Company Members

  • Daaimah Taalib-Din

    African Dance Captain

    Daaimah’s personal and spiritual relationship to her artistry has made her a most sought after performer, teacher and choreographer in the United States and abroad.  With family roots in Bermuda and having been raised in Harlem, New York City, Daaimah was surrounded by the diverse and colorful expressivity of African and contemporary dance forms.  She has studied Malian, Guinean, Senegalese and fusion styles under such dance notables as Karen Thornton, Crystal Harrison, Nafisa Sharrif, Abdel R. Salaam, Mouminatou Camara and Ismael Kouyate.  Additionally, she learned various hip-hop styles in the unofficial conservatory of New York City.  Her gifts have earned her such distinctions as principal dancer and Traditional Dance Captain of Forces of Nature Dance Theatre (Artistic Director: Abdel R. Salaam), and principal dancer and Rehearsal Director for Seewe African Dance Company (Artistic Director: Mouminatou Camara).  Her film credits include Step Up 3D, and she has performed at such internationally renowned venues as the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, the Apollo Theater, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Harlem Stage/Aaron Davis Hall and Black Dance USA.

  • Denica Abdur-Razzaaq

    Born and raised in Harlem with family roots in Bermuda, Denica began as a Hip-Hop dancer and started studying the art of West African Dance eighteen years ago under Karen Thornton. She also credits her Traditional training to Nafisa Sharriff and Mouminatou Camara. Denica joined Forces of Nature in August of 2002, and is also a company member of Seewe African Dance Company and Asabi N’goma Dance Theatre. She has taught classes & workshops throughout NYC and currently teaches at the Vanderbilt YMCA. She has own company D.A.R. Essence of Life and is a board member of Entering the Holy of Holies, a Spiritual and Educational organization, founded by Nafisa Sharriff

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  • Ashley Victoria Brown

    Ashley Brown received her early dance training at the Ruth Williams Dance Studio. There she gained training in Tap, Modern/Jazz, West African, Ballet and Pointe.  Ashley continued her study of dance at the Dance Theatre of Harlem, USDAN for the Performing Arts and the Uptown Dance Studio, where she was a principle dance member. Ashley received her Bachelors degree in Public Relations with a minor in Political Science from the State University of New York at Oswego. Aside from dance Ashley is developing her career in the Public Relations field and currently expanding her modeling career. Ashley is honored to be involved in a company with such amazing people whom she is able to learn from inside and outside of the studio and embraces every moment and hopes to continue learning from these talented group of dancers.

  • Cimone N. Graves

    Cimone is a native of Brooklyn, NY. Her teachers/training include Jamel Gaines, Obediah Wright, Wilhemina Taylor. Taking a step back from the arts to pursue her B.S. in Health Science, she knew that there was a missing piece in her puzzle. Returning to NYC, she began hip-hop training working with Torey Nelson/The Vixens and JoiLynn Productions. She feels honored to be given the opportunity to share the stage with Forces of Nature.

  • Jason Herbert

    A New York Native. Fela! Equity National Tour, Boston Conservatory, Alvin Ailey School, Martha Graham School. TV/Film includes NBC “Late Night with Conan O’Brien”, MTV’s “Daddy’s Girls”, Fox Searchlight’s Lifted and Indep. Film: Something Whispered. Companies: Philadanco!, Ballet Noir, Forces of Nature Dance Theater. He thanks his loved ones and mentors for years of love and support.

  • Alexis Johnson

    Alexis began her journey through dance at Marygrove College where she received her bachelors degree in dance theatre performance. While attending Marygrove College she trained wiith Penny Godboldo in the Horton and Duhnam technique, and Jordeen Ivanoff Ericson in the Vagonava technique. Her extended training comes from Alvin Ailey summer intensive and The Katherine Duhnam seminars. During her professional career she has had the opportunity to perform with Stevie Wonder, John Legend, Joss Stone, India Arie, and now Forces of Nature Dance Theater.

  • Natiya Kezevadze

    Natiya was born in Tbilisi, Georgia where she started her ballet training. At age 13 she was accepted to Vaganova Ballet Academy in Saint-Petersburg, Russia as a fellowship student. While at VBA, she performed with the Kirov Theatre, dancing both classical and character repertory. After receiving her BFA degree, she joined she Boris Eifman Ballet.  In 2004 Natiya moved to New York to further her career in contemporary dance. While in New York City, she danced for numerous companies including Forces of Nature Dance Theater. From 2007 – 2012 she was a member of Complexions Contemporary Ballet. Natiya is very thrilled to be back with Forces of Nature and dance for Abdel and to share the stage with the company.

