KowTeff
African Dance Company | School of African Dance
Our Directors

Afua Sewaa Codrington

Artistic Director/Co-Founder

Sewaa Codrington, Artistic Director

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.

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Najja Codrington 

Musical Director

Najja Codrington, Musical DirectorNajja was born into a family that is deeply rooted in both African and African-Caribbean culture. At the age of 10, under the guidance of Obara Wali Rahman, he received his first formal training of the Sabar orchestra as a member of Sabar Ak-Ru-Afrique. Najja’s studies encompass music and dance from both the Caribbean and West Africa. Najja has traveled abroad to Senegal, West Africa where he studied under the tutelage of the Drame/Diabate griot family. As a result, he was exposed to an extensive amount of lore. As Najja has studied African dance and drumming intensively for the past five years, several people have contributed to his learning, such as Sewaa Codrington, Aissatou Diop, Wilhemina Taylor, Gregory Ince, Karim Braithway, Kissima Diabate, and Souleyman Diop, to name just a few. Currently, Najja is involved in many cultural activities such as Cultural Youth International’s Brooklyn Jumbies, Adlib Steel Pan Orchestra KowTeff African Dance Company, Bakh Yaye and A Touch of Folklore and More.

Najja firmly believes that the cultural arts are not merely an economic tool. It is an inherent part of his spirit, which is a dominant driving force. It is with this driving force that he unselfishly mentors youth, instilling discipline, direction and pride. He also gives special thanks and praise to his mother because he would not be who he is today if it were not for her. Najja brings high-spirited energy to all groups that he embraces.

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