Afua Sewaa Codrington
Afua Sewaa Codrington has studied ballet, toe dance, tap, modern, and ethnic from the age of seven. Since 1977, she has studied the folkloric African dance of the Old Mali Empire under the wings of such master dance artists as Hazel Starks Bryant, Chuck Davis, Ladji Camara, Irizak Razala, Tako Sissokho, Marie Basse Wiles, Souleyman Diop, Babacar Niang, Assane Konte, and Ibrahima Camara, to name just a few. Brooklyn born, Sewaa's professional dance performances have taken her throughout the United States and the world with such companies as Afro-American Folkloric and Historical Society, International African American Ballet, Sabar-Ak-Ru-Afrique, Kairaba West African Dance Company, Africa in Motion, and presently as co-founder and director of KowTeff African Dance Company. It was her extensive studies throughout the Sene-Gambia region of West Africa under the tutelage of members of the National Ballet of Senegal during 1986-1988 that solidified her experience and love for African arts and culture.
With over thirty years of experience with traditional African dance, Sewaa has developed multifarious expertise as a teacher, profesional performer, and historian of the art form. However, Sewaa’s forteit and greatest love is choreography. Her goal as a choreographer is to preserve the purity of African dance while creating for the stage dynamic, electrifying pieces as they relate to the social and historical context of their origins. Sewaa’s creative process includes an examination of traditional movement, inquiry into the science of the related music, as well as study and design of costumes based on of the traditional attire worn for the specific occasion. She undertakes an extensive amount of research in the U.S. and West Africa in order to choreograph in a manner by which audiences are left with a vivid understanding of traditional African lifestyle while experiencing quality entertainment.
Sewaa's expertise as a choreographer of West African folklore has been an important contribution in the preservation and perpetuation of the culture of African people. In addition to her work as a choreographer for a professional dance company, she has given many hours teaching and choreographing dances in the U.S. public school system and in St. Kitts, West Indies where she was commissioned by the St. Kitts Department of Culture. Furthermore, the New York City Department Of Education has benefited from over thirty years of Sewaa’s service at her additional forteit as a behavior modification specialist. It is through the members of the community, especially her students in the schools, that her life's work is perpetuated and passed down to the next generation.