Art is the essence of emotion and an individual’s window of self-expression. Some express themselves visually while others choose to use words to demonstrate their inner soul. At Aroha Arts Collective, we offer opportunities for anyone who is interested in using the arts as a vehicle of social action.
We at Aroha Arts Collective define social action as an action that leads to healing, education, opens up dialogue, and creates opportunities for like-minded individuals to collaborate in actions that create positive change.
Aroha Arts Collective is the perfect place for those who desire to effect positive change by infusing dance, theater, visual art, photography, film making, music, story-telling and poetry with social activism. We are committed to communication through personal art, granting people of various backgrounds the opportunity to create lasting bonds of friendship through collaboration. At Aroha Arts Collective, we encourage you to bring your authentic, noble self through which your art shines through. The creative essence is YOU.
The founder of Aroha Arts Collective, Adalia Ellis-Aroha, is from South Carolina and has been dancing as form of social change since she was a child. Naturally drawn to dance, as a teenager she participated in grassroots performing arts groups that focused on using dance to address issues of social importance such as racism, the equality of women and men, and substance abuse.
As a teenager, she found an additional outlet for her creativity as a writer of poetry and performing Spoken word pieces in coffee shops. While attending Coastal Carolina University she was first introduced to Latin Dance in the living room of her best friend and wrote and performed her first choreopoem, “My Dear Mother Africa”.
As a young adult, she traveled the world and it was during her travels that she honed her skills as a Latin Dancer and became a certified instructor under the tutelage of Son, Na-Ri of SalsaIn Academy in Seoul, South Korea. While in Seoul, she also partnered with MIZY, a UNESCO foundation, and facilitated and directed a program called “HipHopucation”. This program followed the roots of modern day Hip-Hop from Africa to present day. The collective artistic work of her students culminated in a performance for the public. After returning to the United States she received a Masters in Teaching and went back overseas to work as teacher in Abu Dhabi. She reflects on this experience as being pivotal in honing her skills as an educator.
Since returning to the United States she has started two organizations, Aroha Afro Latin Dance LLC and Aroha Arts Collective: An Arts and Social Action Initiative. In addition to running a dance organization and non-profit organization she is also an adjunct professor for public speaking at Francis Marion University. She has created and taught the University's first ever course on the History of Afro Latin Dance and Music.
Under Aroha Arts Collective she has organized The Convergence Symposium and offers a 6 week online experience for white and white passing individuals who are committed to breaking the cycle of white supremacy.