A headshot of Ushini Niwetu

Dance (MFA)

Inspired by Katherine Dunham's theory of the memory of difference, Ushindi Niwetu is a dance artist, dance educator and choreographer who uses art to educate, connect and empower the African Diaspora. She is the founder and artistic director of Dance Afrikana, LLC, a professional dance company which exists to connect and celebrate Africa and the Diaspora through dance. She’s also a performing member of Pretty Cultured—an artistic collaboration of three professional dancers using art to speak on social and cultural topics. She’s the co-founder of Movement Passport, a bi-annual dance workshop that highlights cultural dance throughout the African Diaspora.

Niwetu has received numerous awards and recognition for her work including becoming a 2017-2018 Dance Source Houston Artist in Residence which culminated in an evening-length production of her original choreography and poetry on film entitled Eleggua. Additionally, she graduated from the Artist INC program for artist-entrepreneurs and developed a partnership with Young Audiences of Houston, wherein she worked as both a choreographer and a playwright to bring cultural and historical educational performances to Houston’s youth. She was a 2019-2020 artist in residence at Project Row Houses, is a recipient of the Houston Arts Alliance City’s Initiative Grant (2019), and a fiscally sponsored artist for Fresh Arts.

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