Marcus Johnson is a native of Washington D.C who has been studying, and training rigorously in professional dance for 12 years. Marcus is trained in Ballet, Modern, African, and Hip Hop and started professionally training at Duke Ellington School of The Arts. Following his tenure at Duke Ellington, Marcus was chosen to tour in China for an international dance conference. He has performed with Sting and Paul Simon, toured in Los Angeles, where he also kept up his training. Marcus has been teaching dance for about 7 years at the Dance Institute of Washington, where he’s had the pleasure of instilling all that he has learned through the years to the next generation. Marcus believes it is very important to be versatile and adaptive in this field –“it enhances your capability as a young dancer”. Marcus is grateful for the experience of inspiring the next generation to come; to mold great, strong and disciplined dancers at the Dance Institute of Washington and to impact and change the lives of children through the Art of Dance. Marcus is also experienced in the ins and outs of programming and stage productions. While he may often teach, you can also find him in meetings working hard alongside of DIW’s Creative Director.
Gina Safadi, dancer, teacher, dance coach, director, producer and cultural manager. Originally from New York , Gina shared her knowledge for over 15 years in Ecuador and is now working her magic in Washington DC.
Gina earned her B.A. in Dance & Sociology from Marymount Manhattan College and received her Certificate in Arts Administration from New York University. Gina is a Certified International Latin Dance Judge and a World Salsa Summit Member. She is currently an administrator at Dance Institute of Washington and a Latin dance event producer.
Lesina Martin is a native of Detroit, MI. She graduated from Howard University in 2003 with a B.A. in African Studies. While there, she co-founded Nsaa Dance ensemble – the University’s first campus organization for African dance and drumming. Also during her time at Howard, she joined Farafina Kan under the direction of Mahiri Keita-Edwards – son and protégé of Mamady Keita. In 2004, she appeared on Moustapha Bangoura’s instructional video series Tinkanyi (1 and 2). For ten years, she taught outreach throughout the Washington, DC area with Traditional Expressions, a program designed to teach African folkloric studies (dance, music, song) as youth arts enrichment. She entered the classroom full-time teaching Social Studies in 2014, and is now a Teaching Artist and Co-Director of Farafina Kan Junior Company. Over the years, Lesina has travelled to West Africa on several occasions to study traditional folklore in Guinea, Senegal, Gambia, Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire. Most recently, she rejoined Moustapha Bangoura to record Tinkanyi 7 and 8 in Conakry, Guinea. Lesina endeavors to continue the mission of working with the community and fellow educators to increase awareness of African cultural heritage.
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