Tiffany Knighten-Buddington is the founder and artistic director of Nkiruka Drum and Dance Ensemble. Tiffany has over 36 years of experience in dance, acting and professional perfomances. She has received formal training in traditional African Dance, Afro-Modern, modern, ballet, samba, various Brazilian dance styles, jazz, and tap dance.
She has been a principal dancer in many dance companies and teams, most notably: Khadija's School of Dance under the direction of Khadija Williams where she received the foundation of her dance career as a child, focusing in afro-contemporary; Southern University's Dancing Dolls; Young African American Dance Ensemble under the direction of Kai Knight focusing in modern dance; N’kafu Traditional African Dance Company under the direction of Mariama Curry; and Casa Samba focusing on samba, samba-reggae and Afro-Brazilian under the direction of Curtis Pierre.
Tiffany has studied Samba dance styles in Brazil. She also studied under master African Dance teachers including Marie Basse-Wiles, Mouminatou Camara and Youssouff Koumbassa.
In January 2015 Tiffany choreographed and danced in the "G.O.M.D" video for nationally renowned recording artist J. Cole
Tiffany has been an African Dance Teacher for Young Audiences since 2013. She is also currently the coach of the dance team at West Jefferson Highschool - La Jolie Rouge. The young ladies recently won a Dance Competition at the 2015 Essence Festival in New Orleans, LA.
Born to parents from Ghana and Nigeria, dance and music has always been a part of Vicky's life. She attended nationally recognized Davidson Fine Arts School in Augusta, GA for 7 years and received formal training in modern and African dance as well as acting, singing and visual arts. She has been a performing member of several dance companies in New Orleans including N'kafu Traditional African Dance Company and Bese Saka Dance Experience. She was the lead character in the play "The Kagnaling"
Brittney is a native of New Orleans, LA. She began studying dance at the age of 9 and has been dancing for the past 19 years, focusing in West African, liturgical, jazz, modern, and ballet. Brittney studied under the direction of Judy Legier, Abdoulaye "Papa" Camara, and Gwana Green. She has previously danced as a member of Sacred Dance Ministry, Allahbatu West African Dance & Drum Co., Bese Saka Dance Experience, and GG’s Institute of Dance.
Jenna has always appreciated self-expression through the art of dance, which is her therapeutic outlet. In her youth, she performed in numerous children's theater productions as a dancer, focusing in jazz dance. As a young adult, Jenna began exploring other styles including hip-hop, modern, Afro-Brazilian and Samba. Jenna began studying African Dance in college at Tulane University. She later studied African Dance in Accra, Ghana, Washington, DC, and Dakar, Senegal.
Adrian has been performing under the direction of great teachers, directors and choreographers. His dance repertoire includes Modern, Ballet, African, and Modern/Jazz which have been fused together in the dance company LEDT under the direction of Lula Elzy and also African dance. He also graced the stage in plays such as Curtains, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Damn Yankees, Aida, All Shook Up, Origins of Life on Earth (Big Easy Award Winner Best Ethnic Dance ‘08), and Dream Girls to name a few.
Nailah has been studying African dance for over 20 years. She has studied under Mariamma Curry, Lula Elzy, and Ausettua Amenkum. She attended NOCCA, where she studied dance and Jackson State University, where she studied Studio Art. You can find her onstage performing with Kumbuka Traditional African Dance Collective, Casa Samba, New Orleans Dance Collective, Young Audiences, and Nkiruka Drum and Dance Ensemble.
Joi, a native of New Orleans, has been dancing since age 5. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance with a minor in theatre from University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2005. She is skilled in ballet, modern, jazz, tap, hip hop, contemporary and is getting to know African and Brazilian Samba. She is a dance and theatre teacher for Young Audiences of Louisiana.
India is a native of New Orleans. She studied dance at NORD/NOBA Mandeville Center, New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, Trudi's School of Dance, Kai Knight, and at Columbia College Chicago. She has been dancing professionally and choreographing original works for the last eight years including Ain't Misbehavin', for New Orleans Public Schools and The Color Purple, for Dillard University. She is the dance coach/choreographer for a local High school team.
Brittany is a graduate of St. Mary's Academy. She began her dance training at 4 years old with Kai Knight. She later began dancing with Culu Children Traditional African Dance Company. She currently dances with Casa Samba and Nkiruka Drum and Dance Ensemble. Brittany shares her gift of dance with youth in New Orleans through artist residencies. Outside of her world of dance she is studying to became a medical professional.
Born and raised in New Orleans, La, Ashley began dancing at the age of 2 at Deirdre's School of Dance and Gymnastics. She was classically trained in ballet, jazz and tap dance. She received her teacher's certificate in June of 2003 from Deirdre's. Shortly thereafter, she began teaching there and at her home church respectively. Ashley was introduced to African and Modern dance at Tulane university in 2011, and ever since she has been in engulfed in the beauty, style and culture of the dance.
Sienna can’t remember a time when anything has made her happier than dance and music. Starting at a young age she participated in West African dance and drum ensembles and jazz dance groups. She has studied dance at Pomona College in Claremont, California exploring Latin dance forms such as salsa, meringue and samba as well as the fusion of Caribbean, African and European dances in the Dunham Technique. Later, she enhanced and diversified her study of African dances in Cape Town, South Africa.