Testimonials

The testimonials on this page represent some of the transformational work via dance, drumming and other cultural and performing arts endeavors of Total Dance/Dancical Productions, Inc.  We have a 100% success rate of creating artists and leaders in the field.  Most of these individuals have been mentored over a period of two to fifteen years or more.  Listed below are some of the success stories of the Total Dance and Mojah Experience.

 

   

 Kikora Franklin
Associate Professor/Director of the Dance Theatre Department at Penn State

Mojah has been a wonderful inspiration in my life.  As a child, I was able to witness first hand, my mother, Ms. Axam’s, diligence in studying, researching, and creating a new, innovative dance form.  I’ve trained under the direction of my mother and owe her for providing me with a strong knowledge base that derives from her appreciation of African- American history and art forms.  I have been inspired to research and study dance myself. 

Ms. Axam is the consummate arts educator and undoubtedly one of the premier choreographers, dance, and master instructors of her time.  Over the past five years not only has she maintained a career as a dance educator, she managed a non-profit arts and education organization, sustained an independent career as a performer (choreographer, dancer, singer, actress), provided artistic guidance to various dance companies in the southern region, and continue her pursuit to create an authentic modern dance form-Mojah.

I presently teach Mojah technique (along with other forms) at Penn State University in State College, PA. This form challenges my students my students mentally, spiritually, and physically as it requires full exertion of each each part of one’s being. As a teacher, Mojah challenges me to find ways to inspire and encourage students to grow in ways that may be different from traditional forms.

   

Adrienne Abdus Salaam
Dance Director at New Manchester High School

I have been a member, student, mentee, and child of Total Dance for over 20 years. Subsequent to receiving to receiving my BFA from the University of Arts, having performed, toured, and instructed with major companies internationally and throughout the Tri-state area, I can declare that none of the experiences have amounted to what I learned, received, or experienced for this company.  Total Dance and the family that I attained by the way of it, has had a profound effect on my life in more ways than one.

As an instructor, any venue that I enter to teach I am a unique asset.  As a performer, people are amazed and intrigued by the technical proficiency I exude in various genres of dance.  I know that I owe all of these accolades to Mojah.  Mojah demands that one educate and excel their mind, body, and spirit.  Everything I have gained as an artist and a person, I know I got from the studio.  This studio has and continues to be a home away from home.  Terrie and her family have been my family since I was four years old.  I was blessed to have unparalleled caliber of teachers, mothers, sisters, fathers, brothers, and life long friends who have all been instrumental to not only who I am but the person I continue to become..

   

Heather Benson
Manager of Dance of African Diaspora at One Dance Uk

Total Dance/Dancical Productions, Inc. has given me great opportunities to perform and grow as a person.  As a member of the company and exchange program, I had the opportunity to learn professionalism in the dance studio, on stage, and in the administrative office. Total Dance is the only organization that has given me the chance to experience complete training in the dance and visual arts world.  I believe I have received the ultimate foundation for my career in the dance field.

 Jomani Stevens
Assistant Artistic Director, Rehearsal Director, Dancer, Choreographer at Eleone Dance Theatre

When I was in eighth grade, I went to see a show called “Mad Hearts” and I saw a beautiful dancer with so much charisma presenting herself onstage.  After the show I told my mother I wanted to do what that lady [Dawn Axam] is doing. . . I had already chosen the math and science high school, but decided to audition for the school Dawn Axam directed. . . I understood, beyond the jumps, turns, and leg extensions, that dance was an art of expression whether it is to heal, teach, educate, an audience, or even yourself.

 

Lynorris Evans
Performer/ Choreographer

Lynorris Evans has performed with Ballet Met, Cirque du Soleil’s on Broadway and the first national tours of “Memphis” and “Flash Dance”

I began dancing at Total Dance/Dancical Productions and Tri-Cities Visual and Performing Art Magnet High School when I was in the ninth grade.  Terrie Ajile Axam and Dawn Axam became family as well as mentors.  I was taught by a host of outstanding instructors which provided a strong foundation for me to become a professional dancer and performer.

 

   

Monique Ryan
Founder/Director of Dance Theatre of Huntsville

Monique’s mission and outreach program are directly inspired from Total Dance/ Dancical Productions, Inc.

I began my dance career with Total Dance as an instructor of Vaganova technique or Russian Ballet.  I never imagined, (being trained strictly ballet), that I could or would ever dance like her.  Some of her ideals were foreign to me, but there was something that drew me to her.  I enjoyed working with Terrie (as I so intimately call her) because she came with fire, spirit, courage, and endurance.  I wanted to have that same sensation as well.  I knew that once I started dancing with her, that there would never be an end to my devotion to her and her pursuit of bringing everyone in the dance world that much closer to the Mojah technique.  Mojah really is a spiritual thing for me, and I believe that everyone that has encountered Terrie knows it as well.  Mojah teaches you how to connect not only with your body, but with your mind and spirit.  Does she work your body until it absolutely wishes to collapse?  Yes, but at the same time she teaches you how to dance above the norm.  She teaches you how to captivate an audience until the very last beat.

To me, anybody can dance, but it takes a strong mind, body, and spirit to take on the challenge of Terrie’s journey.  I learned to be very disciplined, yet very demanding of myself when it comes to dance. Terrie showed me though, that not everyone can take the journey towards excellence, (even though some honestly believe that they can) one must be patient with those that try.  I have worked with Terrie for a total of twelve years.  I took a short break to have a daughter who too takes on the Mojah Experience tradition.  I have pledged to myself to ensure that the Mojah Experience stays alive.  I have never denied or turned my back to it or Terrie.  It is in the way I walk, the way I talk.  It now lives in my own studio in Huntsville, Alabama where my students believe that Terrie is an icon. ” My fire, my spirit, my courage, and my endurance survives intolerable conditions”.  I say this because no matter what, Mojah will live in me.

Nia Austin-Edwards
Founder/Creator of Purpose Productions

Total Dance has made me, not only the dancer I am, but the person as well.  I’ve learned so much more than dance, such as how to be a leader, to adapt quickly, to instruct, to choreograph. . .the list could go on forever.  This program develops true artists who can accomplish any and everything.  I’ve watched fellow company members get into college, join companies, free lance, and so much more.  I am proud to be a true child of Total Dance and plan to continue to support them throughout my career.

 

Justin Evans
Title Trained for 2008 Olympics in Tumbling/ Stunt Man for Kevin Hart

Mojah is a spiritual connection to your body that teaches you to honor your temple and also teaches you numerous ways in which to cleanse it. I cannot explain to you the way I feel when I do a release, round up, reach up to the heaven and lower my arms….It’s almost like your body tingles for a moment and says thank you.

With Mojah as well as Total Dance, I have gained a tremendous amount of self-esteem and self- worth. I’ve learned to respect and honor all forms of dance in the sense that you cannot truly call yourself a dancer unless you experience all forms as well as have an understanding of each form of dance. This is exactly what Mojah and Total Dance gives you. It teaches you to honor whatever form you are doing, and once you begin to honor all forms and move through each form the effects of Mojah become tremendous as well as healing.