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Mojah Legacy


"Teaching and performing my mother’s original technique, Mojah, is a core part of my creative work. Mojah combines elements from other dance styles including modern, jazz, and West African. It is a dance technique, and much more. Mojah is a reclaiming of identity, culture, and spirit expressed in and through the body. It connects me to my heritage and a familial artistic legacy. In Hip Hop Theatre, students explore Hip Hop culture, their personal stories, and their own lived experiences. They learn to embrace their own voice to create and perform original pieces."

-Aquila Kikora Franklin

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"Aquila Kikora Franklin is an Associate Professor of Theatre/Dance and teaches West African,

Hip Hop, and Mojah dance. She has performed, choreographed and taught in cities across the

globe including Linz, Austria, Grahamstown, South Africa, Dakar, Senegal, Minas Gerais, Brazil,

throughout China, Europe, and the United States. Franklin has also performed and

choreographed for the Atlanta Hawks dance team. At Penn State, her creative work and

research focuses on developing the Mojah dance technique, an original style that fuses modern (Horton and Dunham), jazz, West African, and Hip Hop movement into one form. Franklin’s interests also include studying the cultural and artistic expressions of the African Diaspora, the development and evolution of contemporary African and African-American concert and social dance, and using arts education as civic engagement.


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Community Outreach


"Huerta loved the positivity of Franklin’s speech. Franklin spoke about multiple historical women, like Helen Keller who overcame societal obstacles to help other people. She also talked about contemporary women who turned setbacks into victories.

'It gave me more insight into the person I can be,' Huerta said."


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Roots of Life

"For nine years, as part of the State College Area School District’s Learning Enrichment Program, Roots of Life has delivered such mesmerizing displays of entertainment and enlightenment. Students from elementary to high school come together to embrace West African dance and drumming, broaden horizons and form lasting bonds."

Click below for full articles about Roots of Life. 

Arts and Architecture faculty lead intergenerational performance at Foxdale

Roots of Life Performing Arts Ensemble

44th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Banquet draws record attendance

A Shared History


Blood at The Root


"Penn State School of Theatre presents 'Blood at the Root' – A play which explores the racial tension at a Louisiana High School. Inspired by a true story, the piece examines the complexities of racial divide, sexual identity, and personal relationships. Written and directed by Dominic Morissseau and Steve Broadnax respectively, the company presents this thought provoking piece of dramatic theatre united with powerful choreography by Aquila Kikora Franklin."


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The Pennsylvania State University

"In The World I Want To See, a multi-generational group of performers led by Susan Russell, Penn State Laureate, interprets the science of drawdown through music, dance, and storytelling. Using the words of the students who spent the summer at Penn State as a part of the Drawdown Research Education for Undergraduates, The World I Want to See delivers these important messages straight from the young scholars."


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"Aquila Kikora Franklin’s choreography shows off the cast’s physical agility with complex dance movements, often with a touch of acrobatics."

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"Franklin said her goal with this film and as a professor is to 'amplify and support the voice of the student by providing a space for them to explore various modes of expression.'

'I hope that Jalen’s work connects with people and inspires others to share their stories,' Franklin said. 'We all have one, and we all want to be heard.'

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