Tidewater African Cultural Alliance

Tidewater African Cultural Alliance | African Dance

Educational Background/Training

BA: Classical Music, University of Virginia, 1995
MM (Master of Music): Classical Voice Performance, Manhattan School of Music, 1997

Trained in:
• Theatre, with a 20+ year professional career in Musical Theatre & Opera
• Dance: Classical Ballet, Jazz, African/Afrobeats, Flamenco, Belly Dance, Latin/Ballroom, Modern

About the Artist/Ensemble

The Tidewater African Cultural Alliance (TACA) strives to unite the greater Tidewater
area through community outreach; community service; educational programs; and
cultural arts and events. TACA moves to restore well-being and advance the status of
Black people worldwide by addressing issues of equity and access in our global society.
Our Vision is Solidarity through the celebration of the African Diaspora worldwide.
TACA’s Founder/Executive Director Rita Addico Cohen began performing as a
Traditional Ghanaian Dancer and singer at the age of 4 in her hometown of Accra,
Ghana. Beginning in college, she has performed as a professional musical
theatre/opera singer from New York all the way down to Texas, including having sung
with Virginia Opera; and toured with the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra in the title role
of Treemonisha.

Mrs. Addico Cohen has been a licensed Zumba® Instructor since 2009. The Zumba
Home Office selected her to become a Zumba® Jammer in 2013, presenting
Choreography workshops to other instructors nationally and internationally, and has
been a Presenter for the Zumba Instructor Convention in Orlando since 2018. Her
exuberant and joyful personality and teaching style have taken her to schools, fitness
centers, and Dance studios across the country, as well to France. She has also created,
and presented I <3 Afrobeats Workshops in Florida, Maryland, North Carolina,
Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia since 2016; and is currently teaching West
African Dance for the Governor’s School of the Arts in Norfolk.

A fluent speaker of 10 languages and a lifelong dancer trained in many international
Dance formats, Mrs. Addico Cohen has combined her linguistic and artistic abilities to
create a dance based three tier African Cultural Education program that she has been
presenting since 2015 for: K-5/Family; Middle School; and High School & Above levels.
They can all be offered virtually, as well as in person.

Since 2022, the TACA Diaspora Dance Ensemble has been enhancing events with
traditional African and Afrobeats dances and drumming. The Ensemble is also available
for workshops and performances

Educational Program Description

Objective: To present and provide an interactive Dance based African cultural experience that includes   Culture, Geography, History, and Language. The participant will leave the program/Workshop with a newfound knowledge of Africa from an African; and feel invigorated mentally, emotionally, and physically.

All programs are appropriate for schools, libraries, museums, dance studios, confernces, and community/theater organizations. They also hit the 4 C’s and are SOL compliant, depending on the level, and include core concepts for English/Reading, Geography, World History, Fine Arts (Dance, Music, Visual), Foreign Language, and Physical Education.

African Story Time: Perfect for Youth K-5/Families, we explore one country in Africa; learn fun facts about that country; some new vocabulary in one of the languages spoken in the country; a story with a moral lesson; and dance!

AfrICan Dance: Perfect for Middle Schoolers, we focus on one African country through Dance. While dancing, we learn about the country, focusing on age-appropriate details and having fun, while boosting the kids’ mood and fitness level.

African HEAT: The HEAT stands for Healthy, Energetic, Authentic Transformation. Perfect for High School and above, but can be catered to the whole family, focused more on fitness and movement, in general. We dance the entire time, getting the heart rate up and improving our Cardiovascular Fitness levels. In the middle of the action, we learn one Dance routine with steps from various countries and learn a little about each of the countries in the process. A fun, sweaty, educational time for all!


  • All Ages
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