Born and raised in Buffalo, NY, Tammy graduated from Hutchinson Central Technical High School with a major in Computer Science. She grew up participating in programs and classes at the AACC - starting at the age of 6. A former member of the African Dance & Drum Performance Company she has had the opportunity to perform all around the area from small events to performing in the 2013 World Games and Mayor Masiello’s Inaugural Ball. The AACC was her first employer through the Mayor’s Summer Youth Internship Program and from then she has always stayed connected. Tammy obtained her Associate's Degree in Business Administration from Erie Community College in 2004. She then went on to Buffalo State College where she obtained both her Bachelor's (2010) & Master's Degree (2013) in Business & Marketing Education. During her studies she sat on a panel for the Career & Technical Education Departments review by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. She has also coordinated several career fair and mentoring sessions for Buffalo youth through Buffalo State's CTE Department. Until this day she has kept the relationship. She was a pivotal employee of the AACC for 14+ years. Tammy was one of the coordinators of their Jumpin' Jambalaya Summer Program for 12 years. She also served as the Contract Administrator for the Dance & Drum Company, Consultant and Certified Teacher for their Educational Directives for Afterschool Program. She was also the Director of the Positive Productive Sisters. Tammy has served as the liaison for several partnerships for the center such as Roswell Park, M&T Bank – African American Resource Group, Niagara Falls Power Vista and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra where she is a member of their Diversity Council. The Diversity Councils mission is to present diverse programming, to support artists of color, and to engage with every part of the Western New York community in a meaningful way. After a brief time away she has come back to the center and jumped right back in some of her roles She currently serves as the Contract Administrator for the Dance & Drum Company and the Director for the Educational Directives for Afterschool Program. As a Business Teacher of the Buffalo Public Schools, she thrives on building lasting mentor relationships with students as they are our future and need continual guidance to achieve and be successful. She is known to often assist her students through difficult situations that life may bring. Tammy was recognized by Unlimited Possibilities Overcoming Poverty Ministry Inc. (UPOPM) as one of the “Women Touching the World”. She was also recognized as a Buffalo Black Achiever.
Netanya Thompson, a growing creative artist born in Buffalo NY began her dancing career studying traditional and non traditional West African dance at the African American Cultural Center at the age of 3. Graduating from Buffalo Academy for Visual & Performing Arts Netanya continued her studies at Buffalo State College earning a Bachelor's of Science in Business Administration, with a minor in dance. Training in African dance under AACC instructors, Robin Hibbert and a variety of master teaching artists, Netanya has been able to create and share her passion both on and off stage. Returning back to the cornerstone of the community as Dance Director, Netanya thrives to bind art, cultural connections and inspire a shared love of Dance! "Art is the internal conversation inspired to be free, the freedom to communicate as it pleases".
Youssou Lo is a native of Senegal, West Africa. At the age of 5, he began his apprenticeship of many West African drum and dance styles with Ballet Rhythm African de Senegal. His training was under Senegalese master drummer and dancer Babacar Drame. Youssou studied djembe drum and dance traditions for 10 years, including the art of stilt dancing and eventually became the choreographer and assistant director of Ballet Rhythm. The dance companies he worked with are numerous and include: Unite African, Tam Tam D'Afrique, and Ballet Bougarabou. It was Ballet Bougarabou that eventually brought Youssou to North America in 1993. As a performer and artist, he has traveled throughout the U.S.A. and internationally to perform in Germany, Canada, Cyprus, and Brazil. Youssou is also an accomplished oil and glass painter. Trained by his father, Babacar Lo, he has taught Senegalese oil painting to students in many schools and communities. In 1996, Youssou co-founded " 'Safarace' the Sounds of African Drum and Dance" in Pittsburgh, PA Today, Youssou resides in Buffalo, NY and continues to perform his craft and teach drum and dance in schools. Known for his friendly and warm nature, Youssou's love for music and teaching skills has endeared himself to students and audiences.
ABOUT THE AACC DANCE & DRUM PERFORMANCE COMPANY
The AACC Dance and Drum Performance Company is AACCBuffalo’s founding component. Founder Malcolm Erni believed that knowledge and understanding of traditional West African rhythm and movement could help to revitalize his beloved East Side Buffalo, NY community. Its mission is to provide authentic cultural exchange as a means of educational enlightenment.
The company has developed under the direction of West African cultural artists and the influence of African American pioneers in the dance genre. Sengalese nationals who have contributed to the growth of the AACC Dance and Drum Performance Company include Youssou Lo, Adama Seydi, Raymond Syla, Ussnom Sail, M’Baye Babacar among others. Its repertoire has been compiled with attention to the influence of American choreographers Katherine Dunham and Pearl Primus, among others. The dance chamber is named for choreographer Ronnie Latham, who also played an important role in its development.
The AACC Dance and Drum Performance Company has performed before an estimated 200,000 people in New York, Ohio,
South Carolina, Ontario, and Canada. When the World University Games took place in Buffalo in 1993, our Dance and Drum company performed as a part of the opening ceremonies. Artistic Director Netanya Thompson currently instructs weekly dance and drum classes for adults and children open to the community. The company is available for corporate, community-based, religious, and other booking engagements. For information about the company's annual recital please inquire via the email listed below.
To request a performance or for more information contact Netanya Thompson at the African American Cultural Center at 716-884-2013 or firstname.lastname@example.org.