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SBJ, an organization named for dance  pioneer Dr. Sherill B. Johnson, was established in 2014 out of the need for more specific and dedicated dance training for youth as the conservators of African culture.  SBJ was created by ASA! founder and dance instructor, Akosua Akoto, MS. who was moved by her passion for traditional African dance and the preservation of culture in it's truest form.  The SBJ program's mission is to facilitate the growth and development of well rounded and educated indivudals by providing both dance training and mentorship. Participants learn  history, cultural significance,  technique, and methods of physical conditioning,  rehabilitation and injury prevention. Participants are challenged with a focus on discipline, perseverance, focus, healthy body image, and overall presentation through dance. This program will create skilled dancers with the knowledge and capability to practice and perpetuate West African tradition as presented through the art of dance.

"Watching my grand-daughters and nieces in SBJ classes reassured me that their understanding of the body's function and purpose in dance and the capabilities of their personal bodies would help them grow and develop into master dancers and teachers of any style of dance if that was their choice.  Their connection to and respect for African traditions, customs, culture, and history grew with every experience.  SBJ embodies the vision of its namesake and ensures that dancers are scholars as well as rhythmic beings who do so much more than entertain"

Makini Niliwaambieni



  • Body awareness, alignment and posture

  • Muscular strength and endurance

  • Cardiovascular strength and endurance

  • Discipline and tenacity

  • Confidence and self-awareness

  • Traditional and contemporary dance technique

  • Humility and drive

  • Culture and History

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