Andrea "Najwii" Vinson
"My fundamental belief is that the arts endow its participants to understand life in a broader spectrum."
Andrea "Najwii” Vinson, became the Artistic Director of NAJWA Dance Corps in 2013, after serving two years as the Associate Artistic Director. She has danced and performed with NAJWA Dance Corps (NDC) since its inception. While being the Associate Assistant Artistic Director she was mentored and monitored into teaching and choreographing under the direction and watchful eye of Najwa I. Her earlier professional dance experience was with Julian Swain Dance Theater and Muntu Dance Theater.
These companies gave her the desire to further pursue traditional jazz dance and African dance styles. Through NAJWA Dance Corps, whose purpose is to preserve dance styles and techniques, Andrea has acquired in-depth knowledge of various genres of dance. After researching African dance and studying many other forms, her desire led to specializing in African, traditional Jazz and hip hop dance. She is developing her own style of dance called "Afro Fusion", which mixes different styles and techniques of African, Jazz and Hip Hop. "Confrontation", "Knowledge Is King" and "Bullet Proof" are choreographic works that depict this style.
Najwii, as she is affectionately called has performed in theater productions, "The Regal Theater" and "Don't Get Around Much Anymore", television and film, such as "The Blues Brother", "Brewster Place" and "The Chicago Story". Andrea's other dance credits include: Teaching Artist with the Joffrey Ballet, Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education (C.A.P.E), Master Teacher with Chicago Public Schools’ All City Dance Ensemble’, Alvin Ailey Chicago Camp, Lead Artist for After School Matters and the Artistic Director of Urban Credo (Columbia College).
One of the highlights of her professional dance career was to meet and perform for former dancers of the "Idlewild Review", whom sanctioned the authenticity of the dances presented. They represent the last of the Black Chorus Line, whose expertise was steeped in traditional jazz and swing.
Though Andrea has worked with many great dance artists, she gives special recognition and thanks to choreographers and master dance artists Julian Swain, Alyo Tolbert, Najwa I, Assane Konte, Abdoulaye Camara who has influenced her the most in dance. In addition, Andrea gives a special thanks to Master Drummer, Sekou Conte, her drum instructor and coach who has amplified and enhanced her musical and dance skills.