About Us

Bahiya Movement was founded in 2011 by mother/daughter team Afia and Nafi Thompson.  Bahiya is a Swahili/Arabic word which means Beautiful.

Our mission is to create a safe, welcoming, body positive environment where everyone of all shapes, sizes, and genders are transformed into performing artists. By offering dance etiquette paired with traditional dance technique, members learn all while having lots of fun making beautiful movement.

Our vision is to cross and break barriers regarding body image and self-esteem through the art of dance.  Our goal is to showcase that your body size, type, or gender does not defines you as a dancer, but rather the skill, technical training, creativity and love for the arts that defines the artist.

Afia “Beautifull One” Thompson

Afia Beautiful One Thompson received her acclaim 20 years ago in West African dance. She has performed nationally and internationally in genres including jazz, hip-hop, lindy hop, freestyle, and modern dance. Her company Bahiya Movement has participated in SF Juneteenth, Black Choreographers, and Mbongui Square. Recently their piece iNdigo Skin: In Fear of Black Fruit, placed 2nd at Luna Dance Studio ChoreoFund 7 in Berkeley. Gracing the stages of The Palace of Fine Arts, Yerba Buena, and Oakland’s Art and Soul festivals.  She continues to teach classes in the Oakland community to professional dancers and dance enthusiast of all ages.

Nafi “Neon Blue” Thompson

Nafi Thompson has been dancing since the tender age of three, at Spelman College’s youth dance program in Atlanta, GA.  She is well versed in Modern Jazz, West African, Hip-Hop, Haitian, and Ballet. Nafi founded Bahiya Movement Dance Company at the age of 18, to provide a body positive environment where everyone of all shapes, sizes, and genders are welcome to create self-expressing works of art. Nafi currently holds the position of Assistant Dance Instructor for Dance Production at Skyline High School in Oakland, CA under the Direction of Dawn James. She enjoys helping others reach their artistic destiny.

Shawn Hawkins (Principal Dancer)

Shawn Hawkins was born and raised in San Francisco, California. He discovered his passion for dance as a freshman at California State University, East Bay. While there he honed his unique choreographic skills by fusing hip-hop and modern dance styles while creating powerful pieces that deal with social and political issues.  In 2014, he joined Bahiya Movement, defining his skills and technique in modern jazz, hip-hop, house, and African dance, while enhancing his choreographic vision. His mission is to inspire youth in a thriving and positive atmosphere. Shawn believes that art is the driving force towards success.