Our membership draws on the existing
cultural mosaic of diverse ethnicities that spans the globe.
reflects a diverse microcosm of cultural backgrounds and ethnicities.
ADE is open to all individuals young and old, of any gender orientation
and abilities. It is believed that each and every one on this
planet has a unique mission in this world so all and sundry are welcome
under one roof guided by strict performance rules that keeps a tradition
Shirley Nana Sarpong Boateng. Born in Kumasi,
Ghana, she is currently enrolled in the Diploma of Pharmacy Technician
programme at Sheridan College. She wants to keep in touch with
her roots/language, heritage, and learn about other ethnic groups.
She enjoys meeting nice people. She danced with African United
Dance Group based in Mississauga. At Erindale Secondary School,
she danced hip hop, salsa, and step dance with her friends. She
danced with many dance groups in Toronto. She learns and performs
with Nutsifafa African Performance Ensemble, and ADE. Her hobbies
are dancing, sewing, abstract and still-life paintings.
Rita Boateng. Born in Ghana, West Africa,
the dances she saw people perform inspired her to learn more
about the traditional dances of her country. As a York University
student (Bachelor in Health Studies), she has had the opportunity
to learn from Isaac Akrong and Professor Modesto Amegago to expand
her knowledge of the various dances of Ghana. In 2002 she performed
with GSAY Dance Group based at North York. She has also had the
opportunity to perform with many dance groups in Toronto. She’s
glad to be part of ADE and hopes to be a part of it for a long
time. Her hobbies are cooking, soccer, dancing, and listening
Mercedes is studying in the BFA Theatre program at York University.
She is originally from Zimbabwe and has joined the African
Dance Ensemble to explore traditional dance and music and strengthen
her ties with Africa.
Trevor Forde, born in beautiful Barbados,
a sunny island, is a Computer Engineering student at York University.
I have a technical background that includes certificates in Electronics
Engineering Technician and Wireless Telecommunication Technology.
However, my get-away is D-A-N-C-E That's when my life
becomes real and natural and F-U-N!I have never been in any
form of dance group, but my love for music and dance steered
my life along this destiny to be curious
and involve myself with many forms of dance and expression.
Throughout my life I have danced to many kinds of music from
soca, reggae, latin, ballroom, line dancing, all the way to
tap, breakdancing and hiphop.
I have tried all these dances at some point
and I am still up for some good dance fun if at a club or anywhere and
some one is willing to lead the show... I am the one who would tend
to join in. I am known to start the party sometimes too. My love for
music has also led me to be curious about some instruments and I became
excited about Afro-Cuban culture, so I am interested to learn the dances
and musical instruments. I just love the music that comes
from all the instruments when I hear Afro-Cuban music. It brings me home
when I am in this environment.
Darcel Frederick was born in St. Vincent,
and raised in St. Kitts, Antigua and St. Lucia. She started
dancing at six years old and continues to explore Modern and
African Dance. She has completed summer programs at the
Ailey School in New York and Jacob’s Pillow in Massachusetts.
Currently she is completing a degree in Dance and Kinesiology
at York University.
Ama Gyasi-Nimako holds a Bachelor of Arts
in Sociology from York University. She comes from the beautiful
country of Ghana, West Africa. Being from a country that is filled
with so much culture, history and arts has impacted her love
for music and dance. As a member of ADE she has been able to
embrace her culture by exploring various dances and music from
the different regions of Ghana as well as West Africa. She is
honoured to be part of ADE because it is a group that reflects
the values of respect, unity and love by uniting people from
various cultures around the world. She hopes you have been blessed
by our vision.
Marie-Paule JeanGilles was born in Montreal,
Canada. She is fluent in French, Creole and Spanish. She has
studied various dance forms throughout the Caribbean, Middle
Eastern and African Diaspora. She is currently completing a history
degree at York University (Glendon College).
