Photo of dancers mid step during Who We Carry
Photo: Jingzi Zhao

DANCERS

Oluyinka Akinjiola

Artistic Director | Choreographer | Dancer

Portland based artist and educator originally from New York State. After receiving her MFA in Dance Choreography & Performance she founded Rejoice! Diaspora Dance Theater in 2014 with the support of New Expressive Works Artist Residency (Subashini Ganesan) and Performance Works NW’s Alembic Co-Production series(Linda Austin). Rejoice was built as a platform to create Black contemporary dance work with movement foundations from Africa and the African-Diaspora. Her choreography focuses on the complex identities, histories and futures of Black communities.

Oluyinka is an Educator and curriculum builder with Portland Public Schools at Harriet Tubman Middle School and Faubion K-8. Prior to PPS, Oluyinka was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance at Reed College and SUNY The College at Brockport, a three year guest artist for the Sankofa African Drum & Dance Ensemble; her work was featured in the International Association of Blacks in Dance conference (Washington D.C. and Los Angeles),  Carnaval 2014 (Salvador, BA, Brazil), TEDxMtHood, and Newmark Theater among others. Most recently, Oluyinka received the Oregon Dance Education Organization’s teacher of the year award in 2020.

Ola Onipede

Dancer

Ola is a dancer trained in a variety of different techniques and styles, including classical training, but takes heart to dances like Afrobeat and Bata, from his origins in Nigeria, West Africa. He has performed independently, with companies, and instructed abroad in Nigeria, Jamaica, LA, Washington DC, Arkansas, Texas, and NYC. When not instructing Ola is involved in the Fitness, Aviation, and UI/UX Research industries. He likes to experience different cultures by traveling and exploring their history in dance and food.

Michael Galen

Dancer | Choreographer | Composer

Portland, OR native, Michael started his dance career in hip hop and club dane culture as a bboy. His dance studies took him to Ghana, Brazil, Senegal, and New York, studying a wide range of secular and sacred dances from the African-Diaspora, as well as a variety of contemporary and modern techniques. His notable teachers are: Khady Badji (Bakalama Dance Co., Senegal), Rosangela Silvestre & Vera Passos (Bahia, Brazil), his local peers, and many more. Michael has spent many years sharing his passions through public school residencies and private programs. He also frequently composes and records music for Rejoice productions, building on his university studies in Jazz Performance.

Mariana Rose Thorn

Dancer

Mariana is a dance artist, teacher, and choreographer. Her movement background includes over a decade of study in West African, Haitian Folkloric, Ballet, Cuban Modern & Folkloric, and especially Afro Brazilian Popular, Folkloric, and Modern traditions arising in Bahia Brazil. She has performed with Alayo Dance Company and Ballet Afsaneh, among others. Mariana is a certified instructor of the Silvestre Dance Technique, as well as Pilates. She teaches and choreographs for weddings and special events through her business, Mating Dance Maker. She lives with her husband and two young daughters in Portland.

Malik Delgado

Dancer | Choreographer

As a student of street art expression and culture Malik’s journey has led him to immerse himself into many styles of Afro American and Latino Street dances such as B-Boying, Rock dance from performing at local street fairs, competing at battles or teaching these styles to local youth through Parks and recreation, Sun program, Multnomah County Library. Malik is currently a student of Salsa Culture. He has studied ON 2 Style salsa,  American Style Ballroom and the Afro latin Jazz experience which he has discovered was all interrelated in the development of the Salsa. So he decided to pursue training with schools like Fred Astaire, Salsamania, Couture Dance Alliance, SMC Dance Company in New York City, founded by world renowned artist Sekou Mcmiller. He one day hopes to open his own Movement Arts Dance School, helping others pursue Cultural Education in the arts. The world needs dance, it’s a huge part of our history and identity.

Keinya Kohlbecker

Dancer

Keinya (Keen-yah) describes herself as a life long dancer.  She began her early dance years in the Detroit area learning tap, ballet, hula, and jazz. During her freshman year of college, she rediscovered her love of dance when she began taking Afro-Jazz classes with April Berry, a former Alvin Ailey dancer.  This opened her world to the dance techniques of Dunham, Graham, Horton, Limón, as well as a variety of other dancers and dance genres.

After receiving her BA in Dance from Denison University in 2000, she traveled to London, participating in a variety of West African Master classes.  In 2001, Keinya auditioned for Area-51 Dance company in Reno, NV dancing and choreographing with them for the 2001-2002 season. Keinya currently lives in Portland with her partner Matt, their son Noah, and dog, Dean. Throughout her time in Portland, she’s had the pleasure to dance with Sekou Walker and Kemba Shannon.  Now, she is excited to be a part of the Rejoice! Diaspora family!

Jasmyn Tilford

Dancer

Jasmyn is ecstatic to make her return to the dance world. She is a Howard University Theatre Arts Alum with a passion for things arts and performance. There she danced in the Harriet Tubman Quadrangle Dance team. Most recently, however, she was an apprentice with Portland Playhouse during their 14th Season, where she performed in Bella: An American Tall Tale. Jasmyn has so much love for the artform of dance and the act of storytelling with our bodies. She thanks her family and friends for their continuous support and love. And thanks to Rejoice Diaspora Dance Company for this experience.

Bethany Harvey

Dancer | Choreographer

Born and raised in Portland, OR. She discovered her love for dance at age 10 when she began taking classes in tap, jazz, and baton. She continued growing her passion for dance and exploring different movement styles throughout high school and college; she was a member of the Jefferson Dancers and later Western Oregon University's dance program. Bethany enjoys dancing with Rejoice! as a way to integrate her passion for dance, social justice, and honoring the stories of underrepresented populations. Bethany joined Rejoice! for Ibukun/The Celebration in January 2017 and will be featured in many new choreographic works in UPRISE.

Support our work through donating

No amount is too small. Give $25, $50, $100 or whatever calls to you.​ Rejoice! is a Non Profit Organization committed to bringing high artistic quality to the Portland Community and beyond. Every donation makes a difference.

Rejoice! is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, making your donation tax deductible. Tax ID #84-2709421