Keur Khaleyi African Dance Company

"If you can walk you can dance, if you can talk you can sing". ~Zimbabwean & Sudanese Proverb

“Life is Dance! “

Jihan Von Hendricks (Founder/Creative Director)

Is a native of Baltimore, Maryland.  Jihan had an early start in dance.  She studied ballet, tap and jazz with Alice Bradfield at the tender age of 4.  As she got older, she was introduced to African Dance by her mother, the late Mama Sheilah.  Coming from a strong and close-knit family, Jihan and her sister and brother studied with Sankofa Dance Theater.  Jihan studied for 10+ years with Babacar N’Diaye, a former lead dancer of the National Ballet of Senegal.  She served as dance captain for Return to Goree African Dance Company until June 2010 where she formed Keur Khaleyi African Dance Company.  
Jihan has performed in many festivals over the years such as Artscape, Kunta Kinte, African Heritage Festival of Towson, Dance Africa-Dc and various other events.
Jihan has studied under many master dancers such as Marie Basse-Wiles, Mariama Basse, Babacar Mbaye, Aziz Faye, N'deye Gueye, Assane Konte, Tacko Sisssokho, Tenefig Dioubate and Mouminatou Camara. Over the years, her passion for the culture has lead her to After School Programs and Summer Dance Intensives with both Baltimore City Public School Systems and Private Schools.

Ayana Von Hendricks -

Program Director

Ayana started out with Baltimore based Sankofa Dance Theater in 1993 under the direction of Kibibi Ajanku and Kauna Mujamal. With Sankofa Dance Theater Ayana was given the various wonderful opportunities to perform at the Walter’s Art Gallery, Baltimore Museum of Art, Dance Africa DC, AFRAM, Art Scape, Kunta Kinte Festival, Common Grounds at Western Maryland College, BAM in New York City as well as competing at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. As time went on and Ayana wanted to spread her dance wings and parted ways with Sankofa Dance Theater and took classes with Kankouran West African Dance Company based in Washington DC under direction of Assane Conte and African Heritage Dance and Drum Ensemble under the direction of Melvin Deal. After a year of studying Ayana decided to join Return To Goree under direction of Babacar N'Diaye and Willa Walker, there she emptied her dance cup and filled it to the brim with traditional song and dance from her new teacher Babacar N'Diaye whom was from the National Ballet of Senegal. Since Ayana's departure from Return To Goree and Babacar N'Diaye relocating to California, she's currently dancing, performing, teaching and choreographing with Keur Khaleyi African Dance Company.

Shakai Von Hendricks

Music Director

Shakai began his drumming career with Baltimore based Sankofa Dance Theater in 1993 under the direction of Kibibi Ajanku and Kauna Mujamal. With Sankofa Dance Theater he was given the opportunities to perform in the youth ensemble, teen company, as well as the adult company at various venues such as Walter's Art Gallery, Baltimore Museum of Art, Dance Africa DC, Afram, Art Scape, Kunta Kinte Festivals, Common Grounds at Western Maryland College and competing in the Music Festival at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. As time went on Shakai parted ways with Sankofa Dance Theater and left the country for a month to further study in Senegal with M’Baye Gueye. With his return to the states, Shakai the joined Return To Goree under the direction of Babacar N'Diaye and Willa Walker and played along side master drummers Medoune "Dame" Gueye, Assane M'Baye, Kissama Diabate, Alioune Faye, Thiokho Diange, and Baba Drame to name a few of his world renown teachers.