Valdosta Scene June 2022 | Page 28

She also began doing local performances on the side , being a local fixture at global education events at the James H . Rainwater Conference Center . Getting numerous requests from spectators to perform at other events , Allen came up with the idea of forming a dance troupe for all in the community to participate in and maintain cultural awareness . “ They used to have these global events at Rainwater when countries worldwide would be there . We had dances , food , and presentations , and schools would watch the presentation . We always presented Africa with music stories from that culture , but outside of that the general community did not have that ,” she said .
Allen quickly decided to form the troupe in 2015 and decided to name them ‘ The Family Village of Aya ’ for two reasons : 1 ) to reflect the way dancing as a language unites people and 2 ) Aya is an African symbol that represents resilience and standing , bouncing back in the face of adversity is a representation of a fern leaf .
“ The leaf can survive in any climate in any adverse weather conditions in the forest or in the jungle if you will . Even though it may wither , it always eventually finds its way back . So that ’ s how we came up with the name . We figured that we are all family under the eyes of God and village we ’ re all here and sort of a small community , a closeknit town . So that ’ s how we came up with the name .”
28 Valdosta Scene | June 2022