It is the mission of Zawadi Dance to enhance the souls and minds of young men, women, boys and girls of our community through traditional African dance, music, song and history. It is the desire of this company to encourage self-confidence and discipline so that the members can apply these skills to their own lives in order to become responsible, productive citizens. We strive to provide a rich environment with the cultural arts of our ancestors. Zawadi Dance feels that every child has the gift of talent. Enlight of the history of Africans in the country, it is our wish to reconnect our children to an ancient culture that is their birth right. It is our belief that in order to progress, we must know that we came from love, strength and wisdom.
Born and raised in Jersey City, NJ. Her professional dancing career began in 1982 with the Suliman Dance Company. After college Karen felt a need to give back to her community, so she started teaching African dance to the Girl Scouts of America in Jersey City. She was so inspired from watching the youth learns and enjoy the art of their heritage that she founded her very own Zawadi School of African Dance which has been in existence for 10 years and is still going strong.
Karen was a principal dancer with Maimouna Keita School of African dance, Umoja Dance Company, Message From our Ancestors and Universal Languages. She has free-lanced her dance talent with various other companies and organizations. Karen was the director of African dance for Sankofa Dance Theater by way of African Globe based out of Newark, NJ. She has performed throughout the United States and in July 2004 has had the pleasure of bringing her performing arts company to St. Croix, Virgin Island, where the company performed at the University of the Virgin Island and St. Croix most famous Island Center. Karen has appeared in Njinga, the Queen King and Color Girls who Committed Suicide. Karen has shared her gifted dancing skills with the Brooklyn’s very own Brooklyn Academy of Music during Dance Africa, the teaching Artist Program at New Jersey Performing Art Center (NJPAC), Sankofa Dance Company of the Virgin Island and many other schools, colleges, retirement parties, weddings, funerals and scholarship ceremonies.
One of Karen’s greatest aspiration is to enhance the souls and minds of the community through traditional African dance, song and history. She also endeavors to develop our youth into being culturally motivated and aware, respectful of themselves, others and most of all their elders.
Karen believes that she has found a way to honor our ancestors and dedicates each performance to all of those who have left their mark in society.
Karen thanks her family, friends, students and most of all her husband and children for their support, encouragement and understanding for her dream of dance.