Meet Najiyyah Muqtasid-Denham

Name? Najiyyah Muqtasid-Denham

What city are you from? Brooklyn, NY by way of North Carolina

When did you join Thiossane?

Original member

When you think of Thiossane, what immediately comes to mind? What does Thiossane mean to you?

Abdou Kounta comes to mind because he embodied Thiossane. Abdou Kounta wanted Thiossane to be a unique experience for everyone who joined and that has translated into the Institute over time.

Of all the Thiossane values (appropriateness, respect, knowledge, adaptability, restraint, and excellence), which one do you feel the most during your time in the company? Why?

Adaptability. As a dancer, when we see new routines, the choreography might not be what you see with your natural eye. Certain steps, head motions, and sweeps of the arm have very specific meaning and might be different than you initially interpreted. However, you have to be able to adjust and present the dance the way the original dancers intended.

What do you see as your role in Thiossane? (Dancer, drummer, other?)

Company Dancer and Children’s Class Instructor

What do you hope to bring to Thiossane as a dancer?

I’m fun! I teach 3-7 year-olds so I have to keep their attention and be fun.

What do you hope to accomplish in the next 15 years with Thiossane? How do you imagine the future of Thiossane?

I would love to see Thiossane have its own autonomous space so that we can accommodate more participants and community members. This would afford us the opportunity to offer different levels (i.e., beginner, intermediate, advanced) and include more dance styles from the Diaspora, which would be more inviting to the community.