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Calabasa Calabasa Dancing and Making The Music of Life

Hotter Than July Deep Dive Workshops, July 26-28, 2024

Free- Registration Required
Experience African Diaspora dances, playing shekere, song, and body conditioning

in this 3-day workshop in Durham, NC

Friday 7/26 - 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM

Saturday 7/27-10 AM -3:30 PM


Sunday 7/28 -10 AM-3:30 PM

  Free/Registration required

Teaching Faculty

Calabasa Calabasa Director

Andrea E. Woods Valdés - Dance and Shekere

Lana Garland - Pilates/Body Conditioning

Shana Tucker - Vocal Work

Ra'Chel Fowler - Soul Line Dance

Oesa Vinesett- Afro-Cuban Folklore Dance

Bashir Shakur - Accompanist

Beverly Botsford - Accompanist

Lunch is provided on Saturday and Sunday

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Class Descriptions/Faculty Bios

Andrea E. Woods Valdés


Teaches a unique blend of modern dance shaped by African Diaspora movement that incorporates shekere playing and vocalwork into the dance style. In NYC, Woods Valdés performed as a member of Women of the Calabasa under the direction of Madeleine Yayodele Nelson. The formation of her group Calabasa Calabasa and dance-shekere-vocal work is a continuation of the WOTC legacy and an homage to Madeleine Yayodele Nelson.


Woods Valdés is a dancer/choreographer/video artist and musician. She is Director of the Duke University Dance Program, Souloworks/Andrea E. Woods & Dancers, and founder of wimmin@work, a series of interdisciplinary, intergenerational performance and teaching events that develop and facilitate the production of wimmin’s creative work, develop Black audiences, mentor and create space for new and developing teachers of African Diasporic-centered dance forms. Woods Valdés developed Calabasa Calabasa Deep Dive in 2021 to share the dance/shekere/vocal work and process and introduce other teachers, artists, and creatives committed to African Diaspora embodied liberating practices reflecting social justice awareness. Woods Valdés is currently in Ph.D. studies  (ABD) in Dance at Texas Women’s University.

Lana Garland


Lana Garland Fitness supports women who are struggling with consistency in their fitness journeys. We specialize in getting you up early in a safe and supportive virtual community. Our Zumba classes feature dances from the African and Latin diaspora. Our weights-HIIT-mobility training builds muscles and shreds fat. At the heart of the program is classical Pilates that strengthens core muscles, getting them in shape so that you can live your best life!

J. Ra’Chel Fowler

Soul Line Dancing

J. Ra’Chel began teaching soul line dance in February 2011. Ra’Chel firmly believes that “the difference between living and existing is “PASSION”.  She is a Consent-Forward performance Artist working in the Triangle. She is a Durham native and NCCU’s theatre department alum, holding additional advanced degrees in Criminal Justice and Forensic Psychology. As an actor and dancer, J. Ra’Chel's performances in live theater continue to captivate audiences. Notably, she is a founding member of the black-owned theatre company Reclaiming Our Time Productions, a testament to her commitment to diversity and representation in the Arts.


She has trained and performed with esteemed companies like Ayoluwa African Dance Ensemble, Cultural Movement, and the renowned Baba Chuck Davis' African American Dance Ensemble which shaped her into the dancer she is today. J. Ra'Chel's passion for dance is not just a hobby but a lifelong commitment she wholeheartedly nurtures.

