Rhythms and Motions of Africans in the Diaspora Drumming and Dance Festival – 2023 Performers.

Cleo Parker-Robinson Dance

Cleo Parker-Robinson


Currently celebrating its 53rd Anniversary Season, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance is an international institution rooted in African American traditions and the legacy of the Diaspora, providing cross-cultural performances and enrichment programs – empowering community through healthy mind, body, and spirit development for all people. 

Viewing dance as a universal language that transcends boundaries of culture, class, and age, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance honors diversity and inclusiveness throughout the global community. 

Koffi Togo and the Pan-African “Ensemble”

Koffi Togo and the Pan-African “Ensemble is a group of professional West African musicians and dancers based in Colorado aiming to educate, inspire and entertain through African culture. Rejuvenation guaranteed! 

PJ Curtis (Midnight Poet)

Author, spoken word artist, host, workshop facilitator, and mentor Philip J. Curtis is a native of Brooklyn, New York with roots in Jamaica West Indies, who arrived on the Colorado Springs poetry scene in 2006 bringing with him a brand of New York City straightforwardness and swag along with the sensual sun of Jamaica West Indies.  Mr. Curtis is the Founder of Poetry 719.  Phil aka Midnight recently published his first book entitled, What’s It All For? which covers over forty years of writing and performing.  You can follow Mr. Curtis on IG midnightpoet00

Santemu Aakhu

Santemu Aakhu has many gifts to share. She is a musician, poet, singer, song writer, actor, and  storyteller.  As a storyteller, Santemu has worked with School systems, as well as Museums, Zoos, also social and recreational organizations and private parties, giving performances as well as workshops.

Ms Aakhu has been storytelling for more than thirty-five years. Her background in education and business, along with music and stage experience makes her presentations in storytelling exceptional.

Jayla Higgs

image of Jayla Higgs with her new book
Jayla Higgs with her new book “One More First Time”

Jayla Higgs Book Release

One More First Time: A reflection of the world and teenage life through poems

Poetry author, volleyball player, entrepreneur/business owner, and hair stylist Jayla Higgs lifts
up the world and supports them in choosing to embrace their feelings. She inspires individuals
to become the adolescent versions of themselves and remember how to feel again. Jayla
strives for other people like her to use their voice and to not be limited by any factors, all of
which are negligible. By sharing her feelings about the world through her lens, it provides
emotion behind the racism happening in today’s world and elaborates on feelings of heartbreak
and growing love. She is a confident, brilliant, compassionate, goal-driven role model and writer
to her peers. Jayla iterates in her poems that it’s time to have one more first time!

Norma Johnson

Norma Johnson

Norma Johnson is a healer, inspirationalist, poetic storyteller and racial justice catalyst who brings a creative background into her distinctive presentation form of activism and education. She presents and facilitates across a dynamic range of organizations, institutions, faith communities, educational forums and more. Her poetry about race is used enthusiastically by educators across the country and featured in racial justice courses and trainings. Norma’s storytelling inspires awareness and insight and the power we have, to bring paths of healing to our future.

Spirit of Grace

Spirit of Grace (S.O.G.) is a gospel group made up of members who are on fire for
the Lord. Members include: C. Larea Edwards, Tonicia London, Shamae Williams &
Christin Grant. Their original music is inspired by the Holy Scripture and their
personal walks with God. You will find that each member has a unique
perspective from which they pour out their praise.

Queen Mother Leona Abdullah Allen

Queen Mother Leona Abdullah Allen is the owner of In-Balance Dance Therapy Studio, a community-driven space dedicated to promoting health and wellness among the African American community. After dedicating 22 years to a military career and retiring, she began her journey to opening In-Balance. 

With a focus on dance and movement, they offer a range of classes designed to help individuals of all levels achieve their fitness goals while having fun. Her mission is to empower and uplift the community through movement and connection!

Ethiopian Youth Dancers of Colorado

Ethiopian Youth Dancers of Colorado is a traditional Ethiopian cultural dance group based out of St. Mary’s Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Denver.

Keduse Abuhay-Tsion Abuhay-Bethanya Simon-Rebecca Shawul-Billen Lemma-Zion Admasse-Melate Fekadu Alemu-Tsion Zekarias-Daggim Desta-Nardos Endale-Fanuel Wolday-Etsub Worku-Bilal Simon-Ayman Tahir-Yoel Mesfin.

Ent Center for the Arts, 5225 N Nevada Ave, Colorado Springs, CO 80918

August 19, 2023