Meet our Choreographers
Middle Eastern belly dancer, Model and Zumba instructor. Born and raised in Israel. Growing up in the Middle East where Bellydancing has its origins, Aphrodit has been exposed to bellydancing for as long as she can remember. She has a lot of passion and deep appreciation for the music and dance of different cultures. Bellydancing being her favourite style. Aphrodit is also a Zumba instructor and she is pursuing a career in acting, modeling, fashion and designing.
When describing a talented person, we fancy using words like “amazing, extraordinary and gifted” but, that would be a vast understatement when describing Mrs. De-Ann Weekes. De-Ann was born on the island of Trinidad. You might know it as the island that bred and bleed the steel drum. A rhythmic instrument still unknown to many yet worshiped by some.
In her early years, she was inspired by dancers like Paula Abdul and Michael Jackson.
In migrating to the tiny island of St Vincent and the Grenadines, De-Ann’s love and passion for dance surpassed expectations and she went on to be crowned Caribbean Talented teen in 1994. Throughout her childhood to her adolescents, De-Ann continued to gain exceptional achievement and along with her dance team vectored and held the title of Caribbean dance champs. Several dance distinctions and awards in her view.
In 2003 Mrs. Weekes brought her talent and grace to Calgary Alberta Canada.
Though some thought it a difficult transition, and so it was, she managed to teach over 50 different students ranging from the ages of 4 to 36. From Afro Jazz to West African and Afro Caribbean dancing, she took upon herself to broaden her prospects and studied for 1.5 years at Ballet Creole.
She returned to Alberta with knowledge and excitement. With extensive education on techniques ranging from Dunham, Graham and Horton helped her train dancers to outstanding levels.
De-Ann, is driven for success through the art form she will continue to touch lives.
Surrounded by the rich tropical rhythms in Havana, Cuba, Alexis discovered his passion for dancing at just five years old. He entered his first dance competition at the age of seven, where his talent was recognized and won first place for his unique ‘Michael Jackson Style Salsa’. This inspired him to pursue his dream and love of dance and began studying Cuban dance throughout his childhood and teenage years. Through his commitment and determination, Alexis made many achievements in his professional dance career. In a well-known salsa competition that was filmed for TV, he placed 1st after dancing a 1-hour long competition for salsa and casino rueda. He then went on to dance in the Comparsa Jovenes del Este, a dance group who perform in the Carnaval in Havana, and won second place out of 1000 dancers.
Alexis was highly sought after by many dance companies and began teaching and performing all over Cuba. Alexis won 1st place yet again in another competition, this time in the Festival de Raices Africanas Wemilere in 2004, the most important and recognized Afro Cuban Folklore Festival in Cuba. Alexis made the journey north to bring his love of dance and unique style to Canada, and together with his wife Cristina founded La Rumba Cuban Dance Company. Together Alexis and Cristina have performed at the Los Angeles Salsa Festival, Ritmo Cuba International Dance Festival in Havana, Cancun Salsa Casino Mayan Congress, Calgary International Salsa Congress, Saskatoon International Salsa Congress, Winnipeg Salsa Festival, and countless other events. They instruct various classes including Salsa, Bachata, Afro Cuban, Rumba, Salsa leading two ladies, Casino Rueda, Son, Body Movement & Styling, Cha Cha Cha, Reggaeton, Mambo and more. Their charisma and passion for dance are reflected in their friendly teaching style, inspiring their students and others to pursue dance and the arts and achieve their goals through dedication and mastering technique.
Canadian dancer, choreographer and producer Edgar Reyes received his diverse training in Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, New York and Los Angeles. He has worked with such notable choreographers as Luther Brown, Sabrina Matthews, and Mia Michael’s to name a few, and with musical artists such as Keisha Chante, Eva Avila and Blake McGrath. Edgar was also a Top 5 male finalist on Season 3 of SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE CANADA.
As a past member of the professional company of Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, Edgar’s unique style evolved to incorporate the diverse aesthetics of Hip-Hop with the Jazz vernacular. He has channeled his visionary and creative energy into Alberta’s urban dance community, where his love for the art and strive for excellence is carving a new path in the realms of performance and dance instruction
Vanessa Padillo grew up in Calgary since the age of 3. She is known for her energy, positive vibes and most importantly her enthusiasm for dance. She hopes she can give an insight to aspiring dancers to allow them to find their own connection within themselves through movement.
Vanessa started in Ballet at the age of 7 and found herself grooving to Hip Hop at age 12. Taking a plunge in this world of dance, she trained formally at eko Dance Projects (formally Youth Dance Unlimited) and later pursued the Dance Program at the University of Calgary continuing her training in Hip Hop, Contemporary, Jazz, and West African 2004-2010. Her dedication and passion has taken her on many different adventures from competing in the World Hip Hop Dance Championships in Los Angeles with her dance crew, C.Stylz in 2006 to many local events in Calgary such as Dance Montage, Dance Mainstage, Dance at Noon, Calgary Cares, and Holla Productions.
Vanessa has been choreographing since 1999 and teaching dance since 2006. Being a diverse and versatile dancer herself, her classes will leave students inspired and energized. The foundations that realms her classes are based on having fun, exercise, and to grow a deeper understanding of dance.
