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.

About our Founder /

Abagail Fritz is a Los Angeles-based creative director, choreographer, performer, and educator focusing on West African traditional, popular, and street dances, and a combination of styles in Afro Contemporary. She specializes in Senegalese Sabar dance, Guinean-Mande Djembe dance, and a method of Afro Fusion Dance and Afro Contemporary where she integrates African and Diaspora genres, including traditional and popular Congolese dances, Dancehall, Coupé Décalé, Afro House, House, and Kuduro.  She started her studies of African dance in the late 1990s and continues to refine her craft by studying and working with masters in African dance and music from around the world. Since 2004, she has traveled throughout West Africa including Guinea, Senegal, Ghana, and the Ivory Coast to study with renowned artists and African ballet companies. Amidst her travels, Abagail confronts her White identity and learns all aspects of the cultures she practices, ensuring complete authenticity and appreciation of the communities she’s involved with. 

As the creative director of Mid City Arts Center, Abagail focuses on producing the space for international artists to invest in roots-based world dance. She also carries this intention as a Professor of Dance at Pomona College and AMDA College of the Performing Arts Los Angeles. As an educator, she has taught workshops and residencies at the New York Film Academy in New York City, the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, Google headquarters in Mountain View, CA, the University of California Los Angeles, and the University of California Riverside. 

As a producer and choreographer, Abagail fulfills all stage and camera ventures, including music videos, commercials, and concert dances. She has directed full-length dance productions for stage in San Francisco at CounterPulse and the Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts in Oakland, California.  

As an international performer, Abagail has been featured across 8 countries. In 2022 and 2017 she was a featured dancer for world-renowned African artist, Youssou N’Dour, at Bercy Arena in Paris, France. Currently, Abagail tours internationally as a choreographer and principal dancer with singer, Gala Rizatto, performing for the 2023 FIFA World Cup among other arenas on the Eastern globe. In the United States, Abagail has performed solo dance work at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, and the Redcat/Disney Cal Arts Theater in Los Angeles. She has performed ensemble work at the San Francisco Yerba Buena Center, the Ford Theater, UCLA’s Fowler Museum, and the Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts, among other renowned venues.

Abagail is forever grateful to her teachers from whom she's developed her craft. She would like to acknowledge the strong influences of dance and music from Guinea, Congo, Zimbabwe, Senegal, and Mali, that have informed her dance foundations.

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