Hailing from a blazed Dance trek, her Dancestory is truly emblazoned by that of Ancestral commission. From Beaumont, Texas to the Bay Area, for over 20 years Portsha Terae Jefferson also revered as, "Zetwal Ashade Bon Manbo" has cultivated a trajectory of Dance excellence, dynamic performance and a cultural legacy of training, education and cultural exchange. Often nurtured by Bay Area Dance luminaries Lynn Coles and Blanche Brown to name a few, to Haitian Dance Masters such as Pioneer Vivianne Gauthier, with consistent training at Ecole Nationale de Artes [ENARTS].
Ms. Jefferson's dedication and exploration of Haitian culture have brought her to Haiti, where she has traveled throughout the country to research folkloric dance, and musical traditions, while partaking in ceremonial + healing practices, since 2003. Nestled in the Artibonite Valley, specific interest and concentration of study took place on Haiti's revolutionary land - Gonaives. Ms. Jefferson has stepped on the soil in the sacred temples at Lakou Badjo, where Nago (Yoruba) traditions are preserved, and at Tanp Souvenance Mistik, a Vodou community that celebrates it's Rada (ancient kingdom of Dahomey) heritage. Her dance journey transcended through the establishment of Rara Tou Limen Haitian Performing Company in 2004, Oakland, California.
Ms. Jefferson's visionary Artistic leadership and RTL Company's unforgettable presentations have garnered her the attention as respected colleague and emerging cultural gatekeeper, forging new trailways through ancient traditions -- staying truth to the sojourn carving pathways for many to flourish crossing boundaries and dimensions in the Dance.
Asatu Musunama Hall | Afro Cuban Orisha Dance
Asatu Musunama Hall is a seasoned performer, choreographer and founding member of Emesè: Messengers of the African Diaspora, a collective of artists founded in 1998 with a mission to promote and present the rich cultural traditions of the African Diaspora. Her background in dance incorporates over 25 years of various genres including Ballet, West African, Congolese, Haitian, Brazilian. She has had the honor of studying and performing with a number of master artists in the Bay Area and abroad, in particular, her mentors Mestre Carlos Aceituno founder of Fogo Na Roupa Grupo Carnavalesco Cultural and Regina Califa, Jorge Alabe, Blanche Brown, Titos Sompa, Malonga Casquelourd, Jose Francisco Barroso, Juan De Dios Ramos, Linda Faye Johnson, Isaura Oliveira, and others.
An avid student of African culture, Asatu has traveled to Brazil, Cuba, Nigeria, Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad, and Benin to expand her knowledge and explore the cultural connections through music, dance, and spiritual practices. She feels blessed and very honored to have the opportunity to deepen her study of Haitian dance, music, and culture with her Rara Tou Limen family. Asatu currently teaches Afro Cuban and Afro Brazilian dance in Oakland and Alameda
Dandha Da Hora | Brazilian Dance
Born and raised in Salvador, Bahia, Dandha Da Hora has been a member of Ilê Aiyê, one of Brazil’s most important musical and cultural institutions, since she was 6 years old. A master dancer, as well as vocalist and percussionist, Dandha invokes the incredible spirit of Ilê Aiyê and Salvador, Bahia, each time she steps onstage.
As a lead dancer with Ilê Aiyê, Dandha toured internationally and has shared the stage with many of Brazil’s most renowned artists such as Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil and Daniela Mercury. In addition to performing with Ilê Aiyê and SambaDá, Dandha has performed with Casa Samba (New Orleans, LA), SambaDendê and Bateria Alegria (Boulder, CO), Banda Remelexo and Bahia Soul (Bay Area, CA).
Alongside a full touring schedule, Dandha also is a master dance teacher and teaches ongoing dance classes in Santa Cruz and the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as giving special workshops across the country. Whether she is teaching, dancing, singing, or playing an instrument, Dandha’s art always reflects her passion for sharing Afro-Brazilian culture, and she brings a message of hope, love, equality and freedom every time she performs.
Luna Nueva Wellness Collective | Wellness Practitioners
Luna Nueva Wellness Collective was birthed over several years of planning with community members in assessing the most urgent needs for wellness. Services for People of Color is severely limited, especially holistic self-care. Rather than practice individually, we came together to support each other and build community. Our group formed in order to meet these needs, but also to provide leadership and a forum for introducing wellness and daily practices reflective of our cultures and heritages.
Our Mission We provide guidance for balanced well-being and self-care through complementary and holistic health services and education. We provide services to underserved communities at large, domestically and internationally, in therapeutic massage, pregnancy and child birthing guidance, nutrition, herbal consultation, meditation, energy work and movement therapies.