About HDE /
This online studio is dynamically designed to enhance, develop and support your dance journey. Inside HDE I share with you my experience gained from performing, teaching, and studying around the globe, including nearly 20 years focused on West African and other African based dances.
As a cultural ambassador to the dances I work with, I hold myself and students accountable to respect and acknowledge the culture, history, and social context of the dances we practice. Part of our “classroom contract” is to approach this practice with reverence, a desire and willingness to grow, learn, and of course, to enjoy the process! With the utmost respect for African cultures, their diaspora and descendants from which we have the honor to learn from, is where our dance begins.
Much of my movement technique is strongly founded in West African traditional dances, with particular focus in Manding Djembe and Wolof Sabar dance, and it’s important to understand that these traditional movements and styles have been taught to me by my master teachers, and are not my own movements that I created. The movements come from specific ethnic groups with cultural origins, many of which may be traced to groups of people rather than a single artist or creator.
While I do create my own choreographies, and develop my own somatic vocabulary based on my research over the years across many genres of dance, many of the foundational movements I include in my approach to Afro Fusion Dance are based in traditional or African ballet style. More of the popular and contemporary styles of Afro/African dance movements, those that are created in more recent decades, are more traceable to specific creators or subcultures.
I am forever grateful to her teachers who have inspired me to develop my craft, and would like to acknowledge the strong influences of dance and music from Guinea, Congo, Senegal, Ivory Coast and Mali, that are a few who have strongly informed my dance foundation.
Instructor Bio /
Abagail is a performer, choreographer, and instructor of African based traditional and street dances. She specializes in Senegalese Sabar, Guinea Djembe, and a practice of Afro Fusion dances. She also studies Congolese dance, Dancehall, Coupé Décalé, Kuduro, Afro House, among other genres. Since 2004, she has traveled extensively throughout Guinea, Senegal, Ghana, and the Ivory Coast to study with renowned artists and African ballet companies. She’s had the privilege to train in classical and popular dances of the African diaspora since 1999, and continues to refine her craft with masters in African dance and music from around the world.
As a performer, Abagail is an international artist. In 2017 she was a featured soloist dancer for Youssou N’Dour at Bercy Arena in Paris, France. She’s performed solo dance work at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, and the Redcat/Disney Cal Arts Theater in Los Angeles. She’s performed ensemble work at the San Francisco Yerba Buena Center, the Ford Theater, and UCLA’s Fowler Museum, among other renowned venues.
As an educator and instructor, Abagail has taught master classes and residencies at the New York Film Academy in New York City, the University of Otago in New Zealand, Google headquarters in California, and the University of California Los Angeles.