Learn more about our
D’LYFE Program Directors
AKUA DELFISH is an active member of the community at large. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Communication, Culture, and Technology from Georgetown University (Washington, D.C.) and an Honours B.A. from York University in Fine Arts Cultural Studies, with a minor in Sociology. Akua has been involved in the Toronto community on various levels, including being a current executive committee member of the TPS Black Community Consultative Committee; the Youth Education Officer for the Antigua and Barbuda Association of Toronto; and a former Executive Board Member at the Malvern Family Resource Centre. She received a 2013 Ontario Volunteer Service Award for 20 years of service.
Akua has been performing heavily since the age of five in music and dance. As a musician, she plays the electric organ, trombone and baritone, completing her high school studies at a (then) art-designated school with a performing arts concentration in music. Currently, Akua performs with the reigning top steelpan orchestra in the city, Pan Fantasy; she has been with the band for 18 years and alternates between three instruments within the ensemble.
As a dancer, Akua has been performing Afro-Caribbean dance across Ontario for 25 years. Trained under the tutelage Scarborough Caribbean Youth Dance Ensemble for 13 years, Akua honed movements of the African and Caribbean genres, performing at major festivals, television networks, award shows, and competitions. She then furthered her technical dance training with Caribbean Dance Theatre for 11 years. As a seasoned and senior dancer with the company, Akua performed in numerous dance productions, shared the stage with major artists, and presented dance works in festivals as far as Japan. In 2005, Akua was one of five dancers selected to perform for a Caribana Cultural Contingent sent by the Hong Kong Tourism Board to represent Canada at the Cathy Pacific International Chinese New Year’s Celebration in Hong Kong. Currently, she is a member of La’Riatsila Dance Company and performs as an independent dancer with various dance groups including Spice Island Performers, Dance Caribe, and WiMotion.
In 2006, Akua was invited by the Consul General of Antigua and Barbuda to present in a workshop on “The Place of the Cultural Arts in the Identity and Development of Caribbean Peoples,” as part of a 2-day national forum entitled Caribbean Roots: Canadian Branches. She presented pieces and excerpts of her works pertaining to identity, and contributed workable ideas and suggestions for bridging the gap between generations, and merging folk and contemporary culture. In November of the same year, Akua was a recipient of the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda’s special 25th Anniversary of Independence award for her contribution to arts in the Caribbean community.
Presently, Akua invests a great deal of her talents into fostering positive interest and experiences with Caribbean history and folklore among younger generations. She was been the coordinator and dance instructor for the Just Dance program from 2011 to 2014, engaging young dancers in Scarborough. She has provided artistic direction for a bi-annual Youth Splash, a cultural and talent production. Overall within her community involvements, Akua leads in the development of youth programming that supports cultural awareness.
Akua is a Senior Communications Coordinator with the Government of Canada.
Born and raised to dance in Toronto, Onika has been dancing for over 15 years and has trained in Caribbean Folk under the care of SCYDE and Hip-Hop with RUKUS Dance Troop. She shares a natural talent and passion for Reggae & Dancehall. A graduate of York University, Onika has also performed across North America, Europe, Caribbean and even as far as Africa. She has been fortunate to be under the study of Diana Webley and Luther Brown; and has worked with choreographers such as JaeBlaze, Fatima Robinson, HiHat, Tanisha Scott and JaQuel Knight.
Since the wake of her dance career, she has toured with Sean Paul and Canada’s very own Kardinal Offishal, where she has loaned her talents as a choreographer and dancer. Blessed by her talents, Onika has graced the stage alongside Nicole Scherzinger, Black Eyed Peas and danced in videos for Drake, Rihanna, Shaggy, Beenie Man, Puff Daddy to name a few. Her dancing has also taken her to acting as she has been featured in the movies Rags, Honey, How She Move and Percy Jackson.
When not performing on stages, Onika enjoys sharing her talents with others and has done (and continues) to do workshops in Canada, US, London, Europe, Africa, Asia, and The Caribbean. Giving back to her community, she has taken on the title as Program Director/ Dance Teacher for a children and youth dance company based in Toronto.
Staying humble and always ready to be cultured – She is grateful for all the lessons learned, thankful for all the opportunities given and blessed to teach others, with a main focus of putting the positive/fun side of Dancehall in the forefront it deserves to be. Onika is definitely part of the Toronto Dance Movement and continues to make a great role model for female dancers (and music lovers) worldwide.