Born and raised in Atlanta, Aya moved to New York to attend FIT. While attending the Fashion Institute of Technology, they began a yearlong work-study program at the pole and aerial studio Body & Pole. After completion of school and workstudy they became elEVATED certified & Liquid Motion Certified. Always centering black and brown queer in their work, they currently teach sliding scale pole and floorwork classes for queer + trans people of color at Sweetwater Dance & Yoga.
Aya's a gender variant healer, organizer, writer, musicmaker, and pole dancer. Through their work and organizing, they explore blackness, their southern roots, healing, ritual, and ancestor reverence, magic, gender, sexuality, liberation, invisibility/ hypervisibility and the power in ratchetness, while always upholding twerking.
As a member of ACRE (Artist Co-Creating Real Equity) they work with an antiracist lense and are focused on black futures, especially black queer and women futures. They've made #iftheygunnedmedown, a collaborative work with Nicole Shante that addresses the the murder of Sandra Bland, Drop To Drink, with Benjamin Lundberg, which explored the spiritual, political, violent, and restorative reactions to water and the lack thereof during the height of some of our country’s most critical water emergencies, and Baptism: Black & Bald, with Nana Minder, which explored the political, social and societal of black hair and being bald. Late 2017, they worked with Nia Witherspoon, on Dark Girls Chronicles, which is play cycle erected in honor of black and brown cis and trans women that have been victims of state violence.
In addition, they've performed at Silent's Barn fundraiser for The Standing Rock Medic Council, Dixon Place's HOT! Festival, Bronx Academy for Art & Dance, The Center For Performance Research, and House of YES. In August, 2017 they completed OMI's dance residency, a process based residency focused on experimentation and collaboration with 10 international dancers, where the co-choreographed “Envagination I & II” and FOLLOW, focusing on shared rhythmic and linguistic communication across culture through the body.
Currently, they are working on Drexciya, a show exploring past, present and future environmental racism, justice, water and traditional African faith systems, the middle passage, ancestors, magic and healing + honoring the queer dead. It'll be told through pole, aerial, burlesque, contemporary dance, language, projection and ritual that audience immersive. Drexciya isn’t just an alternative universe but is also a breathing prayer for our queer dead, a blueprint for where we going and meditation on where we are now.