Teaching Artists

Abené Barefield

Hip Hop Dance Instructor

Abene started dancing in 6th grade with Sahala Dance Company in El Cerrito, and dove into the modern and contemporary dance opportunities around her. By the time she was in El Cerrito High School’s dance production class, she was recruited by the Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company, and loved the mix of modern and hip hop that the Company offered.

As an Assistant Instructor with the Destiny Junior Company and youth hip hop classes, Abene loves getting to know her students, and her teaching goes beyond choreography. Anyone could learn a dance, but teaching for her is about supporting young people’s confidence – supporting the holistic experience of a dancer. Abene splits her focus between working with Destiny and supporting and building her family. She loves learning from kids, and hopes that when kids rule the world, at least they’ll be cool with her.

Alonzo Young

Martial Arts Instructor

Instructor Alonzo Young: Martial Artist, Dancer and Media Architect, began his somatic training early as a youth in dance (later becoming a professional dancer with the Clifford Fears Dance Company) and as a martial artist in Kenpo and White Crane Styles while living in Detroit, MI. While living in Detroit Alonzo became a member of the Golden Fist (an international martial arts association) where he studied with a various martial artist and styles under the umbrella of brotherhood and friendship. From these humble beginnings Alonzo Young has studied, practiced and taught the martial arts now for over 35 years throughout Asia and the United States. He has received various accolades and recognitions. Mr. Young has Black Belts and instructor certifications in Aikido, Tai Chi, Kenpo and White Lotus Gung Fu. In addition to his martial arts training, he is a certified IMPACT Bay Area (personal self defense) instructor, leadership/management development trainer, as well as, a Non-Violent Communication (NVC) and Conscious EmbodimentLeadership coach.


Anisah Abdullah

Hip Hop Dance Instructor

Anisah was introduced to Destiny in 2006, and joined Destiny Art’s Youth Performance Company in 2011 for two season. Her craft is rooted in Afro-Brazilian dance. Although she has been in the artistic world for the majority of her life, her relationship with Destiny has inspired deeper intention in all of her artistic practices, which include painting and the art of learning. Anisah started dancing when she was four years old, taking classes at the Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts (then Alice Arts Center), and has been dancing ever since. She is also training to be a doula with Birth Professionals of the Bay.

Anthony Daniels

Martial Arts Instructor

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.

CarmenLeah Ascencio

Youth Movement Group Leader

CarmenLeah Ascencio, LCSW, MPH, RYT is a Public Health Social Worker who specializes in working with survivors of violence and abuse and queer and trans youth of color. She is a group leader for Destiny’s Moving in the Movement art-actionist project for queer and trans youth in Oakland. Outside of Destiny, she directs Get Free, a Black Girl Dangerous program for queer and trans youth of color. CarmenLeah has over 12 years clinical and program management experience working in domestic and international non-profits with a focus on partner abuse, sexual violence, the commercial sexual exploitation of children, refugee resettlement, and positive youth development. She has worked for agencies such as GEMS in New York City, the International Rescue Committee, the Center for Global Health and Development at Boston University, Apne Aap Women Worldwide in Delhi, India, the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, and the Violence Recovery Program at Fenway Health. CarmenLeah is a Kripalu certified yoga teacher and teaches yoga for anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder and is a trained Theatre of the Oppressed facilitator. She integrates artistic, spiritual, and body centered practices into her therapeutic and transformative work. CarmenLeah is a proud Boricua 2nd generation queer femme.



Cera Byer

Hip Hop Dance Instructor

Cera Byer was born and raised in San Francisco’s diverse performing arts community. With a background that spans Musical Theater, Jazz, Lyrical, Ballet, Hip Hop, Bellydance, Classical Persian, Indian, Flamenco, Afro-Caribbean, Samba, and more, she brings a unique fusion approach to dancing and choreographing.
Cera has been taking classes in dance, music, and theater, since she was 4 years old, and for the past several years has been blessed to teach, perform, and choreograph all over the world. Her favorite thing about teaching dance is helping each dancer unlock their own personal flavor, style, strength, and ferocity.
Cera holds a degree in Dance Performance and Choreography with a focus in World Music and Dance from San Francisco State University, and her favorite ninja turtle is Donatello.

Destiny succeeds in instilling a sense of respect for fellow human beings.

Avi Jacobson