Kehinde Kujichagulia-Seitu

LPAA Artistic Director / Co-founding member and Artistic Director of Lyric Dance and Vocal Ensemble

Pastor Kehinde Kujichagulia-Seitu is a vivacious and talented vocalist, dancer, percussionist, poet, writer and ordained minister with a bachelor’s degree in theatre arts with a minor in music. She has served as an educator for the past 17 years. An accomplished vocalist, Kehinde has recorded for and performed with the Umoja Jazz Ensemble, the African Roots of Jazz, Ma’at Jazz and Performance Ensemble, the Houston Ebony Opera Guild, and the Prairie View A&M University Concert Chorale. Beginning her vocal studies at the age of 12, she trained with Norma Levister at UC Berkeley's Young Musician's Program until graduating from high school. Beginning as a dancer for the Imhotep Dance Ensemble, Kehinde performed for such legends as Katherine Dunham, and Winnie and Nelson Mandela. Specializing in Hip-Hop, West African, Stepping, and Liturgical Dance, Kehinde has studied various dance styles under Linda Johnson, Lynn DeFazio, Laura Ellis, Nina Haft, and Eric Kupers. An instructor full of energy, and enthusiasm, Kehinde has taught dance for Stanford University, California State University East Bay, Berkeley City College and numerous elementary, junior high and high schools throughout the greater Bay Area. Kehinde is the pastor of Grace and Mercy Ministries (focusion on praise and worship) and founder of Stopping Our Silence.

Taiwo Kujichagulia-Seitu, MBA

LPAA Chief Executive Officer / Music Director and Co-founding member and Music Director of Lyric Dance and Vocal Ensemble

Mrs. Taiwo Kujichagulia-Seitu is a coloratura soprano, dancer, educator and griot (historian, storyteller, entertainer, musician, praise singer). Taiwo began her vocal training at the age of 12 with David Tigner at UC Berkeley's Young Musician's Program, where she began singing opera and classically arranged Spirituals. She continued her vocal studies at Prairie View A&M University and California State University East Bay where she began musically arranging and studying the history/functional use of African American Spirituals. A consummate educator, Taiwo functionally uses performing arts to tell the history of African Americans, weaving inspiring and uplifting tales for audiences of all ages utilizing a combination of Spirituals, Gospel, Praise Dance and traditional West African dance and drumming. Taiwo is the writer and director of “Go Tell It!”, an annual musical theater production that tells the story of Harriet Tubman’s first escape with passengers on the Underground Railroad. Honored by the Friends of Negro Spirituals as a Negro Spirituals Heritage Keeper, Taiwo lectures on their development, correct historical context and the coding found within. Beginning her dance training at the age of 6, Taiwo specializes in Traditional West African, Jazz and Lyrical dance, and has taught various styles of dance for the past 14 years. Taiwo teaches music for Berkeley City College, and the Conservatory of Vocal and Instrumental Arts. Taiwo has a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance (with a minor in dance), a Master of Business Administration in marketing and currently serves as head of the music program for Lyric Performing Arts Academy.

Juhandryn Dessames

LPAA Chief Financial Officer / Theater Director and Co-founding member of Lyric Dance and Vocal Ensemble

Juhandryn Dessames is a sparkling talent with over 20 years of performance experience. Her performing arts career began in school with Cole Elementary Performing Arts Company under the direction of Peter Arizu. Then she began dancing on competitive drill teams. Ms. Dessames performed with the EBC drill team in San Jose where she performed in several local and out of state parades and competitions. Ms. Dessames has studied under such dance legends as Lynn DeFazio, Lynn Coles, Nina Haft, Eric Kupers, Laura Ellis, and Linda Johnson. Ms. Dessames has performed in several venues and music videos. Juhandryn is an alumni of Cal State East Bay with a BA in Liberal Arts and a minor in Dance/Theater. Ms. Dessames is a founding member of Lyric Dance and Vocal Ensemble and Lyric Performing Arts Academy. She is also a member of After Shock Dance Company. Juhandryn has worked in East Bay Area schools teaching dance and youth development for more than 10 years. Additionally, Juhandryn has more than 15 years of book keeping and non-profit management experience. Juhandryn is an Oakland native committed to community service and youth development.

Jabari Alii

LPAA Instructor

Jabari Alii is a jack of all trades in the artist community. He is most known for his talents in poetry, storytelling, piano, music education, music production, songwriting, and digital graphic arts. Growing up with a renowned jazz pianist for a father, and a published poet for a mother, the arts have always been in his blood. Jabari studied music throughout his younger years on the East Coast and majored in music education at Howard University. He has taught piano and music theory in both private lessons and in the classroom. Jabari worked as a studio engineer and pianist in several studios on the East Coast and has competed in and hosted several open mics and poetry slams.

Paris Dupree McClellan

LPAA Instructor

Vogue, Hip Hop/Pop, Belly Dance

Paris began his dancing career in 2003 after he failed to make the cut on his High Schools Step-Team. After spending a summer auditing and taking Dance Classes at De Anza College, he started learning the basics of dance. In his first 4 years dancing, he spent time dancing in the streets of San Francisco, San Jose, The Silicon Valley and Orange County learning various styles along the way. He has performed 3 years in a row at De Anza College Introspections Dance Show (’09-11) and 5 years at various events in San Francisco and San Jose. During this time he has worked and collaborated with many dancers from across the state. As of 2013, he is attending University of Phoenix as a full time student; studying for his Bachelors Degree in Business with a concentration on Marketing.