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Class Notes May 2007: Volume 4, Number 2

Entrepreneur's Corner

Dance or Die!


It started out as a required class at UCSD and led to a life-long passion of West African dance. Now, Nikola Clay, ’82, has turned that passion into a business: Dance or Die! an educational and entertainment company that promotes West African music and dance.

After being introduced to the rhythms and sounds of African music, Clay sought out a mentor and met Abdoulaye Camara, a renowned dance master from Guinea, West Africa, who was working in Sweden. She brought Camara to the U.S. in 1993 to conduct dance workshops and the two eventually formed Dance or Die! The company’s main goal is to promote African music through workshops at schools, street fairs and other events. It also has a clothing line, CDs and instructional DVDs available for purchase online, with new products coming out often.

Based in Encinitas, Camara and Clay continue to promote their products while holding workshops and performances along with an ensemble of drummers. They also teach music and dance from all parts of the world, and have guest-lectured at UCSD for Sandra Foster King’s world dance class.

“Dance is an amazing way to introduce kids to other cultures,” Clay says.

Entrepreneurs Corner by Marnette Federis, ’06 and Neda Oreizy, '08.

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