We’re thrilled to announce two new Artistic Team members for COCA Hip-Hop Crew: MJ Imani, Artistic Director of COCA Hip-Hop Crew, and Arik Sexton, Rehearsal Assistant.
MJ is a professional dancer and choreographer from St. Louis. She began dance lessons at COCA at the age of eight and studied under the direction of Lee Nolting and COCA Hip-Hop Crew Founding Artistic Director Anthony “Redd” Williams. In 2017, MJ was selected as COCA’s Katherine Dunham Pre-Professional Division Fellow. With a unique and inclusive curriculum that challenges students and represents the creative scene in the St. Louis community, MJ is excited to provide COCA’s student artists with the tools to be successful in their craft.
We talked with Co-Artistic Director of Dance Kirven Douthit-Boyd about COCA Hip-Hop Crew’s new leadership:
What does MJ bring to this role that sets her apart?
Kirven: We are so excited to have MJ lend her voice to COCA’s artistic leadership. We believe that her perspective will continue to help the dance department evolve in a truly innovative way. MJ has the perfect balance of professionalism and passion for education that align with COCA’s artistic leadership. She has a deep knowledge of hip-hop that transcends movement. Her passion for education will ensure that COCA’s students receive a well-rounded experience. Her artistic and administrative experiences will help her continue to grow as an educator and an artist. We look forward to supporting and learning from her in this role!
What are MJ’s strengths?
Kirven: MJ is going to explore new ways to showcase hip-hop from both a movement and a cultural lens. She’s invested in curriculum building and will redefine the way that COCA families engage in the genre. She is thoughtful and selfless. She is committed to elevating the work of the students.
And tell us about Arik’s strengths for his new role as Rehearsal Assistant?
Kirven: Arik has been a team player from the beginning of his time with us. He has a nurturing approach to teaching that has been recognized by COCA families. He will be a tremendous asset to the artistic team.
We are so excited to have MJ lend her voice to COCA’s artistic leadership. We believe that her perspective will continue to help the dance department evolve in a truly innovative way.Kirven Douthit-Boyd