“Dance is Life”
Meet Akosua Akoto
In the age of Afrobeats, the majority of movers are bringing the contemporary spotlight to African dance. Akosua Akoto, grounded in tradition, is bringing African dance to the contemporary spotlight. Born and raised in Washington DC, Akosua is a product of Ghanaian culture, the lessons learned from an upbringing in a traditional Senegalese ballet, and a hint of life in the Caribbean. She made her first appearance on stage at age 3. Her early work in choreography and dance instruction began at age 13 for a collection of after school programs in theWashington DC Metropolitan area. She taught her first adult West African dance class at age 15, an achievement that would jump start her career in choreography. Akosua’s undergraduate career at Howard University is a melting pot of both exercise science and an introduction to the world of modern dance under the tutelage of Dr. Sheryl B Johnson, the pioneer Akosua credits for her ability to excel in the business of dance while maintaining the integrity of the art. She founded ASA! Enterprises in LLC- an umbrella company covering one of the first international African dance fitness programs, a line of sport and dance apparel, a group fitness certification, the SBJ Dance and Mentorship program and the ASA! BodyPersonal Training Studio. Akosua is known for propelling the culture of Afrobeat dance through its origins. Her expertise in both traditional and contemporary West African dance styles has birthed a technique that combines the old with the new; a refreshing and unique style that has allowed her to travel the world offering a fresh yet familiar perspective on the culture of African dance.
In this episode, Koya and Akosua talk about Akosua’s beginnings as a dancer from 3 years old to becoming a cultural ambassador for African dance. Akosua shares various obstacles she overcame to share traditional African dance in the commercial world of dance and the culture shock of working in the fitness industry. Akosua will surprise you with her candid personal journey of how she has kept going through her biggest challenges.
Get Loved Up with Akosua Akoto
I absolutely love this interview. I appreciate Akosua’s reminder to, “Keep Going,” which is a mantra Get Loved Up lives by as well. She’s truly inspiring, and I hope that you find value in what she shared with us. If so, please tag her, @asafitness, and me, @koyawebb, on Instagram with a screenshot of the episode and your best takeaways. Knowing that you’ve learned something from us inspires us to continue making a positive impact in this world.
Until next time, love — allow yourself to heal, so it’ll lead you to personal transformation.
- Started dancing at 3 (1:36)
- Moving from traditional African dance to the commercial world of dance (4:30)
- Being a cultural ambassador (6:15)
- Overcoming stereotypes (8:50)
- Culture shock in the fitness industry (11:48)
- The “Keep Going” mindset (16:04)
- “Where we’re from spirit comes first and circumstances second.” (20:00)
- “A good trainer doesn’t make you exhausted, they make you better.” (22:56)
- Try to heal first (25:40)
- Athletes training properly (28:10)
- Don’t compare yourself to pro athletes (36:18)
- The Outside Dance Fitness Program (31:33)
- Certifying new teachers (34:00)
- Stepping into the spotlight (35:25)
- Dancing through the pandemic (43:30)
- Akosua’s world (47:12)
Links mentioned in this episode:
- Akosua’s ASA! Certification
- Order Koya’s book Let Your Fears Make You Fierce