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meet mawu

amy secada

Co-founder, Company Member


Secada is one of New York City’s most influential and progressive urban dancers and is recognized for her unique afro-urban acrobatic style. Originally from New York City, Secada grew up in the underground rave scene and jungle/house clubs of the late 90’s while studying Capoeira and African dance extensively. Secada lived abroad for many years studying dance, yoga and Capoeira in India, Senegal and Brazil gathering inspiration and a deeper understanding of the relation between folkloric movement and modern club culture. In 2007 Nike Women honored her athletic technique with a series of solo dance commercials and international Nike campaign, which spread her unique afro-urban dance style worldwide and lead to performance opportunities with Madonna and Fergie. Secada has been featured in numerous magazines and campaigns including Target, Champion, Adidas, Italian Vogue, Mademoiselle, Women’s Health and Self Magazine. In 2004 she founded KJM an afro-urban dance collective and is also the curator of the legendary Urban Roots Project held in NYC since 2006. Secada is a co-founder of MAWU, New York City’s only all-female house crew and continues to travel internationally teaching and performing while developing her art and herself. Outside of the US, her work has been presented in Czech Republic, Senegal, France, Denmark, Brazil, Columbia, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Italy, the Netherlands and India.

linda lanaija

Co-founder, Company Member


Linda LaNaija moved to New York City in 2004 in search of diverse cultures and forms of movement expression. She has developed a unique style that blends house dance as well as African and modern dance, and is known for her fluidity, her strength and her sensual musicality. Linda has worked with artists such as Camille A. Brown, Marjory Smarth, and Adia Whitaker, and has been a member of Ase Dance Theater, Fusha Dance Company, and Vissi Dance Theater. She has received training from Ronald K. Brown, Aleta Hayes, Dyane Harvey-Salaam, Bill T. Jones, Shani Collins and Juel Lane. Stage credits include On Earth Together (Ronald K. Brown and Evidence Dance Company), Every Day I’m Hustlin’ (Ephrat Asherie Dance), Ish Scoodah in which she appeared alongside Aleta Hayes, and The Hoarde (Vissi Dance Theater). She has appeared in numerous music videos featuring artists such as Louie Vega, Barbara Tucker, Mr. V, Wunmi, and Gregory Porter, and she also choreographed the musicals Bums & Monkey, Travesties, West Side Story, and Grace Falls, a musical debut at the 9th Annual International Fringe Festival. In 2007 Linda cofounded MAWU, and went on to perform at numerous venues including Lincoln Center, Alvin Ailey Theater, Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance, and SummerStage. She has also won several competitions including New York City Jacks, the Freestyle Dance-Off in Miami, the House Dance Conference Battle, and Step Ya Game Up and recently taught workshops and judged at House Dance Crossing (Tokyo), House Dance Forever (Amsterdam), House Dance Europe (Italy), and Ladies of Hip Hop Festival (New York). Linda teaches workshops in and outside of New York, and continues to collaborate with various choreographers and companies.

ephrat asherie

Co-founder, Company Member

Ephrat "Bounce" Asherie has trained extensively in ballet and modern dance, but has found her home in b-girling, hip hop and house. Ephrat began b-girling in Brooklyn in 2002 under Breakeasy (original B.I.S crew). Soon after, she was introduced to house music and has been greatly influenced by the New York club scene ever since. Ephrat has performed and taught throughout the US and Europe, as well as in Peru and South Africa. She has appeared on MTV, Comedy Central and at Carnegie Hall, Madison Square Garden and DTW. Ephrat is a regular guest artist with Rennie Harris Puremovement and a member of the allfemale breaking crew FoxForceFive. She was chosen by Dance Magazine as one of 25 to watch in 2007 and is on faculty at Broadway Dance Center. Ephrat is honored to be a part of MAWU and is excited to keep reppin hard in the ciphers and on stage.

tine gatchalian

Co-founder, Company Member


Christine “Tine Machine” Gatchalian, started her first tap class at age 3, and has been dancing ever since. Raised in California, she danced with Bay Area dance groups Future Shock Oakland, Culture Shock San Francisco, UC Berkeley Dance Team and Funkanometry SF using her skills in jazz, hip hop and street jazz. She moved to New York City in 2004 to train and to immerse herself in the underground house dance scene. During her 9 years there, she was exposed to the many styles that the city’s rich dance culture had to offer, such as voguing, waacking, dancehall, hustle, tango, salsa, and capoeira. In addition, sessions with the MAWU ladies has improved her abilities and influenced her style due to the diverse backgrounds of each member. She also performed with House of Dangerkat for Juste Debout in Paris and in London for Fashion Week. Her urge to discover the roots of street dance led her to studying lindy hop, charleston and vernacular jazz. In 2014, she was awarded the title of Frankie Manning Ambassador by the Frankie Manning Foundation. Whether it's the stage or a dark club, Tine Machine is happiest when she's dancing. Her goal is to bring that joy to her audience and dance partners as well. She is now based in London, but her heart will always be with New York and the Ladies of MAWU.

