Rhythm & Percussion Instructor
Aaron is teaching artist, performer and “Rhythmologist” who has lived in the Bay since 2002. He has travelled the world as drummer for the genre defying group Rupa and the April Fishes since 2006, sharing bills with Manu Chao, The Coup, and Michael Franti.
In 2015, he joined the San Francisco Mime Troup for their “Freedomland” summer tour addressing police violence in African American communities, and also currently plays with the Jazz Mafia, Mercury Falls and several local singers such as Emily Afton and Naima Shalhoub, with who he recorded a live album with in San Francisco County Jail in 2015.
As a teaching artist, Aaron works with several other organizations such as Performing Arts Workshop and LEAP in addition to his own rhythm event organization called RhythmALLogy. In his work he particularly focuses on working with marginalized communities to empower themselves by using group rhythm and movement practices.
Since 2014, he has volunteered monthly drum workshops for Bread and Roses, a 100 year old organization dedicated to uplifting the human spirit by providing free live quality entertainment to people who live in institutions or are otherwise isolated from society. His dedication to youth empowerment has also manifested in an ongoing mentorship relationship with a 13 year boy in East Oakland through the East Bay Agency For Children (EBAC).
West African Dance Instructor
Afia-Fareeda Thompson received her acclaim 20 years ago in West African Dance and has since performed nationally and internationally in other genres such as jazz, hip-hop, lindy hop, freestyle, and modern dance. She is constantly refining her skills and versatility as a performer, through yearly conferences, workshops and performances. Ms. Thompson has been exposed to dance, drama, and musical theatre, adding a more finished touch to her skill level. She has taught classes in the Oakland community for 10 years, to professional dancers and dance enthusiast ranging from 5 to 65 years of age. Afia and her daughter Nafi Watson-Thompson founded Bahiya Movement in 2011. As directors, the dynamic mother/daughter duo fuse hip-hop, jazz, modern, and African dance to create an electrifying, energetic movement. Afia & Nafi’s vision for Bahiya Movement is to cross and break all barrier lines regarding body image and self-esteem through the art of dance. Their goal is to show the world that it’s not about your body size or type that defines you as a dancer, but rather the skill, technical training, creativity and love of the art that does.
Hip Hop Dance Instructor
Amber has always had a strong artistic and musical influence. She’s been involved in Musical Theatre, various dance crews, and has performed all over California. She is eager to witness other young folks pursue their passions and interests in the arts and believes that art is very influential on the development and growth of children and adults.
Amber grew up in the South Bay, but once she discovered the beauty and art of the East Bay she quickly developed a strong and deep connection with the community. She has over 9 years of experience working with a non-profit organization that advocated violence prevention and positive recreational activities, and has served as an event coordinator, mentor to the youth and facilitator. She is also a dancer in Mix’d Ingrdnts, an all female collective dance company that stands for empowering women and kids to express themselves through art and dance.
Hip Hop Instructor
Anisah Abdullah is an Oakland Native Artivist and Healer. She teaches Aerial Movement, Dance, and Yoga in the Bay Area as well as performs. Her foundation in Ballet and Afro-Brazilian dance has inspired her movement quality and teaching syllabus to be deeply individual to each dancer, as it is their personal free-form movement that will connect them to the greater community of expression. Anisah believes that art is vital to the healing and liberation of all people and hopes to contribute both throughout her life’s work.
Head Martial Arts Instructor/Co-Founder
Sifu Anthony is one of Destiny’s founding members, and has taught martial arts, youth leadership, self-defense and conflict resolution to youth of all ages for over 20 years at Destiny and in many other after-school programs in the Bay Area, including the California School for the Blind, Job Corps, the Chestnut Court Housing Projects, and Parks and Recreation programs. Sifu Anthony holds a first-degree black belt in Judo and a fifth degree black belt in Wu Chien Pai Kung Fu. Sifu Daniels has taught martial arts at Destiny since 1988. He started studying at age 13 and received his Black Belt in Kung Fu in 1982 and in Judo in 1988. He has over 20 years experience teaching youth and adults throughout the US, in Switzerland and Mexico.
Gabriel Christian (t(he)y;(t)him) is a performer, teaching artist, poet, student and archivist born in NYC and blissed out in the East Bay. Apart from four regional and Off-Broadway productions, he’s supported and performed in works from Topsy Turvy Queer Circus (2016), WePlayers (2015), artist Tamar Ettun’s The Moving Company (2014) and The Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards (2013-2014). As of 2015, they have primarily served as their femme ego-companion Derrierykah Badu at The Stud and Aunt Charlie’s in San Francisco, CA, as well as having exhibited in the collaborative show “Property Laws” at Madame of the Arts in Minneapolis, MN. This past spring, they were one of the nine flagship queer performance artists in residence at the Destiny Arts Center as part of QEAR, where they first became aware and stoked on Destiny’s work. Apart from teaching, upcoming projects include: The Brothers Size (Eureka Theater, September 2016) and independent film work in Mexico City.