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Akosua Boakye BEM, Founder and Director

Founder of AkomAsa Performing Arts Academy and PhD researcher at Canterbury Christ Church University. Akosua Boakye BEM, plays a key role in developing young talent for careers in dance and the performing arts industry in Britain. AkomaAsa Performing Arts Academy amalgamates Western and African diasporic performing arts for young people aged 7–16.

She is also the Children’s Casting Coordinator for Disney’s West End musical The Lion King. Akosua’s role includes training and preparing young performers with the potential to play the role roles of Simba and Nala in the production. She has also worked with the The Place as a community outreach worked and visiting teacher for Centre for Advanced Training (CAT), which is devised to prepare young dancers ages 11-18 for full-time dance training at university or specialist conservatoire level. A recipient of the ADAD trailblazer fellowship Akosua has developed a neo-traditional dance style which fuses modern dance technique with African principles and dynamics which she has taught in college, university and community settings. Presently she is a lecturer at Canterbury Christ Church University where she doing a PhD; investigating her own practice, West African dance practice: transnationality, embodiment and technique.

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Kirsty Cherrett

Kirsty is an actress and singer and completed her training at the London School of Musical Theatre. Prior to this she completed a BA Hons in Contemporary Dance at Middlesex University.

Kirsty is an experienced teacher and has taught performing arts in many different settings, including formal education, performing arts academy’s and within social inclusion projects.

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Mohamed Gueye

Mohamed Gueye is a West African percussionist based in London. Born into a large griot family of drummers from Dakar in Senegal. From the age of 5 Mohamed learnt to play and develop technical skills on the Sabar and Djembe drums with his family and has been playing professionally since the age of 15. Passed down to him by his ancestors, Mohamed has a detailed understanding of Sabar rhythms and the history of Senegalese culture. Alongside this Mohamed has had a long love affair with the Djembe drum and is highly sought after as a master drummer for his explosive performances and patient teaching. He West African drum techniques in primary schools and continues to perform at festivals across the UK including; Womad, African Drum Village, Drum Camp, Africa Oye and BEATS Cornwall with African stars such as Baaba Maal, Carlou D, Aida Samb and Africa Express.

Kella Panay

Kella trained at the Urdang Academy Lower School, then completed her training at The English National Ballet School and London Studio Centre.

Kella’s West End theatre credits include original cast of Bombay Dreams, as a swing and dance captain, Saturday Night Fever and The Lion KIng as a dancer swing and as assistant children’s director. along with assistant choreographer for numerous shows including London production of Trevor Nunn's “Porgy and Bess”.

Away from the stage Kella has performed on various television shows and music videos, taught classes at many schools and vocational colleges around the capital, she currently holds her DDE in ISTD modern and DDI ISTD Tap.

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Ukachi Akalawu

Ukachi Akalawu -BA (Hons) in Dance Theatre from Laban. Director of Akaraaka, (www.akaraaka.com)Ukachi has taught dance extensively in the UK, Europe and Africa.
MA Arts Management from the University of the Arts, and PGCE Secondary Dance from the University of BedfordshireB Ukachi currently teaches full time in a primary school. She has worked with the National Theatre, Independent Theatre Council, Badejo Arts, and Collectives Artistes Theatre Company.
Her performance credits include the Jiving Lindy Hoppers, Ritual Theatre Arts, Ariya Opera, Step Afrika, Stomp, Badejo Arts, and Movement Angol.
In 2005 she was awarded a Trailblazer fellowship from ADAD for her research into dances from Africa, and in 2008 a travel grant from the Lisa Ullmann Travelling Scholarship Fund.
She has taught Afro Xplo in a range of educational capacities including INSET at the University of Bedfordshire, Move It! Teachers’ Convention on behalf of the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD), and in secondary schools on behalf of Step Into Dance.

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Sharni Meleika

Sharni Meleika - freelance dance artist; BA (Hons) Dance: Urban Practice at the University of East London. Styles include: Contemporary, Jazz and Urban Styles.

Performance credits include Birmingham Hippodrome, BBC 1xtra live in Birmingham at Birmingham NEC and Olympic opening ceremony. Since moving to London she dances for Boy Blue Entertainment and has performed on various stages in London.

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Phoebe Ella

Phoebe Ella is a Singer/Songwriter who comes from a jazz background. Phoebe has been a guest vocalist at Ronnie's Bar in Ronnie Scotts, London alongside the exceptional drummer Enzo Zirilli and pianist Bruno Montrone. Phoebe has also sung as a guest at the Jazz Cafe Sandbanks alongside Ian Shaw, Gilad Atzmon and the Andy Urquhart Quartet and she has headlined the Bournemouth Food and Drink Festival. Phoebe is currently touring with the Mark Anthony Prince Tribute Band as backing vocalist.