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5 The Hard Way is a collaboration of 5 young dancers whose mission it is to maintain and perpetuate traditional African culture and to create a supportive, noncompetitive, positive, and nurturing environment for the expression of that culture. With the assistance and unyielding support of our brothers, we are able to connect with our community in a way that allows us to share our passion. 

5 The Hard Way is the first of its kind. 5 instructors, 6 Classes, 5 different traditional West African rhythms, 5 minutes apart and one final collaborative class to bring it all together. Where you may fall short in stamina, you will be lifted by the amazing energy of family and community healing, celebration and cultural exchange. 


Each of our Fab Five have worked as professional performers and lecturers in the art of traditional West African Dance. They have all worked under and with world renowned choreographers and musicians. They have traveled and performed nationally and internationally from villages to internationally known establishments and institutions. They have each taken the up the responsibility of sustaining and perpetuating culture.



Fofie Akoto MD,  is a mother, physician, stylist and founder of Indigo Tides.


Fun Fact:  Fofie was 13 When she taught her first African dance workshop as a member of Memory of African Culture. She taught the rhythm Soli


Funny Fact: Fofie has danced so hard she's kneed herself in the head or face several times

Nkenge Cunningham

Nkenge is a mother of 4, educator and group exercise instructor. 


Fun Fact:  "The first class I ever taught was with Baba Djimo. I remember because I was excused from school to do it and we ate Mcdonald's after"


Funny Fact: Nkenge has performed while pregnant with all but one of her 4 children. Maybe that's why she gave birth to all dancers. 





Bintou is a mother, licensed massage therapist and group exercise instructor.


Fun Fact: Bintou is the 150th generation of Kouyate 


Funny Fact: Bintou is known for her high jumps back stage before a show. She's been performing since age 3 but still gets so nervous that  she usually forgets the first step





Lesina is currently a mother of 2, dance instructor and highschool educator. 


Fun Fact: Lesina traveled throughout the country visiting so many dance conferences, the community began to wonder where she was actually from. 

Akosua is an entreprenuer currently working as a personal trainer, group exercise instructor and artistic director. 


Fun Fact: Akosua's first on stage appearance was at age 3. She still has her first costume and first check.




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