The Akwaaba Dance Project is an entertainment and educational company started by Olubayo Jackson. Its mission is to provide films that connect African dance and culture to the Caribbean, African American, South and Central American diaspora as well as dance workshops, performances, classes, curriculum, cultural tours."
OLUBAYO JACKSON: FOUNDER AND CEO
Olubayo Jackson is a dance teacher, educator, and filmmaker from New York City with Gullah Geechee Southern roots. She uses film and the arts to shed light on underrepresented cultural traditions and historical connections between Africa and the diaspora. Currently, she is immersed in creating a film series that explores the connections between African and diaspora in the Southern United States, the Carribean and Central America.
Ring Shout -Let The Circle Be Unbroken
The exploration of sacred dance in Africa and diaspora leads a NYC teacher on a worldwide journey to reconnect severed cultural ties. Her quest to document the Ring Shout, an age-old praise dance rooted in African Spiritual Traditions leds her to a rural Georgia museum where she discovers a long lost branch of her family and her Gullah Geechee roots. There she must decide if she will honor her elder cousin’s dying wish and embrace the mantle of carrying his legacy and these vanishing traditions forward.
donation to support this legacy PROJECt
Preservation Project Help us preserve the vanishing heritage of African-rooted Gullah Geechee cultural traditions, the Ring Shout Praise Dance, and the legacy of my family griots. Your donation will transform this short Documentary into a captivating series, ensuring these stories are told and cherished for generations to come. Join us in illuminating our roots and preserving our heritage. Donate today to become part of this important project
akwaaba dance project
Olubayo Jackson is a dance teacher of over 400 students from Kindergarten to 5th grade at P.S. 87 in Manhattan, New York. She specializes in using dance to promote her student's cross-cultural understanding, empathy, and greater realization of historical connections. Olubayo is also a Curriculum Developer, Researcher, and Filmmaker. Her current film, "The Akwaaba Dance Project" is a work in progress, that traces African cultural retentions in the Caribbean, Central American and American dance forms.
Olubayo Jackson creates films that connect African dance and culture to the Caribbean, African American, South and Central American diaspora. She made a short film called, "Geechee Kunda: Sustaining Our Culture, Telling Our Story" which aired on MNN and debuted at MNN's Documentary and Filmmaking Festival. Additionally, she made a short film called, "Akwaaba: Dancing Towards Identity" which premiered at the Metropolitan College of New York.'s 8th Annual International Short Film Festival. She is currently completing a full-length feature film, "Akwaaba Dance," which connects African derived dance forms in Honduras, Belize, Dominica, the Georgia Sea Islands, New Orleans, and New York City to their possible origins in Mali, Ghana, Senegal, and Gambia.
Olubayo has studied West African Dance for the last 15 years, along with Congolese and Caribbean dance forms. She has danced with Fushia Dance Company and the Balance of Nature Company. She has taught African and international dance styles. She has traveled extensively through West Africa, the Caribbean, Central and South America, and the Southern United States to study African-derived dances such as Punta, Bele, Candomble Dance, Azonto, Ring Shout, Second Line Dance, and more.
Olubayo has worked with a variety of audiences, such as elementary school students, parents, community organizations, college students, and teachers. She has been a teacher trainer and presented at the National Endowment of the Humanities Middle Passage Institute and the Gullah Voices Institute. Olubayo speaks on the following topics:
- Teaching about the Trans-Atlantic Middle Passage through dance
- African and Caribbean Dance connections
- Indigenous and African synchronized dance Traditions
- Multicultural dance education which promotes cultural awareness and openness
- Retention of spirituality in African Dance
- Women's empowerment through dance, travel, research, and film