Rejoice! Diaspora Dance Theater

Rejoice! Diaspora Dance Theater

Rejoice! Diaspora Dance Theater is an ensemble of multi dimensional dancers and musicians under the artistic direction of Oluyinka Akinjiola. Rejoice! looks at tradition through a contemporary lens bridging our vast history with our complex present. Rejoice! weaves dances of the African Diaspora, storytelling and live music to navigate through issues relevant to today’s world.

Oluyinka A. Akinjiola received a MFA in Dance Choreography and Performance. She creates a unique blend between dances of Africa, the African Diaspora and Modern dance. She was a three year guest artist for the Sankofa African Drum & Dance Ensemble; her work was featured in the International Association of Blacks in Dance conference (Washington D.C.), Carnaval 2014 (Salvador, BA, Brazil), Studio [email protected] and Performance Works Northwest. Oluyinka is the artistic director and choreographer for Rejoice! Diaspora Dance Theater, a teaching Artist with the Right Brain Initiative, Young Audiences Arts 4 Learning and was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance at SUNY the College at Brockport.

Uriah Boyd, a Portland native, grew up surrounded by dance and music. She attended da Vinci Arts Middle School and found that she loved performing. Uriah’s connection to movement only grew stronger as she did, and in high school she truly fell for dance as an art form, language, and coping mechanism. Years later, Uriah has continued dancing with and choreographing for companies and collectives around Portland such as The Jefferson Dancers II, Kemba Shannon Dance Ensemble, House of Aquarius, and now Rejoice!

Born in Madison WI, Jamie Minkus’ love affair with movement started when she became a competitive gymnast at the age of 10. Later in life, while earning her degree at the University of Wisconsin, she started dancing with a local Brazilian hand drum troop which prompted her studies in Brazilian folkloric movement. Her gymnastics background and affinity with Brazilian culture led her to train and teach the Brazilian martial art, capoeira, under Mestre Almiro Aquilino dos Santos. Her capoeira studies introduced her to the larger world of Afro-Brazilian movement, particularly movements of the Orixas, and Afro-Cuban culture. Jamie performed in Donna Oefinger’s Afro-Brazilan and Afro-Cuban dance company, Axé Didé, for over eight years, and now choreographs for Rejoice!