Vanessa is also Founder and Owner of Common Ground Dance and Co-owner and Business Development Director of Movement With A Message Inc. Vanessa earned a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Calgary Haskayne School of Business majoring in Risk Management Insurance and Finance. Vanessa also holds a Chartered Professional Accountants (CPA) and a Certified Management Accountants (CMA) designation. With this unique background, she’s passionate about consulting businesses and individuals involved in the Arts.
Melvi Alvarado was born and raised in El Salvador, Central America. He started dancing at the age of 5 years old in kindergarten, but it was during elementary school at the age of nine years old that he was introduced to Latin dances such as Merengue, Samba, Bachata, Latin Folklore and Afro-Latin Folklore. In 2008, he joined Adhesivo, an Estilo Urbano (Urban Style) dance group in San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador, where he learned more about Latin dances and hip-hop and was part of many festivals and dance competitions across the country.
Melvi moved to Canada in 2010 and created Dance Fusion Calgary, a Calgary-based Latin dance group with the purpose of creating a safe and healthy space for the expression of community and culture through dance. Through this group, Melvi has had the opportunity to spread Latin American folklore, Afro-Latin, and urban Latin dance styles across Alberta. Melvi has performed in Calgary’s biggest festivals including Expo Latino, Fiestaval, and Carifest, as well as taking part in the University of Calgary’s Dance Montage and collaborating with other dance companies such as Bachata Con Caché, Bachatakiz, Casa de Naz, Raíces Del Perú, Viva La Danza, Viva México and many more. Melvi hopes to continue with his mission of sharing all he has learned, and most importantly being able to inspire future generations about the importance of cultural dances, no matter where you came from.
Kristina grew up dancing in Calgary. She trained in Tap, Modern Jazz, Ballet, Acrobatics and Hip Hop. She completed her Al Gilbert Tap exams with Distinction and many of her ISTD Modern and Ballet exams. Her passion for performing allowed her the opportunity to train to become a teacher. Sharing her love of dance brings her great joy! In the last decade, she has taught Tap, Hip hop, Musical Theatre, Jazz and Preschool. Whether it is recreational or competitive dancers, she believes that dance is for everyone. It expresses the deepest emotions where words fail to convey. She enjoys the process of choreographing and has received an award for Best Concept for a Hip Hop piece. The music is her guide to movement and it is what inspires her choreography.
Wunmi Idowu is an accomplished dancer, choreographer, instructor, and director, born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria. Wunmi began performing at the age of 3, and since moving to Alberta in 1992, has immersed herself in the African dance community, both in Edmonton and Calgary, working with such groups as Wajjo drummers and Kekeli dancers, Nigerian Okoto Dance Troupe, C-Stlyz Dancers, Afrikanata Dancers and Asante Dance Troupe.
Wunmi is passionate about sharing African dance and culture through classes and performances by making them easily available and accessible to everyone. Her ongoing work as a choreographer and founder and director of Woezo Africa continues to enable her to bring African culture to a wide and diverse audience. Wunmi continues to produce professional performances in several African dance styles, including modern African dances such as Afrobeats, Coupé décalé and traditional African dances such as Ndombolo.
Elvio Dos Santos, known in Capoeira as Mestrando Tigrão, was born in Guarulhos, São Paulo, Brazil. He began training Capoeira at the age of 11 years and has not stopped since, continuing to train and improve in all aspects of Capoeira, and constantly searching for new techniques.
Throughout the years, Mestrando Tigrão’s gift for teaching has become evident. Through his profession, Tigrão demonstrates his philosophy of life and his love for this Brazilian martial art. He has participated in and organized numerous rodas, competitions, festivals and workshops around the world. Moreover, his experience in social work in São Paulo and Minas Gerais, Brazil, has taught him to value the benefits that Capoeira offers the community. Tigrão also sees Capoeira as a link between the past and the future, whose deep roots respect tradition yet continue to evolve.
In 2002, Tigrão met Mestre Barrão and became part of Grupo Axé Capoeira. The following year he came to Canada to participate in Mestre Barrão’s Capoeira Festival. He stayed to teach classes in Vancouver and train directly under the supervision of Mestre Barrão, from whom he learned much about Capoeira and about life. In 2016, he received his belt of Mestrando status from the hands of his Mestre in an Axé Capoeira batizado ceremony in Calgary. He is grateful to the many people who have contributed to his life in Capoeira. He has seen and played with great Mestres and capoeiristas, and continues to learn many lessons from one jogo to the next.
Meet our Actors
Emmanuel Boateng (Phree) is dramatist and a humorist whose artistic “exposés” are blindsided views of poetry, sketch and short film. Raised in Montreal, his environment and experiences are elements which he uses as a reference point to create. Refusing to take a path he did not design, he chose to document his journey through a mixture of different art forms.
Sasha Monica is a local Calgary Actor and studies at Company of Rogues. Her most recent play was called “First and Last” and she is involved in independent films, corporate videos, and MC’s for City events. In her working life, Sasha is the Manager of Events and Communications at a company here in Calgary and works independently as an event planner and consultant.
Nosayaba Bello, who plays the role of Mother, is extremely proud to be joining the cast of UNGANISHA. Nosayaba lives in Calgary with her family and works as a business analyst. She is an Electrical engineer by a lover of the arts. Nosayaba would like to thank her family for their love and support during the
rehearsals for this play. She also thanks director Chibe Okoye for allowing her to enjoy this valuable experience. Nosayaba dedicates this performances this season to the memory of Carter. G. Woodson who was the founder of black history week in February 1926 which eventually became black history month.