At five years old, Olissa’s dance journey began with contemporary training and rigorous ballet technique. After a childhood at the academy, and a break from dance altogether, she returned to the dance world at Long Beach State University continuing ballet, contemporary and jazz, but was fortunate enough to be introduced to traditional West African. Instantly consumed by the style, she has since dedicated her training to movement originating in Guinea, Ghana, Senegal, and Brazil, among others. Over the last nine years living and traveling internationally, she has studied and performed with Irineu Nogueira, and trained with Ronald Brown, Mohammed Dordoh, Youssouf Koumbassa, Danza Contemporánea de Cuba, and a variety of other incredible masters and schools of movement.
Having been predominately based in London over the last eight years, Olissa has become deeply immersed in Afro-fusion movement from Brazil and West and South Africa. The development of her freestyle grew from the conscious communities of the London and San Francisco House scenes. Magical connections with dancers, DJ’s, and serious beats, across countless dance floors, has inspired Olissa to combine her love for what these two worlds stand for and focus on their union both in spirit and in form. The celebration of life and its cycles which lives at the root of all African Dance forms and the freedom and acceptance that is House, has Olissa applying her technical foundation where these two worlds meet: Afro-fusion, Afro-House, and Technical Freestyle! Olissa’s energy comes from meaningful connections, diverse travel, and that drum!