eriko jimbo

Co-founder, Company Member


Jimbo grew up in a family of musicians and has always been dancing since she could remember. At a young age she started training in classical ballet and modern, and later decided to pursue her passion, studying dance at the North Carolina School of the Arts and NYUTisch. After earning her BFA, she broadened her dance training through wushu, aerial work, capoeira, hip hop, waacking, vogueing, breaking, African, and house. She has traveled throughout the world to perform and teach, and aspires to continue traveling all over the globe sharing her passion. She feels very blessed to have met and be dancing with the members of MAWU and all of her influences of the underground house and hip hop scene. Jimbo also toured extensively with the main touring company of Pilobolus Dance Theater from 2009-2014, and continues to perform and work with several different choreographers and companies.

big tara

Company Member


Tara (aka big tara) is a founding member of the Anomolies Crew, and a member of Fox Force Five, MAWU, and HeartBreakerz Crew. Born and raised in the Lower Eastside, Tara was influenced by the dance and music culture of her neighborhood, the clubs and the New York City lifestyle. In addition to breaking, she is proficient in hip hop, house, waacking, vogueing, lindy hop and pole dance. She is a Bgirl and mc who has graced many stages including the Apollo, BB Kings, the Manhattan Center, and Lincoln Center. She has worked with Run DMC, the Roots, Erykah Badu and LL Cool J to name a few. She is committed to representing New York’s underground music and dance culture accurately and positively through her music, battling, performing, teaching workshops, and also giving lectures. She has shared her knowledge in France, the Netherlands, Germany, Brazil, Canada, Portugal, the Ukraine and Nigeria. In addition, Tara has presented her own works at events like Central Park Summer Stage, DMC World Championship, Bgirl Be, Allied Media Fest, Ladies Hip Hop Get Down, Under the Radar Festival, Ladies of Hip Hop, J.U.I.C.E. Hip Hop Dance Festival and Howl Fest. She received certifications in Antigravity Yoga, Urban Rebounding, TRX, and helped develop the pole dance program at Crunch. In 2008, Tara was awarded a scholarship from the Kane School of Core Integration where she gained her Pilates certification under the legendary Kelly Kane. Tara has been a consultant on projects for Nike footwear, X-pert Pole Certification program and with the United Nations and is featured in books (Vibe Hip Hop Divas, We Bgirlz and Girls Got Kicks), magazines (Essence, Honey, and The Source) and the documentary "All the Ladies Say." Currently she is a teaching artist that also trains private clients and groups, participates in dance competitions, performs and is working on a blog.

rhodesia robledo

Company Member


Rhodesia (Rho) Robledo was born in New London, CT and is the 6th child of 8. With so many people in the house, Rho grew up exposed to many different types of music. Music was always a prominent force in the Robledo household. Drawn primarily to hiphop, dance came natural to Rho. She would make up routines for fun with her sister Ruby and many of the neighborhood kids. She later became exposed to house music on a main stream level while in middle school. Throughout high school Rho participated in talent contests, variety shows, performed with a dance group and helped organize dance events for children. This helped solidify her position as a dancer within the community. Rho first attended Club Shelter during her college years, at the end of 1996. From that point on her life changed. From 1996 on, Rho jumped head first into the NYC underground dance community and never looked back. In 2003/2004 Rho worked for the Garde Arts Theater as a choreographer, for an after school program working with inner city at-risk youth. Rhodesia has worked with middle school and high school kids in collaboration with Colors of Life and Writers Block, which she did for 3 seasons. Rho became an original member of Michael “U4Ria” Clarke’s The Movement Foundation in 2006, and joined Ladies of Hip-Hop in 2012. She performed and attended workshops with both groups. In March of 2014 Rho officially joined MAWU.

chriz nypan

Company Member

Chriz started dancing at a young age in Norway, discovering hip-hop in 2000 at X-Ray and with Cre-8 Dance crew. She moved to France in 2004 and graduated in 2007 with a Bachelor’s degree in performing arts (dance, jazz & Contemporary) from Off-Jazz (Nice) and The International Academy of Dance (Paris). In 2006 Chriz began her study of hip-hop techniques at the Tony Maskot Hip Hop education in Paris, and she started to work professionally in Paris in 2007. She has appeared in TV productions, music videos, and performances, working with international choreographers and companies such as: Les Gens De… (France), Flores/ Membros (Brazil), Frikar (Norway), Hip-Tap Percussive Dance Ensemble (France/USA), Da Silva Company (USA) and Cre-8 Dance Company (Norway). Chriz is an active member of Dudettes, an all-female dance crew, and the Company A Part Etre (France/ Senegal), which has a major focus on oppression. In 2014 she choreographed for The National Academy of the Arts in Oslo. Chriz has been teaching and holding workshops internationally in France, Brazil, Ecuador and numerous Norwegian educational institutions. Chriz has also participated in, won and judged international battles. Chriz fell in love with the house and hip-hop culture and has been searching to learn, grow and develop the techniques and understanding of the dances, history and foundations. It has led her to move and travel from Norway to Paris, passing by Brazil and New York. Chriz’s experiences working with international choreographers and dancers, and connecting with people and dancers of different styles and cultures have contributed to the development of her unique movement, style and dance expression.

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