Making Ways podcast welcomes dancer and artistic director of Samba Funk, Theo Aytchan Williams. Theo discusses his path from arts advocate to dancer and now artistic director for the non-profit organization focused on preserving and celebrating African Diaspora culture. From the first captivating moments Theo heard the rhythms of a drum, to the unexpected death of his mentor and the community rebuilding that followed, listen in for an amazing conversation on the power of family, music, and transformation. Plus you’ll hear real world tips for navigating a creative career with a mission but without a roadmap.
Theo Aytchan Williams is a native of Oakland, California with Southern roots in Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi.
Theo was first introduced to African drum and dance as a child at Mosswood Park in Oakland, California. While tagging along with his mother, Cledie Watson, he heard the thunder from an African drum and dance class; saw people were dancing and that the room was filled with joy; joy and rhythms that would remain in his subconscious for many years. Coincidentally, this class was led by dance legend Ruth Beckford.
Since the founding of SambaFunk!, Theo has remained active in the Arts community beyond Carnaval, as an artist, producer and advocate invoking the Arts in relevant political and social justice causes. Theo has traveled, studied and performed Brasilian dance and drum in Brasil, Canada, France and Guinea West Africa. As a student and instructor, he continues to learn the internal connections of African centered dance, movement, rhythms and spiritual psychology.
Theo’s vision is to share African Diaspora culture through dance, drum and music with new audiences and to make conscious contributions to the theories that link African cultural traits and traditions to African-Latino, African-Caribbean and African-American cultures.