Native to Eugene Oregon, Alaja Badalich or “Laj”, first studied at Oregon Ballet Academy at the age of 4. Throughout her years at OBA, she also studied at many summer ballet programs in and outside of the United States. Alaja trained in classical ballet for many years, and in her teens began to find a great interest in improvisation and contemporary technique.
At 16, she moved across the country to study at the University of North Carolina School of the Art’s modern program, where she studied Graham, Limón, Cunningham, and counter technique. That spring, she studied at flex Studios in her hometown, while finishing her junior year and competing for NAACP ACT-SO National Convention.
In 2018, she began her dance studies in San Francisco at the Alonzo King Lines Ballet training program. She is now a recent graduate of the program, and guest teaches at Flex Studios. She has choreographed competitive soloists, training program works, and for San Francisco public school programs.
She enforces in her technique classes that “Everything you do will be the right thing” a quote from Christian Burns, one of her mentors from the LINES program. She also believes that as long as you trust the process, surrender to serenity and find your balance, you will find that everything you are looking for is right inside of you, there is nothing to prove but everything to share.”
Originally from Johannesburg, Michael Moloi was raised performing cultural dances, including Gumboots, Pantsula, and traditional Zulu dancing. around the villages of his hometown. Michael was performing by the age of eleven and eventually went on to join his dance group, Via Katlehong, in which he not only danced but also acted as the the artistic director and choreographer. Via Katlehong performed nationally and internationally, spreading stories about traditions, South African culture, life during apartheid, and more. Michael was invited to perform for The Beatles "LOVE " Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas, Nevada. There he was a solo Gumboots dancer and a character performer for eleven years. During the Summer, Michael works to empower and engage under-served youth through circus and theater arts outreach programs with the non-profit Prescott Circus Theater in Oakland, California. He also performs in the Circus in the Parks program with San Francisco's Circus Bella, aimed at making entertainment accessible to everyone, which includes yearly performances in The Yerba Buena Gardens Festival. Michael also works with The University Of Oregon Foreign Language and International Studies Department teaching Gumboots dance and Zulu language. He worked with WATTSOUL, an international hip hop dance festival teaching pantsula dance and choreography, he also teaches at Rise arts academy. He resides in Eugene, Oregon and works with Denbaya drum and dance.
John Munyaradzi Mambira is involved in many forms of art - acting, singing, dancing and playing music, from regions of southern Africa including Botswana, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. He has worked with various groups, both amateur and professional, and has taught workshops at many festivals. As the leader of the musical group, Bongo Love, he is a phenomenal drummer, marimba player, and singer with a wide vocal range.
Rati Dangarembwa is a Zimbabwean vocalist born and raised in the second capital city of Bulawayo, which is very rich in all forms of art. At a tender age she found herself drawn to the school choir where she realized her love and passion for choral music harmonizing voices and never looked back. Her first professional break came in 2013 when she traveled with Zimbabwean Nobuntu acapella sensation to Austria and Germany where the audiences were wowed by the Southern African harmonies. A year later she was on her way to the US with a band called Bongo Love as a backup vocalist, where she traveled around the US with an African circus performing at colleges, universities, and performance theaters. Her dream is to work with young children with mentoring young girls being her main focus and believes that acapella has the power of unifying people from different walks of life.
Fodé Sylla is a dancer and drummer from Guinea, West Africa. He teaches mixed-level drumming and dancing classes, including traditional and Afro-beat.
Follow our Facebook Page for more information on current classes and events.