Renowned African Dance Specialist Persephone DaCosta & Ivory Coast's own Master Drummer Justin Kafando is the core of Batingua Arts.
PRESERVATION: "WE MUST KNOW WHERE WE CAME FROM TO KNOW WHERE WE ARE GOING"
Batingua Arts believes that it is imperative for this generation to learn as much of our history as possible. When it comes to African and
Batingua Arts believes that we should study and learn as many traditional art forms, dance, songs and drumming. It is within these art forms that the story, traditions and lives of our ancestors rest. Thus, there is no such thing as truly “mastering” Afro-Caribbean dance. Therefore, we must be open to research, study and share as much as we can. Ms. DaCosta has dedicated her life to researching and learning her ancestral heritage through the arts. And also sharing this knowledge through Batingua Arts classes, workshops and performances.
ARTISTIC DIRECTOR: PERSEPHONE DACOSTA MUSICAL DIRECTOR: JUSTIN KAFANDO
Persephone DaCosta is the founder, artistic director and choreographer for Batingua Arts. Ms. DaCosta, of Trinidadian descent, began her dance training at the early age of 6. She attended the South East Queens House of music where she studied; ballet, tap and jazz. This small community arts school planted the seed and set the foundation of performing arts for Ms. DaCosta.
Shortly after completing elementary school Ms. DaCosta stopped formal dance training . Yet through Junior High and High School she continued to dance in school shows and choreographed dances with her sisters to perform at family functions. It wasn't until Ms. DaCosta's Freshman year in college at Stony Brook University that she was reintroduced to dance in a formal training class setting. However, this time it was traditional African Dance. Ms. DaCosta began studying dance more seriously by performing in Stony Brook's Staller Center dance showcases. She declared a dance minor and continued to take independent studies in dance and anthropology as she completed her Masters degree with a focus on "Community Development through the Arts". As Ms. DaCosta began to emerge herself in the arts, others began to notice her talents; her quick grasp of steps, rhythm and performance technique. Ms. Dacosta began to study as many different styles of dance as she could. However, it became evident to her that her body and spirit was most happy and free with West African Dance. And later she realized she felt the same when she moved to soca or reggae music, where the steps just came naturally. Determined to pursue her passion Ms. Dacosta moved back to New York and began auditioning for African and Caribbean professional companies. Soon she was training with reknown Ivorian Master Dancer and Drummer Vado Diamonde and danced for his company Kotchegna. Later she joined Bambara Dance and Drum Company and Mikerline"s Haitian Folklore Dance Company. Ms. DaCosta has traveled near and far with these companies and performed in many prestigous places.
In 2007, Ms. DaCosta decided to take her passion for dance and love for youth and combine them by becoming a dance teacher for the board of education. Currently Ms. DaCosta is a certified Dance Teacher and works at Metropolitan Corporate Academy in downtown brooklyn, while simoutaneioulsy continuing to preserve, educate and celebrate Afro Caribbean Culture through Batingua Arts.