert and commercial stage.

Mr. Sargeant holds a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Dance Performance and Choreography from Florida State University, a Master of Arts (MA) in Community Dance Practice from Ohio University and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Dance from the University of West Indies. In 2020, he was awarded a place in the Helen Pickett Choreographic Essentials Program, received the FA Ada Belle Winthrop King Art Endowment Award (2019), and was also awarded a Dance Fellowship from UNESCO to South Africa (2020). 

Also in 2020, he founded and launched the Kieron Sargeant Dance and Dance Education Foundation of Trinidad and Tobago, which is a new platform for artists/dancers to nurture their creativity, inspire their environments, and empower themselves and the future of the arts industry in Trinidad and Tobago.

Imania Fatima Detry, one of Chicago’s own, performing and teaching artist with a concentration in West African Dance. 

With over 20 years of professional training and performance with Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago as a principle artist and as the Assistant Artistic Director of Ayodele Drum and Dance, she truly enjoys and works in the  efforts to preserve African dance and culture as well as share her current experiences and style in her teaching and performing. 

Her style and experiences have given her the opportunity to work with different artists and platforms including Chance the Rapper,Fatima Robinson, Fox Productions.. and more. Imania has currently been expanding on her choreography with fusing styles that include: Djembe and DounDance, Sabar , House, Chicago Footwork, Afrobeat and Afrobeats.

Ousmane Wiles is an African American West African and Vogue dancer. Wiles is best known as, legendary Omari NiNa Oricci, founder of The House of Nina Oricci [est. OCT. 2019] and Creative Director of LES BALLET AFRIK dance company.

Wiles was born in West Africa Senegal. He began his training in West African dance at the age of 6 years old, under the tutelage of his mother and father, who owned a dance company. Wiles joined his mother [Marie Basse Wiles] and father [BaBa Olukose Anthony Wiles] and became the assistant director of the family company, The Maimouna Ketia School of African Dance. 

Working with master African dancers, Ousmane evolved the skills needed to teach the art of traditional African dance. Venturing further into the world of dance, Wiles found himself learning, training and falling in love with other styles such as Hip-Hop, House, Modern, Jazz, and Vogue. 

Through his involvement with the ballroom scene, his love and passion for Vogue (dance) grew. As his notoriety in the ballroom scene grew, it began to grow outside of the ballroom scene as well. Wiles has had the opportunity to work with many artists, featuring his range of dance. 

His choreography has been featured with Janet Jackson, Beyoncé, John Legend, Jidenna, and Rashaad Newsome and he has worked as a featured dancer, showcasing Afrobeats [with Goldlink, Jidenna, Maleek Berry, and Wunmi], West African dance [with Janet Jackson, Beyoncé, and Forces], and Vogue [with Rashaad Newsome, Lady Gaga, Madonna, and Jennifer Hudson]. 

Wiles has been published in Dance Magazine “Top 25 to Watch”, Korean Vogue, British Vogue in a spread featuring Naomi Campbell, The Observer, Dance Mogul Magazine, and The New York Times. Wiles also appeared with his house [the house of Nina Oricci] as a contestant on Legendary Season 2 on HBOMax.

Wiles is now evolving his own style of dance with his company LES BALLET AFRIK, blending African, Vogue, Modern, and House as one. He and his company have performed at the Joyce Theater, the Guggenheim, and the New York Metropolitan Museum.

Image of the student group from 2022.

In July 2022 Woezo Africa concluded the BAD Program – 3 Week Dance Intensive. The dance component of the BAD Program was held in Calgary, Alberta. The program was offered to participants at no cost and they had the opportunity to train with:

  • Star Dixon | TAP
  • Enock “Brotha E” Kadima | Ndombolo/Hip Hop)
  • Akosua Akoto | Traditional Ivorian Rhythms
  • Willy Noir | Afro House
  • Mikhail “Venom” Morris | Dancehall

The instructors traveled from the Netherlands, USA (Denver, Chicago, Washington) and Vancouver, bringing their 20+ years of experience in African diasporic dance forms to Calgary. Woezo Africa was thrilled to create a space for 58 African, Caribbean and Black participants ranging from ages 5 – 57 years to gain insight into the historical and cultural context of dance movements and sequences in addition to the history associated with the dance genre.

Successful applicants received a total of $7,800.00 upon completion of the workshops.

