nice to meet you
nice to meet you
Wunmi Idowu is an accomplished dancer, choreographer, instructor, performer, and producer and the Founder and Director of Woezo Africa Music & Dance Theatre Inc. Wunmi began performing traditional dance styles at the age of 3 in her hometown of Lagos, Nigeria. Moving to Alberta in 1992, she continued immersing herself in the African dance community in Edmonton and Calgary. Ignited by the absence of African Diaspora history in public school curriculum, Wunmi decided to influence change by using the galvanizing capability of the arts. For her, the Canadian performing arts industry was an avenue to help build community capacity and leadership, disrupt colonial illusions, and empower the youth in their cultural identity ensuring that she didn’t forget or leave behind her heritage as a Nigerian. Prior to establishing Woezo Africa, she worked with performing arts groups Wajjo drummers and Kekeli dancers, Nigerian Okoto Dance Troupe, C-Stylz Dancers, Afrikanata Dancers, and Asante Dance Troupe. She continues to share her passion for African culture and dance through performances and classes in the dance styles of Afrobeats, Afro Fusion and traditional African dances such as Coupé Décalé and Ndombolo.
As a recent graduate from the Haskayne School of Business Arts Management program with the Rosza Foundation, Wunmi has gone on to receive several awards. In 2016, Wunmi won an award for People’s Choice Performing Arts in the category of Dancer at the Obsidian Awards in Alberta. In addition, 2017 and 2018 mark major milestones in Wunmi’s career as the inauguration of Alberta’s first Black History Month was achieved through the backing of Woezo Africa. Her most recent achievements consist of a nomination for the 2020 Doug and Lois Mitchell Outstanding Calgary Artist Award and the 24th Annual Immigrants of Distinction Award for the Arts & Culture category.
Born and raised in Zimbabwe, Nyasha Nyamaka discovered her passion for dance while immersing herself in a street dance crew in 2009. Initially focused on hip-hop and funk styles, Nyasha later fell in love with KRUMP upon moving to Calgary in 2012. With Calgary-based KRUMP collective, Empirical Freedom, she performed & trained locally, travelled to Montreal and Germany to expand her training and compete in tournaments and participated in the collective’s local event, FIFTY HYPE. Nyasha began nurturing her love for African dance when she became a company dancer for Woezo Africa Music & Dance Theatre in 2016. Through her diverse experiences with African vernacular dance and Black originated dance expressions, Nyasha hopes to be a part of the global movement that connects dance movement cultures both on the African continent and in the diaspora.
Mpoe Mogale is Black and Queer; reigning from Lebowakgomo, South Africa. Amongst many other things they do, they are a professionally trained dancer, currently with Decidedly Jazz Dance’s Professional Training Program and Woezo Africa Music and Dance Theatre Inc. As a Choreographer and Dance Artists for Woezo Africa, Mpoe is most excited to be in a space where they can be their authentic self, as well as gain knowledge and skills in a variety of African dance styles through regular training.
Mpoe has curated several shows including an arts-based research project titled “The Representation of Blackness in Edmonton’s Arts.” Utilizing art as a means to not only understand themselves but also the world around them, Mpoe’s creations tend to cast a mirror upon (Canadian) society, allowing for a space wherein we can reconsider the myths we have existed within—particularly as it pertains to race and gender.
Born in Nigeria, Sarah Uwadiae remembers a childhood filled with modern and traditional dance performances in church and school. Her Theatre Arts degree at Redeemer’s University introduced her to different Nigerian cultures and dance styles. The experience allowed her to engage in/launch into culturally rooted dance styles like Bata, Bagadry dance and Atilogu. At the university, she was a member of the Davidic Dance Crew where she performed modern Afrobeat and Hip-hop for 3 years. In Canada, her passion for movement led her to join Woezo Africa, where she quickly resonated with the practice and purpose of learning, embodying and promoting authentic African dance culture in the community. She is proud and grateful to be a part of Woezo Africa’s journey.
Cindy Ansah is a dance artist and emerging choreographer based in Mohkinstsis (colonially known as the City of Calgary). Dance, movement and art has intrigued Cindy since living in her hometown of Toronto, planting the seed for her artistic pursuits. Cindy is currently embarking on her final year of study in the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance degree at the University of Calgary where she passionately seeks to expand her creative horizons with multidisciplinary collaboration. In pursuit of shifting the canon and discourse within the arts, Cindy has ventured into writing and dance journalism having her work featured on The Dance Current, Springboard Performance and Alberta Dance Alliance platforms. In her role as Dance Artist for Woezo Africa, Cindy hopes to instill sustained recognition of diverse histories and perspectives, making space for bodies and beings often relegated to the margins. Additionally, by situating herself amongst driven Black artists in the company, she aims to continue committing to a grade of unapologetic Blackness that readily informs, inspires, centers and directs the art she creates.
As an artist, creative and dancer Cindy recognizes that her life is driven by movement; it heals, educates and is the very foundation for catalyzing change. Cindy intends to employ this resource to help her community do the same.
Bolu Oloyede started his dance journey in 2005 after being influenced by a family friend who shared their love for dance with him. Carrying the hip-hop and Afrobeats moves he gathered at the age of 6, he set out on his dance journey by joining various dance groups in his home country of Nigeria. Bolu hasn’t stopped dancing since and continues to seek diverse training opportunities to expand his area of focus in the dance community. So far, Bolu has ventured into various dance styles including street dances, slow dances, salsa and Afro fusion. It is his pleasure to be a part of the Woezo Africa family. With Woezo Africa, Bolu hopes to retain, advance and learn about African culture while empowering networks of people and encouraging credibility and an eagerness to learn, develop and share.
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