Michael Friend, Artistic Director/Founder

founded Soul In Motion Players, Inc. in 1984. Michael wrote and debuted his first theatrical production entitled, We Are Africa in 1991. His other works include Henrietta Marie, Malcolm, What If., and Ile Ife – House of Love. He started his music/acting career in 1969 with the world renowned Arthur Hall Afro-American Dance Ensemble and Theatre Advocate, in his hometown of Philadelphia, PA. Friend furthered his studies at Fisk University and graduated Howard University in 1981, receiving his B.A. degree in Communications. Michael has gone on to record/perform nationally and internationally, including a Jazz tour in 1989 to Cameroon, West Africa. As a percussionist, Michael performed with The Four Kings of Rhythm and Blues for over 10 years, featuring Jerry Butler, Gene Chandler, Ben E. King, and Lloyd Price. Friend’s regional accomplishments include performing in the Arena Stage production of Derrick Walcott’s The Odyssey and with The Dance Theatre of Harlem at the Kennedy Center. He’s a former board member of several local arts organizations: Black Rock Center for the Arts, Joe’s Movement Emporium, and The Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County – serving as Vice President of Grants for 3 years. In 2011, as director of Soul in Motion, Michael won the prestigious Montgomery County Executive’s Community Award for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities, in 2014 he was the recipient of the Empower Magazine Player Award and on March 19, 2016 Joe’s Movement Emporium honored Michael as a Mighty Joe with the Creative Visionary Award.

Pam Lassiter, Associate Director

graduated from the Performing Arts School of Philadelphia and continued her dance training at Freedom Theater, Philadanco and the University of Maryland where she received her Bachelors in art. After graduating, Pamela joined the company of Afro-One Dance, Drama and Drum Theater where she danced for 5 years before receiving her Masters degree in physical therapy from the University of Pittsburgh.

Papa Aziz

is originally from NY City where he attended James Monroe High School in Bronx, NY. He later went on to study Liberal Arts at Howard University in Washington, DC. Quote from FB: “I am never at a performance just to make a dollar. I always play with the intent to move Nyama or the spiritual energy that flows through living beings and that connects us to our ancestors. I AM NOT A MASTER DRUMMER….I AM A SERVANT drummer OF MY PEOPLE AND MY ANCESTORS a praise drummer for the most High.”

Merinda Evans

from Gary, Indiana is a recurring member of Soul In Motion who has been performing and teaching West African Dance in the DMV for over 30 years. She’s studied and worked with the National Ballet of the Republic of Guinea as well as with several African Dance companies. She loves the spirit of African Dance and enjoys performing in the arts and sharing her talents with young people. She’s currently a staff member with the Taratibu Youth Association.

Amber Golden

was born and raised in Washington, DC. She spent her youth performing in musical theater and studying many forms of dance including ballet, modern, jazz, tap, and Caribbean dance. After attending Howard University, she lived in Tallahassee Florida for 16 years where she focused on West-African, Afromodern, and Haitian dance forms.

Kimberly ‘Jahada’ Hinton

is a native of Norfolk, VA. She studied under Baba Kenyatta Henry which excelled her interest in the drum. Kimberly graduated the University of District of Columbia with a degree in Nursing.

Michelle Hutton

has distinguished herself as a talented and spirited musician. Although she has played different genres of music over the years, the native Washingtonian undoubtedly developed an ear for the fullness and richness of the drum at an early age.

Charla Lewis

is a native Houstonian who has studied West African dance since 2002. Though she’s been a student of various dance genres, she has a special love for African dance. In 2008 she traveled to Senegal to learn about dance origins.

Malari Moore

is a master djembe and dununba player in the DMV. He’s also an avid supporter of Mousai’s mission and services. Malari has been a member of Farafina Kan since 2005. He currently is a teacher at the Paul Public Charter School in Washington, DC.

Terryn Nelson

started doing African Dance in 1999 with Marcus and Jevelle Robinson’s African Caribbean Dance Theater in Tallahassee, Florida. In 2002, she joined the Balafon West African Dance Ensemble under the direction of Mama Kadiatou Conte when she had the opportunity to dance nationally including the Kennedy Center in DC, Florida, Pennsylvania and the United Nations in NYC. She joined Soul in Motion in 2014, after participating in the Summer Intensive Program and is happy to be a part of group that is dedicated to sharing the tradition of West African Dance. Terryn’s a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel and since retirement she has continued her job as a nurse practitioner while also exploring her passion for dance and group fitness. Terryn currently teaches Zumba, indoor cycling and aqua fitness.

Mamadi Victory

born in Springfield, MA, began his performance career with the Frank Hatchett School of the Performing Arts. While attending Howard University, he performed and recorded with the Jazz Ensemble. Later he moved to Brazil and performed with Folkorica do Bahia, Ara Ketu, and Agbeokuta.

Sheena Walker

affectionately known and goes by the name, “She”. She trains in all forms of dance, but especially enjoys African and modern contemporary dance. Sheena is always on fire to learn a move and simply can’t get enough of dance.

Karla Wilkerson-Glover

is a native of Lanham MD and mother of 3 special children. Sylvia Soumah led her to African dance and drum, Malari Moore helped connect it to her heart, and Soul In Motion made her dream come true.

Technical Crew

Keith Stephens, Technical Director

has worked as a studio engineer at Black Entertainment Television (BET) and with the legendary Lloyd Price, recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In addition to his lighting and sound contributions, Keith has been involved with the success of SIMPINC for over a decade. Our productions run trouble-free due to his committed involvement to assure that “everything runs smoothly” for us and the client. We know we have the best tech guy in the business.

Keith Bernard, Lighting Director

is currently the Technical Director for Drumline Live. He is the owner of BD Productions – Bringing Light to the film and television industry for over 20 years. As a graduate from Benjamin Banneker Academic High School, Keith’s industry credits are numerous including employment at Black Entertainment Television (BET).