  • Courtney J. Lewis

    Courtney is a native of Queens, New York where she began classical training at Dance Theatre of Harlem at the age of three. While continuing her dance training at DTH, she was accepted into LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and SUNY Purchase dance programs. She has been given the opportunity to work with choreographers such as Arthur Mitchell, Robert Garland, Zvi Gotheiner, Janis Brenner, Troy Brown, Hope Boykin, Kevin Wynn, and Sidra Bell. She joined Forces of Nature Theatre in 2006.

  • Melissa Padham

    Melissa holds a BFA from SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance and an MSC from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London. Miss Padham has been dancing with Forces of Nature since 2005. Additionally, Melissa is a member of Darrah Carr Dance and co-founder of Isis Movement Company. Miss Padham is currently an MFA candidate at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.

  • Jae Ponder

    Jae is an around the way Brooklyn girl, with no prior dance training until her college years at Hofstra University under Dyane Harvey-Salaam. Here, she embarked and added on an enticingly new career path. After graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations/Marketing in 2007, Jae has since made full use of her freshly discovered talents, performing with the likes of Eve, Sean Paul, Jeremih, and Ne-Yo under hip-hop choreographer Tanisha Scott. Soon after, Jae was invited personally to sign with Bloc NY who has since opened the window of acting, aiding Jae in tv commercial work, feature music videos, and film projects in the making including a national PUMA campaign ad and work with Kanye West. Jae joined Forces of Nature Dance Company under Abdel & Dyane Salaam, pushing the envelope to do all things possible. In the past year, Jae Ponder has been on the move, maybe moving in a city near you.

  • Britney Sandifer

    Britney is a native New Yorker who began training in Harlem at Harlem School of the Arts and Ruth Williams dance studio. She received a scholarship to the School of American Ballet as well as Ballet Hispanico, and was later accepted into the Professional Performing Arts School where she trained at the Ailey School. Britney recently received her B.F.A. in dance and choreography from California Institute of the Arts. Over the years she has had the pleasure to work with Troy Powell, Jean Emile, Olga Bazilevskaya, Pat Graney and Andre Tyson. Currently Britney is teaching with Harlem’s Children Zone at the Armory, The Little Gym of Harlem and Ruth Williams Dance Studio.

  • Nabowire “Nabz” Stokes

    Nabz is a dance artist originally from Brooklyn, NY. She has trained extensively in modern, African, ballet, jazz, and Hip-Hop and has a steadily growing passion and dedication to the life of dance. She received her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from Howard University and has been blessed to dance with many artist and companies including Deeply Rooted Dance Theatre, Creative Outlet Dance Theatre of Brooklyn, Shirley Black-Brown, Pat Thomas, Louis Johnson, Ronald K. Brown, and Urban Bush Women. Nabowire is grateful for this opportunity to work with Forces of Nature Dance Theatre and loves growing with new experiences. She thanks Olodumare for the gift of dance and seeks to continually develop and grow within her artistry.

  • Tricia Taitt

    A Brooklyn, NY native with origins in Trinidad & Tobago, W.I., Tricia began dancing at the age of five and trained with Bernice Johnson in ballet, jazz and tap. In college she trained in dance styles of the African diaspora and performed with African Rhythms Dance & Drum Ensemble of Philadelphia. She graduated with a BS in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, pursued a MBA from Duke University and worked on Wall Street but she never lost her passion for dance. Dance credits include: Fela! Equity National Tour, American Dance Festival, Dance Africa NY, Dance Africa Texas, African American Dance Ensemble (Dir: Charles “Chuck” Davis). She joined Forces of Nature Dance Theatre in 2007 and remains a part of the ‘family’ due to Abdel and Dyane Harvey-Salaam’s continued support and guidance.

  • Charmian Wells

    Charmian has been a dancer with Forces of Nature Dance Theatre since 2005. She is the co-founder and artistic director of Refractions Dance Collective and has served as the rehearsal director for the site-specific piece Angels and Accordions. She is currently an adjunct professor of dance at Lehman College. She received her B.F.A. from NYU Tisch Dance and is pursuing scholarly interests from her recent M.A. from NYU Tisch Performance Studies.

  • L. “Mimi’ Woods

    L. Woods better known as “Mimi” to her family and friends, has been dancing since the age of six. She began her formal training (with her mom’s enthusiastic encouragement) at the Ruth Williams Dance Studio, where she studied Ballet, Modern, African, and Jazz for 12 years. During this time, she also studied at Dance Theater of Harlem and the Uptown Dance Academy. After high school, L. Woods continued to pursue dancing in college in which she joined The Black Dance Repertoire and served as Vice-President of the organization after returning back to her hometown of New York