Djoniba Students Perform Sinte

Happy 31st birthday to our partner Peridance Capezio Center!
VIDEO of the beginner students of our Joneeba African Dance class celebrating the occasion on Sat 7th at the Skirball theater!
Mon-Wed-Fri 7:30p / Sat 2p. Djoniba Mouflet designed the class for total-2 left-feet beginners and breaks down the steps
so everyone can get it, have fun and sweat!

Learn Afro-Caribbean Dance with Richard Gonzalez

Learn right here, right now a Afro-Caribbean dance with Richard Gonzalez. Come to Djoniba Centre to take his class and learn many more steps and have a great time!
TUE 7:30-9:00pm / THU 6:00-7:30pm

The Afro-Caribbean dance from the video:  Richard’s dance is fused with the influences of Caribbean rhythms and traditions. His training in Katherine Dunham technique at the Alvin Ailey Dance School is incorporated in the principles of alignment with the vocabulary of Caribbean dance.

Afro-Caribbean Dance
This master teacher of Afro-Caribbean and varied contemporary dance forms exhibits in his dance a strong ethnic fusion that result of the African, Spanish and Taino influence ever-present in the Caribbean.

Richard Gonzalez
Acclaimed for his inspirational classes, Richard Gonzalez, choreographer, musician, and performer, is nationally recognized as a premiere interpreter of Afro-Caribbean folkloric and contemporary dance. Baba Richard who over the course of his 25-year career has shared the stage with notable artists, has participated in numerous dance festivals, and has served as instructor and lecturer at dance conferences.

The Spine 1: Master of your body !

The following information is intended as a resource and should not be used to self-diagnose or treat.

Over the next few issues of the Djoniba Newsletter, we will share with you critical health information concerning your back with particular focus on the spine.  From the back structure to potential injury and injury prevention to safety tips, we will address those different topics as an information guide to help you better understand your back.

The spine structure: Your back is a complex and intricate structure of bones, muscles, and other tissues extending from your neck to your pelvis.

Your spine is a column of 33 bones (called vertebrae) that extend from your skull to your pelvis.  Between each vertebrae  is an intervertebral disk that acts as a shock absorber.



The spinal disk:  The spinal disc has twobasic parts: an inner Jell-O like center called the Nucleus Pulposus and an outer surface called the Annulus Fibrosis. The Nucleus Pulposus  is the water-rich (proteoglycan-rich), gelatinous center of the disc.  The Annulus Fibrosus  is much more fibrous (tougher) than the nucleus, and is made of a tough cartilage-like substance. Its main job is to hold-in-place the highly pressurized centre (nucleus), which can escape its central prison.




The vertebrae are made of  bones and are divided in four sections: Cervical vertebrae (your neck), Thoracic vertebrae (your upper back), Lumbar vertebrae (your lower back), and the Sacrum and Coccyx (the base of your spine).

Each Vertebrae is referred to with numbers and affect different part of your body:


C1: To supply blood to the head, pituitary gland, scalp, bones of the face, brain inner and middle ear, sympathetic nervous system, eyes, and ears.

C2: Eyes, optic nerves, auditory nerves, sinuses, mastoid bones, tongue, forehead, and heart.

C3: Cheeks, outer ear, face, bones, teeth, trifacial nerve, and lungs.

C4: Nose, lips, mouth, Eustachian tube, mucus membranes, and lungs.

C5: Vocal cords, neck glands, and pharynx.

C6: Neck muscles, shoulders, and tonsils.

C7: Thyroid gland, bursa in the shoulders, and elbows.


T1: Arms from the elbows down, including hands, arms, wrists and fingers; oesophagus and trachea, and heart.

T2: Heart, including its valves and covering coronary arteries; lungs; bronchial tubes.

T3: Lungs, bronchial tubes, pleura, chest, breast, and heart.

T4: Gallbladder, common duct, heart, lungs, and bronchial tubes.

T5: Liver, solar plexus, circulation (general), heart, oesophagus, and stomach.

T6: Stomach, oesophagus, peritoneum, liver, and duodenum.

T7: Kidneys, appendix, testes, ovaries, uterus, adrenal cortex, spleen, pancreas, and large intestine.

T8: Spleen, stomach, liver, pancreas, gallbladder, adrenal cortex, small intestine, and pyloric valve.

T9: Adrenal cortex, pancreas, spleen, gallbladder, ovaries, uterus, and small intestine.

T10: Kidneys, appendix, testes, ovaries, uterus, adrenal cortex, spleen, pancreas, and large intestine.

T11: Kidneys, ureters, large intestine, urinary bladder, adrenal medulla, adrenal cortex, uterus, ovaries, and ileocecal valve.