Tamiza Jetha is a passionate dancer who believes
that dance and music are inseparable forms of emotional expression...that
the body uses these modes as a catalyst to reveal to us what
words cannot. Tamiza was born and raised in good ol' Calgary,
Alberta. She is one of York University’s newest graduates,
finishing with an Honors Major/Minor in Psychology and Dance
in the Faculty of Arts, B.A. She now aspires to receive her Master’s
in Physiotherapy and continues to dance to keep the burning passion
in her heart aflame. Tamiza has had the wonderful opportunity
to work in the arts in various dance disciplines including African
(with the fabulous Isaac Akrong), Persian (with the wonderful
Sashar Zarif in Sashar Zarif Dance Theatre), Hip Hop, Jazz, and
Modern. The central focus of Tamiza's artistic expression is
to forever continue to move others and be moved by others.
Jin-Young Kang was born in Seoul, S. Korea.
She studied piano performance during her undergraduate degree. She
is currently enrolled in the M.A. Composition programme at York
Glenn Norris Lau was born in Scarborough,
Ontario, Canada. He was raised in Markham, and yes, there is
a difference. He started to become interested in music
and art in the middle of high school. He has played baritone
sax for 5 years in jazz bands and classical bands, played flute
and vocals for 2 years, studied popular singing for 3 years,
and danced for 2 years. Glenn’s main dance influences
so far are Street jazz, pop, ballet, and hip hop. He is currently
taking music at York.
Chris Mason has been drumming since the young
age of ten. He has just returned from an eight month solo trip
around the world, where he lived in the Bush and surfed the coasts
of Australia, hiked the Himalayas of Kashmir and swam in the
holy Ganges of India, ventured through the jungles of Malaysia,
meditated at Buddhist temples in Thailand, and backpacked around
Europe. Not only did he enrich himself with the many spiritual
adventures this voyage entailed, but he also exposed himself
to the musical diversity of the many cultures he visited. From
improv performances at Australian pubs and leading spontaneous
drum circle sessions on the beach, to studying Tablas with a
guru in Rishikesh, India; performing for tourists with a djembe
outside a Thai buddhist temple, and jamming with jazz musicians
in a Dutch brown cafe, Chris enthusiastically made himself available
for any and all opportunities to drum. He even took the
time to sit down and play along with a homeless man on pots & pans
in the streets of Melbourne, Australia!
Photographs from his pilgrimage can be seen on his website "Journey
Around the World".
Chris is also ADE's webmaster, so if you would like a website like
this, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
D. Alex Meeks grew up with the
elephants. Through his time with the gentle pachyderms, he developed
an acute appreciation for the myriad sonic aspects of the world,
the pursuit of the qualities of which drives his subsequent musical
D. Alex currently studies music as part of the improvisatory
community at York University and performs with various groups,
among them ADE and the Danger Music Ensemble. Percussion is
his primary concern.
Born in Montreal, Quebec, is currently attending York University
double majoring in African Studies and French. In trying to
keep in touch with her roots she joined ADE so that her
connection to her Ghanaian culture will remain
intact. Participation in ADE performances allows her to express herself
artistically and physically, which she hopes will also inspire others
to do so as well.
ADE is a group that is filled with love, respect and togetherness
and she is proud to be apart of such an organization. Ruth's
hobbies are reading, shopping, dancing and attending plays.
Paula Shupe was born in Ladysmith on Vancouver
Island in British Colombia. She started dancing when she was
five years old, and enjoys learning new dance styles to increase
her repertoire of movement and explore different musics. She
has completed her undergraduate degree in Anthropology, and is
currently in the M.A. program in Ethnomusicology at York University.
Bert Smith has answered the
call of the drum over twenty years ago. Originally from Jamaica,
he was member of the Gayap Rhythm Drummers, a percussion group
based in Toronto during the 1980s. In the 1990s he became interested
in the relationship between drumming and dancing, so he joined
many African drum and dance groups in Toronto. Recently, he became
a member of the African Dance Ensemble (ADE), a dance company
led by Isaac Akrong, where he hopes to continue to help with
the promotion of African culture through drums, songs and dances.
Nina Soyfer was
born in Vinnitza City, Ukraine. At the age of five years old,
she started her music, dance, and art education. By fourteen
years old she graduated from music secondary school, and gained
professional dance experience. She performed in many professional
dance ensembles in Ukraine; successfully participated in different
competitions. Starting at just sixteen years old, Nina started
choreographing and organizing dance compositions within the
contemporary and Latin American Papyri styles.
