Play • 1 hr 28 min

Originally from West Africa, Sierra Leone. 

Early dance training, as a scholarship student, with Jacques d’Amboise and his National Dance Institute. Appeared at Madison Square Garden’s Felt Forum, Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center’s Outdoor Festivals, American Ballet Theatre, New York State Theatre, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Balboa Park (San Diego), NDI’s schools (Maine and New Hampshire), and the Rodotto and Fenice (Venice, Italy). As a member of Tap Kids USA, appeared with the Pointer Sisters, for Polaroid's 50th Anniversary (Boston). Featured performer on 20/20 feature on NDI, promoting The Event of the Year on the Today Show. Danced in Emile Ardolino’s film OFF BEAT. Has performed with Mary Tyler Moore, Ann Reinking, Cloris Leachman, Charlotte d’Amboise, Christopher d’Amboise, Judy Collins, and Savion Glover. Additional training at Dance Theatre of Harlem with classes at Alvin Ailey and Broadway 

Currently, Oya is an Acting Coach/Co Choreographer for Theatrics-Miller Place, a Dance Instructor at Stage Door-Patchogue, Staff Choreographer for Bellport Middle School’s Musical, just finished her 6th season Choreographing for Theatre Three’s Musical Theatre Factory and is thrilled to be a Teaching Artist for the Tilles Arts and Education Program. 

Time Stamps

[00:00:58]    -Referred from a Friend and Oya’s Childhood Africa

[00:06:36]    -First Dancing exposures- Crispy fingers!

[00:08:40]    -Why dancing? -Teachers belief -Communicating with the rhythm

[00:10:45]    -Learning with Savion Glover

[00:13:02]    - National Dance Institute A New Family-Learning to teach

[00:16:17]    -Dancing with Mary Tyler Moore- Finishing Time with NDI

[00:18:40]    - Boarding school- Diversity of dance- West African -Modern

[00:24:03]    -Learning to be a Choreographer - and Discovering Discrimination

[00:29:15]    - The role of art in changing the world

[00:32:24]    -Physically Getting to the audience- Movement and Stage Blocking

[00:37:09]    -Parental expectations vs. Dreams

[00:43:23]    -Boston University-Tufts-Becoming a teacher

[00:47:01]    -Alvin Ailey Training -Dance Theatre of Harlem- Modern Dance

[00:50:26]    -Mixing techniques- Meet Shakespeare and Christopher Walken  

[00:53:30]    - Becoming a teacher- falling in love with it (kind of)

[00:57:30]    - Teaching the basics – no baggage -no judgement

[01:01:00]    - Back to Performing

[01:05:30]    - Speaking to Problems in our Culture right NOW through Art.  

[01:11:00]    -How to help through the craft

[01:17:00]   -Safe pace to be free to create and play

[01:21:28]   - Breaking Barriers- “cant” is a bad word

[01:23:37]   -Oya’s next venture “Project Move”

[01:26:49]   -Where to find her in NY area


Links to Russ on YouTube and his Websites

Oya’s Links

Russ Movies

Production partners

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