T12: Small intestine, lymph circulation, large intestine, urinary bladder, uterus, kidneys, and ileocecal valve.


L1: Large intestine, inguinal rings, and uterus.

L2: Appendix, abdomen, upper leg, and urinary bladder.

L3: Sex organs, uterus, bladder, knee, prostate, and large intestine.

L4: To prostate gland, muscles of the lower back, sciatic nerve

L5: Lower legs, ankles, feet, and prostate.

And finally, the SACRAL VERTEBRAE (in green) or COCCYX VERTEBRAE (in purple), at the very bottom or tip of the spine.

Source: /

Next issue: The different injuries associated with your Spine.

Winter fun in December!

Please send us your listing of any African-based world events – concerts, shows, exhibitions – so we can share with our members!



Samba Saturdays!  Check out The Brazil Show @ S.O.B.’s (204 Varick Street, NY, NY) on Decmber 15th & 22nd.  (212)-505-8183

Dec 29 @ S.O.B.’s (204 Varick Street, NY, NY

Special EventThey Call Me Q! A One-Woman Show by Qurrat Ann Kadwani
Thursday, Jan 10 7:00p
One and One, New York
The Inspired Word Presents They Call Me Q! A brilliant one-woman show written and performed by award-winning actress Qurrat Ann Kadwani .

African Soul Jam ~ Dance Party
Saturday, Jan 12 10:30p
The Five Spot, Brooklyn
DJ SM and DJ Fola spin the best mix of African club favorites in NYC: Afrobeat, Coupe Decale, Soukous, Kwaito, and more.


African Art, New York, and the Avant-Garde
November 27, 2012–April 14, 2013
Special Exhibition Tells Story of How African Artifacts were First Recognized as Art in U.S.
Location: Michael C. Rockefeller Special Exhibition Gallery
The Metropolitan Museum of Art


West African:  Ebe Ye Yie (2364 Jerome Avenue, Bronx, NY)  The menu of fresh main courses from Ghana changes daily at this tasty spot.

Senegalese:  Dibiterie Cheikh (231 West 116th Street, Harlem, NY)  This restaurant features sweet plantains, yassa chicken and fish, and much more to please your palate.

Ethiopian:  Awash (338 East 6th Street, NY, NY)  Delicious spicy and buttery finger foods await you at this East Village find.

West African Benne Cakes

I don’t know about you, but I often need a sweet treat after an action-packed dance class with Djoniba.  This recipe for Benne Cakes comes from West Africa, where the benne seed (known here in the U.S. as the sesame seed), originated.  Though called a cake, this treat is more like a cookie.  Benne seeds contain a small amount of protein and are commonly thought to be good luck, so make a wish and sample a benne cake from your own kitchen!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Oil  to grease a cookie sheet
  • 1 cup finely packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup toasted sesame seeds

Here’s what you’ll do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 Degrees.
  2. Lightly oil a cookie sheet.
  3. Combine the brown sugar and butter, beating until they are creamy.
  4. Stir in the egg, vanilla extract, and lemon juice.
  5. Add flour, baking powder, salt and sesame seeds.
  6. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto the cookie sheet two inches apart.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes or until the edges are browned.
  8. Eat and enjoy!


*Retrieved and adapted from and

Learn Haitian Dance with Peniel #1

Learn right here, right now a Haitian dance with Peniel Guerrier. Come to Djoniba Centre to take his class and learn many more steps and have a great time! Friday 6-7:30pm

The Haitian dance from the video:  The dance shared with you that you can now learn and practice at home is a step from the dance named “Koyi”.  It represents the mermaid Queen of the ocean named “Lasire”.  She is beautiful, strong, and proud.

Haitian Dance
Haitian dance is a blend of African, Indian and French traditions. When Africans were brought to Haiti to work as slaves, they also carried with them their music, dance, religion, rituals, and customs. Over time, the African cultural traditions evolved and melded with the indigenous Indian and French cultures. Voodoo is at the root of Haitian dance. According to Haitian religion and folklore, the gods and goddess, called Loa or L’wa, created dance movements. Such movements encompass a broad range of dynamics from subtle to aggressive.

Peniel Guerrier
Peniel Guerrier began his formal dance training in 1987. Herve Maxi, the most prestigious teacher in Haiti, was impressed with his dancing and invited Peniel to study in his school. Subsequently Peniel danced with the National Dance Theatre for 8 years and toured all over the world: Venezuela, Paris, Hungary, Japan, Montreal, Germany, Santo Domingo, and the United States. During this time he also toured with the Baccoulou Dance Company.