Two years ago Nina arrived to Canada, and is currently a
third year student at York University, in the Fine Arts Music
Classical Piano Performance program. During this period, she
continued choreographing, and composed an eastern dance for the "Russian
Matreshka 2005" festival,
and performed as a first dancer.
Nina enjoys stylizing
a variety of ethnic dances of the world and creating new
dance styles. She has studied Indian dance art, Israeli ancient
dances, as well as Ukrainian, Russian, Latin American, Funk,
Eastern, Contemporary, etc. With a great enthusiasm and joy,
Nina is participating in ADE and learning more about African
dance and music. She also has interest in the singing and drumming
styles of Africa and the world.
Claudine Thomas was born in Grenada and loved
dancing at a very young age. She danced to the sound of Steel
Pan playing as a way to keep in shape. She came to Canada in
the 1980s with her mother to further her education at York University.
While at York, Claudine attended a workshop on African drumming
and dancing and was captured by the beauty of it all. Claudine
has been dancing African dance for many years with various groups.
She strongly promotes the integrity and cultural tradition of
Africa. She plans to learn more about African drum and dance
so she can teach, educate, inspire, and unite people through
this art form.
Sija Tsai was born in Winnipeg and grew up in
rural Manitoba. In university she studied music, languages, and
drama, and later spent a year overseas. She is currently working
on her M.A. in Ethnomusicology at York University.
Leonard Williams. Playing the African Drums
and other percussion are for me, very satisfying. Furthermore,
to participate in African music and dance, and a multiplicity
of other cultural expressions are some of the most certain ways
to reconnect the severed connections of my African, ancestral
Efua Ayanda Appiah is currently in her second
year aspiring in the major of Sociology at York University. Born
in Lesotho, South Africa, but lived and grew up in Ghana, Efua
is one who does not want to forget her roots. With a rich background
- her great grandfather from Dominica and her grandfather from
the Gambia – she is always trying to discover more about
herself and dance is a great way to do it. She is very pleased to be in the
Isaac Akrong is an exceptional performer of traditional dance and drumming, Isaac Akrong hails from the Ga people of the coastal belt of Ghana. At an early age he was immersed in the traditions of his culture. His love of traditional music and arts led him to the University of Ghana, School of Performing Arts where he completed an undergraduate degree. Isaac was invited to join the Ghana Dance Ensemble of the Institute of African Studies, Legon; where he continued with his learning and love of traditional music performing a multitude of different cultural dances.
Isaac holds a Masters degree in dance from York University. He teaches African Music and dance at the Music Department at York University. He has been a guest performer with Kwasi Dunyo, Prof. Modesto Amegago, Prof. Robert Simms, Madagasca Slim, workshop with Mor Thiam, and many other groups worldwide.
Music Africa featured Isaac with traditional drummers in a concert performance, at the Royal Ontario Museum for African History Month celebrations in February 2003. During fall 2003 Isaac was a visiting artist in Dance at the Wesleyan University, Connecticut U.S. where he performed with Abraham Adzenyah and Helen Mensah in a student’s concert.
He has a strong commitment to sharing his knowledge of traditional dance and drumming with the world. As a serious student and researcher, Isaac is determined to see Ghanaian music and dance documented for future generations.
"My goal is to propagate the message of African culture, and explain everything possible about it. I am building on the knowledge that exists so that people will understand African music and dance more."
Isaac is now pursuing a PhD in Ethnomusicology at York University Department of Music. His interests are in the ethnic music and dances (Ghana) as a window of the traditions and customs of a people. He believes that, as humans,
"We sing and dance through our lives on earth and beyond"
Our membership draws on the existing cultural mosaic
of diverse ethnicities that spans the globe.
Our membership reflects a diverse microcosm of cultural backgrounds and
ethnicities. ADE is open to all individuals young and old, of any gender
orientation and abilities. It is believed that each and every one on this
planet has a unique mission in this world so all and sundry are welcome
under one roof guided by strict performance rules that keeps a tradition
How to Join
Upon filling an application form (available upon request) and an interview
with the human resource committee, one may be enrolled under the constitution
and bylaws of ADE.
Opportunities exist for interested volunteers or student internship placements.
Please contact us for additional information.