Important Dates

Program ScheduleDates
Application opensMarch 1, 2023
Application closed June 16, 2023
Letter of admission for successful applicants for the
3-Week Dance Intensive
June 16-23, 2023
3-Week Dance Intensive beginsJuly 10, 2023
3-Week Dance Intensive endsJuly 29, 2023

Afro Urban Dance Workshops Vol. 8

A celebration & recognition of popular Afro-Diasporic dances that will allow you to delve deep into movements and education about African traditional, street, and social dances contributing to the urban setting of Calgary.

Part 1 - July 15, 2023
Part 2 - July 22, 2023
Part 3 - July 29, 2023

In 2021, the Theatre and Film section of the BAD Program trained 33 African, Caribbean and Black adult artists virtually between two cohorts with a focus on Script Writing and Acting support.  The Script Writing and Acting workshops served as an introductory course for up-and-coming playwrights and actors with ample collaborative opportunities between the virtual cohorts. The Black Arts Development Program teamed up with award-winning professional instructors Cheryl Foggo, Omatta Udalor from Calgary, Janelle Cooper and Fiona Clark from Toronto, and Jesse Lipscombe from Edmonton to offer 6 weeks (18 hours) of workshops. 

Successful applicants received a total of $16,500.00 upon completion of the workshops. The two script writing cohorts produced 10-min plays based on “the Black experience” with the aim of pitching and producing such scripts in collaboration with local theatre organizations in Calgary, using actors predominately sourced from the Program’s Acting workshop. 

Woezo Africa fostered connections with theatre companies in Calgary, Edmonton and Lethbridge.  Companies who publicly committed to the 35//50 Initiative and the pledge to supporting actions. This resulted in a minimum of 35% BIPOC and 50% women and gender variant folx in equitably paid, professional theatre industry positions by the conclusion of the 2024/2025 theatre season.

Why Should You Apply?



The Mentorship Program begins on January 9, 2023. This is a one year exclusive program that will support the development of five Calgary African, Caribbean and Black artists specializing in multiple artistic disciplines and arts leadership. This is the third iteration of the BAD Program. The last two iterations focused on providing training and support in Theatre, Film and Dance. Both were completed with great success. The Black Arts Development Program is now turning its attention to providing mentorship opportunities to:

  • increase the productivity of Black artists, artist producers, and arts managers in professional development.

  • develop the professionalism of local Black artists, artist producers, and arts managers so that they may increase their likelihood of career development and meaningful engagements.

  • promote the leadership potential of mentoring participants so that they may have ample opportunity to participate in local artistic leadership activities.

  • The participants will be partnered with an artist with an established career that will provide knowledge and guidance in their artistic discipline.

Woezo Africa is presenting this Mentorship Program in partnership with the Rozsa Foundation. An organization that supports artists with transformational arts leadership and management programs. Scholarships will be awarded to the five participants to the Rozsa Admin Fundamentals Training (RAFT) and Rozsa Arts Management Program (RAMP) Arts Leadership programs FREE of charge.

Woezo Africa is extending an invitation to you to apply to be one of the chosen participants. You will be mentored by a notable artist as a mentor in your discipline for a full year. You will receive guidance and support in areas you need help in. You will also receive mentorship in creating your next project. Join the 2023 BAD Mentorship Program.


The Mentorship Program will consist of:

  • 4 hours per month from January 2023 – December 2023 with your mentor.
  • Scheduled meetings to suit your availability during the 12 month Mentorship Program.
  • Participate in the RAFT and RAMP Arts Leadership programs.
  • Complete accumulated assignments toward your artistic goals.
  • Meetings will be in-person if both mentee or mentor living in Calgary, or virtual via Zoom if Mentor lives outside of Calgary. 
  • Compensation for the mentees will be $1200/year for the 12 months commitment. 

Who Can Apply?

Application Requirements & Eligibility

The BAD Mentorship Program will focus on supporting 5 emerging and professional African, Caribbean, and Black community artists of multiple artistic disciplines. Artist must be over 18 years of age. You must have a minimum of 3 years dedication to your art via performances, completed projects, training etc. An application form MUST be submitted.

Note: Woezo Africa is only accepting applicants who are serious, committed, and passionate about learning and growing as a professional artist.


  • The BAD Mentorship Program is for the African, Caribbean, and Black community members.
  • Must have at least 3 years experience in your chosen Artistic discipline.

Important Dates

*Rozsa Foundation Arts Leadership programs are online and in-person

Program ScheduleDates
Application opensSeptember 23, 2022
Application closed October 28, 2022
Letter of admission for successful applicants for the
Mentorship Program 
November 4, 2022
Mentorship Program beginsJanuary 9, 2023
Mentorship Program endsDecember 29, 2023
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