Shana Tucker

Tapestry of Songwriting - Vocal Loops

In this session, we'll learn how to layer sounds to create a soundscape using rhythm, melody, and atmosphere, with the voice as the primary instrument. Cellist. Singer-Songwriter, Shana Tucker is an arts advocate, teaching artist, collaborator and cultural conduit. In each role, Shana Tucker is a builder-of-connections, whether she’s associating STEM concepts with backbeats or engaging a packed house through candid song-storytelling in performance. Shana's unique genre of ChamberSoul weaves jazz, roots, folk, acoustic pop, and a touch of R&B into melodies that echo in your head for days. A sought-after collaborator, Shana performs and records with legendary jazz saxophonist/composer Bennie Maupin, jazz flutist/composer Nicole Mitchell, Grammy-nominated NuSoul collective The Foreign Exchange, and countless others. Recent North Carolina dance/cello collaborations include They Are All, an exploration of living with Parkinson’s Disease, presented at American Dance Festival 2019 with Culture Mill choreographers Murielle Elizeon and Tommy Noonan; Continuing To Tell, a multidisciplinary public-space performance presented by Proxemic Media that highlights the history of Civil Rights in Durham, NC. A front-line advocate for arts education, Shana is an accomplished teaching artist, with over 20 years of experience with community engagement, workshops, lesson planning, and artist residency facilitation.

Oesa Vinesett

Afro-Cuban Folklore

This class will focus on foundational steps that incorporate syncopation, polyrhythms, and necessary subtleties to learn various Orisha dances. 

After ten years of practicing Capoeira with Capoeira Brasil, Oesa Savionne Vinesett transitioned her love of movement to dance. In school, she spent her time performing salsa and bachata with Sabor: Columbia University’s First Latino Dance Troupe and studying Afro-Cuban Orisha dance and rumba under her phenomenal mentor, Rebecca Bliss. For multiple years, Oesa also acted as a musical accompanist for her mother Ava Vinesett’s practical courses at Duke University, under the direction of her father, Richard Vinesett. She believes hands-on familiarity with polyrhythms is one of the absolute best ways to understand body movement, timing, and nuance. Oesa currently resides in Durham and is a member of the collective Indigo Yard Gals.

Bashir Shakur  

Percussionist/Class Accompanist 

Bashir Shakur is a percussionist, composer, performer, educator, and recording artist whose unique blend of improvisational, and traditional percussion can be found on his latest release entitled “Visible”, with acclaimed Zimbabwean dancer and singer Nora Chipoumare.

In addition to his work with Nora, Bashir has recorded, performed, and/or toured with an array of diverse artists including Chuck Davis, Camille Yarborough (foremother of Rap), DJ Grandmaster Flash, Michael Wimberly, Waley Reyes Jr. (drummer for Santana), The North Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra, Bessie award winner Jawole Jo Zollar and Reggae superstar Freddie McGregor. One of Bashir’s latest creations is his youth leadership program “Buckets and Beats”. Created in 2014 with funding from the Alvin Ailey Arts in Education program. Shakur developed a cost-effective, empowering, and fun 14-week percussion study with 3rd and 5th graders, using just two drumsticks and a bucket. Also playing with his acoustic Jazz, World, and Urban Music band “B-Shak Rhythm and Soul”. This quartet of adventurous musicians was assembled in 2012 and has been described as Be-bop Jazz, meets Afro-Beat, meets trance-inducing Urban Music. 


Shakur has been an artist-in-residence and or faculty member at many institutions including New York University Steinhart School of Education, Florida State University, Florida A&M University, Guilford College, American Dance Festival, Future Leaders Institute, Williams College and is currently on faculty at The Brooklyn Music School. In 2007 Shakur released his first solo album entitled “Steady Hands”.  Mr. Shakur would like to thank Allah for all his many gifts and blessings.

Beverly Botsford  

Percussionist/Class Accompanist 

Beverly Botsford is deeply committed to building bridges with music, movement and words. Embracing drumming traditions of Africa, Cuba, Brazil and North Carolina, she celebrates more than 40 years of professional experience teaching and performing in major venues all over the world.  Highlights include shows at the Kennedy Center, the Apollo and in Europe, Africa, Asia and Brazil.  Beverly has played on three Grammy nominated recordings (Nnenna Freelon) and performed for former President Obama.  Her music for dance experience includes work with the African American Dance Ensemble, (founding member) ADF, Duke Dance and projects with Donald McKayle, Ron Brown and Urban Bush Women. She has performed in Europe, Africa, Brazil, Asia and North Carolina!

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