Akwaaba Ensemble is a high-energy group of performers, mostly from Ghana, that since its founding in 2002 has toured internationally and been the recipient of arts awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New England Foundation for the Arts. Their leader, Theo Martley, is in addition an accomplished teacher of African drumming, songs and dance. He has extensive experience working with children, engaging them in African rhythms, songs and dance, while at the same time helping them understand the underlying cultural significance. The Ensemble’s in-school workshops and performances have been supported by the New Hampshire State Art Council.
Roxey Ballet is a world class, all-inclusive contemporary ballet company that uses dance to build community and cultural bridges. In addition to a full season of professional performances, the company presents inspirational dance programs that show the interconnectedness of the arts with understanding human rights issues and abuses. Themes include the Holocaust, bullying, respect for diversity, the civil rights movement, people with disability, and substance abuse. Outside of performances, members of the troupe work individually with students, incorporating their writing into kinesthetic exercises, thereby bringing themes and understanding alive and personal.
Ms. Ramos, Director and Manager of Educational Services for Young Audiences of Rochester, is well known as an animated, uplifting and enthusiastic Latina, performing original and world tales spiced with dance, mime, a cornucopia of voices, and love of people. Ramos is a professional storyteller who uses stories to examine themes such as diversity, racism, bullying, multiculturalism and our environment. As a workshop leader, Ramos combines her skills as a performer and teacher to encourage participants to listen, use their language, to tell stories and, above all, to develop their own story. Her performances and presentations aimed at younger audiences entertain, teach and inspire children to reach their full potential. Working closely with Gertrude’s classes, students were immersed in figurative writings that later were presented at the annual Ripple of Hope Gala supper.