Afiwi Groove School was established in 2013 and became a non-profit organization five years later. We aim to empower, educate, and inspire all ages through African and arts and culture. Our programs promote positive self-esteem, confidence and an active lifestyle while educating and connecting participants to arts and culture of the African Diaspora. The positive learning environment encourages personal growth within the students and nurtures a deeper connection to their sense of self and identity. The word AFIWI means community, unity, and connection.
Founder and Artistic Director
Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Sanaaj Mirrie is a social entrepreneur, cultural arts ambassador, community developr, and artist with a clear vision of the benefits of dance, drumming, and connection to one’s roots. She founded Afiwi Groove school to provide an outlet for youth and offer a space where they can feel safe to be, and express, themselves. During her teenage years, African dance was Sanaaj’s escape and means to deal with anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem, which were the outcomes of being exposed to extreme violence and poverty at a young age. Since the age 17, Sanaaj has been formally trained by renowned artists, including Albena de Assis, B’memba Bungora, Ngoma Drum and Dance Ensemble, and Vivine Scarlett, and Master Amadou Kienou. She has trained and performed locally and around the world in Cuba, Haiti, Guyana, Ghana, and Trinidad & Tobago.
Sanaaj attended York University in Toronto where she earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in International Development Studies with a focus on Social and Cultural Development. She has successfully integrated her formal education and her passion for dance and drumming to create a school that uses the arts as a tool for social change and community development.
MEET THE TEAM
The dance and drum instruction teams are seasoned dancers and drummers from West African and Caribbean descent who come with decades of combined experience. All teachers at Afiwi Groove School work as a team to build skills, improve, and unleash hidden potential
Co-Artistic Director – Senior Performance team
Master Amadou – Drum Instructor
Miss Monique – Little Groovers
Miss Sanaaj – Baby Groovers
Miss Yvonne – Groove Teachers Assistant
Mr. Sheldon – Junior Groover
A list of companies we’ve worked with over the years.