The Akwaaba Dance Project is an entertainment and educational company started by Olubayo Jackson. Its mission is to provide dance workshops, performances, classes, curriculum, cultural tours and films that connect African dance and culture to the Caribbean, African American, South and Central American diaspora.
Founder & CEO
Olubayo Jackson is a dancer, educator, and filmmaker. Her films explore issues of culture, education, the migration of African peoples, cultural retention, and change.
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