IRIE!’s African & Caribbean Dance & Drumming Tutors

IRIE! tutors and freelance artists are professional performers, choreographers and above all specialists in teaching a programme of workshops that include awareness, appreciation and understanding of movement and dance derived from African and Caribbean traditions.

Listed below are short bios for some of IRIE!’s tutors.

Denzil Barnes

Denzil Barnes is an innovative and much sought-after dance tutor and choreographer who specialises in street dance and dance fusion. Through his fusion of dance forms, and other styles that he is still absorbing, Denzil aims to challenge the boundaries of artistic expression to produce innovative and unique performance pieces.

Denzil Barnes trained at City & Islington College and then went on to Demontfort University in Bedford to do a BA Joint Honours in Performing Arts 2002.

Denzil was involved in setting up Rawskills a pilot project funded by Creative Partnerships London East and aimed at getting more young men into dance. His participation in a succession of Creative Partnerships projects over the last three years has made a major contribution to his own development as an artist. In 2006 he contributed to a seminar on teaching practices alongside an installation piece performed by Rawskills at the Barbican at the Four Plus Conference – which celebrated four years of creative learning for Creative Partnerships.

Other projects include White Christmas at The Place and the Fringe Festival Cockpit Theatre. He has performed at Laban for Symbol O and Puetas (Doors) MA pieces as well as C12 Debut Show Case. And, in 2006 he performed at Resolutions 2006 Frida.

Denzil was the associate choreographer and rehearsal director for connectingvibes*. Work for connectingvibes* included a collaborative project with WAC entitled One Blood.

Charles James

Charles is both a dynamic and inspiring drummer and percussionist working in traditional African and Caribbean music.
As a founder member of Adzido Pan-African Dance Ensemble, from its inception, Charles contributed to the company’s growth and development. Charles’ career has led him to work with some of the best tutors and Ethnomusicologists coming out of Africa and the Caribbean, such as, Professor Albert Mwere Opoku, Professor C K Ladzekpo, Nii Yartey, Nomsa Caluza, Shelia Barnett, H Patten and Jackie Guy.

Mohammed ‘Zozo’ Shuaibu

Zozo Shuaibu - Master DrummerZozo is a multi-instrumentalist specialising in dance theatre, storytelling and music-making. His experience of African Peoples Dance in the UK spans 20 years.

Zozo has worked with IRIE! since 1992 to. He has also worked with other companies such as, Sakoba, African Players theatre company, Abdul T.J’s ‘Rokoto’, King Masco and Sabano to name a few. Zozo is also a founder of Kuzari Music Company where Kuzari means energy and enthusiasm.


O’Neil Pryce

O’Neil describes himself as ‘a native of Jamaica’ and is a specialist teacher in the area of Caribbean Traditional Dance technique and theory.

As a young choreographer/teacher I am interested in working with different institutions to develop both my choreographic and teaching skills.

O’Neil started began his formal/academic dance training at the Edna Manley College of Visual and Performing Arts where he graduated with a Diploma in Dance Education. He then attended the State University of New York – Brockport where he completed his Bachelor Degree of Fine Arts – Dance. His next stop was Laban here in the UK where he did an MA in Dance Choreography.

He articulates his artistic mission as follows:

“My mission is to:

  1. Impart both technical and theoretical knowledge of dances of the Caribbean to people of all nationalities and ages,
  2. Foster appreciation of these traditional forms, and
  3. Help catapult the transition from appreciation to acceptance as part of the international idiom of dance.”

Charles Maema

Charles Maema - African Dance TutorCharles Maema is an African Dance tutor from South Africa. He has a wealth of experience in this field which he is now sharing with dance practitioners – both amateur and professional.

Charles began his dance education career at Moving Into Dance Mophatong in Johannesburg. In addition to teaching African, Creative and Contemporary dance, he also taught Edu-dance. He also served as a Community Dance teacher and choreographer. In 1999 he became a teacher and dancer for Jazzart Dance Theatre in Cape Town. He was later appointed as an African Dance lecturer for New Africa Theater Academy and held the position for 8 years.

Charles holds a Bmus Hons degree in Dance Studies (UCT), Bmus degree African Dance (UCT), Diploma Dance Teaching (UCT), Diploma Community Dance Teaching (MIDM), Certificate Arts and Culture Learning Path Ways (WCED) and Certificate Dance and Drama Teaching (NCSUTA).

Currently he is a Lecturer (part time) at Kingston University and Lecturer (visiting) at University of Surrey in addition to teaching on the Dance Foundation Degree course run by IRIE! dance theatre in partnership with City & Islington College and London Metropolitan University.

Oginga Osaze aka Ras Happa

Oginga Osaze affectionately known as Ras Happa specialises in traditional drum rhythms of Jamaica such as, Nyahbinghi, Mento, Kumina and Bruckin’s.

From the early 80s Ras Happa has worked with the Edna Manley School for the Visual Arts. And, for over 10 years, he was the Principal Drummer for the Jamaican dance companies L’Acadco and Stella Maris Dance Ensemble and, as such, has travelled with these companies to Europe, Africa and throughout the Caribbean.

Sheba Montserrat

Sheba MonsterratAs a teacher of dance, a choreographer and performance poet Sheba is able to enjoy communicating with an audience physically and or vocally. Through performance poetry she shares social observations, humour, personal insights and visions.

Sheba was one of the first five graduates to gain a Diploma in African and Caribbean Dance a course pioneered by IRIE! dance theatre in partnership with City and Islington College which was accredited by Birkbeck University. (This course was the predecessor to the current Dance Foundation Degree that IRIE! dance theatre offers in partnership with City & Islington College and London Metropolitan University).

Sheba’s qualification as a community dance teacher empowers her passion to teach. She firmly believes that:

Age, gender and differing physical abilities should never be considered obstacles or barriers on the way to sharing movement with others.

Emmanuel Tagoe

Emmanel Tagoe was born in Ghana into a traditional music family. However, he has now been resident in Britain for over 30 years. In 1972 he became a member of the National Arts Council Folkloric Company with whom he toured most.

Emmanuel represented Ghana in the Festival of African Arts and Culture (FESTAC) held in Lagos Nigeria in 1977, shortly afterwards he toured Britain with Dabuo Dance Company.

Since residing in the UK he has greatly contributed to the development of African music and dance in this country. He is also the former Musical Director of Adzido Pan African Dance Ensemble.

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