ASA! instructors endure 4 auditions, 3 months of training in the ASA! technique and conditioning, seminars on biomechanics, basic health and fitness principles, and a written examination. They are each CPR-AED certified and more than qualified to provide a safe, progressive, and fun exercise environment.
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 was a co-founder of Kankali Danz West African Dance Company and currently is a principal company member with AnKaFo West African Dance. 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. The ASA! Movement speaks to her heart and she a strong believer in its philosophy. She is committed to championing its mission and assisting women in achieving their fitness and health goals through the ASA! experience. For Dzifa, ASA! is a space for strengthening both the body and the mind while having FUN! She invites you to “Push for that good hurt!” ASA-OOOOO!”
Zawadi Dismuke I 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 productions with Rowe Niodior African Dance Company. As a member, I choreographed a piece for the company’s latest production Welcome to the Queen’s House. By pursuing ASA! certification I hope to further strengthen my skills as an instructor and choreographer of African and African-inspired movement”
Niche Faulkner, a North Carolina native, began her dance career as a child under the tutelage of Chuck Davis. Once in college, she was reintroduced to dance after auditioning for Scarlet Lace Dancers at Winston Salem State University. After taking up residency in Pittsburgh for graduate school, she reconnected with her roots and began to study and perform West African Dance under the tutelage of Mama Kadiatou Conte and Balafon West African Dance Ensemble upon which she has taken multiple trips to study in South and West Africa. In Charlotte, NC, she co-founded SHAE Movement African Arts, a cultural entity dedicated to “Sharing the Heart of African Energy through Movement” to the Charlotte community and abroad. Through her background in mental health, she realized a greater call to incorporate and educate the community about the importance of adopting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle that integrates the mind, body and spirit to combat depression, stress and the weight of the world. As such, she became devoted to the promotion of mindfulness practices while keeping the arts alive through West African dance, drum song. Her work extends in the community as an Adjunct in the Dance Department Adjunct at the University of North Carolina – Charlotte, A Certified Running Coach and Yoga Assistant. Niche hopes that when you leave this space, you do so “feeling better than you had when you entered. We only have one body, if you don’t take care of it, where else are you going to live.”
Ifetayo “Ife” Kitwana is a Chicago native who received her M.A. in Dance/Movement Therapy & Counseling from Columbia College Chicago. She is a professional dancer, group fitness professional, registered dance/movement therapist and licensed professional counselor. Ife has performed and studied with numerous companies and master teachers including Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago, Afriky Lolo West African Dance Company, Ayodele Drum & Dance, Youssouf Koumbassa and Maria Basse Wiles. Ife’s passion and work focuses on healing and wellness through African dance and community, specifically for women and girls of the African Diaspora. It is her philosophy that wellness manifest itself through mental, physical, spiritual, communal and cultural development. Ife is excited to be apart of the ASA! family as she continues to empower and inspire through cultural expression and fitness. Her classes are directed towards providing a safe space for individuals to increase their confidence, build resilience, foster catharsis, and burn calories! “WE’RE LEAVING IT ALL ON THE FLOOR!!!”