Rita Addico Cohen: Healing Through Art & Dance

Rita Addico Cohen: Healing Through Art & Dance

Photo by In His Image Photography

“Bringing people together through culture.”

Rita Addico Cohen is a multi-hyphenate who has dabbled in just about everything. She was born in Accra, Ghana, and migrated to the States as a child.  She speaks 10 different languages. Not to mention, she is a dance fitness instructor/artist, has a Bachelor of Arts in classical music from the University of Virginia (UVA), a Master of Music in Classical Voice from the Manhattan School of Music, and has sung with the Virginia Opera. In 2009, Rita wanted to address the issue of health disparities in the African-American community. So she became a Zumba instructor to help African Americans prioritize a healthy and active lifestyle. Incorporating African rhythms, Rita infuses her own culture into a fitness program with origins in Latin America.

Working in the nonprofit space also is important to Rita. She is the Founder/Executive Director of the Tidewater African Cultural Alliance (TACA) which celebrates the African diaspora. “We strive to bring Africans and others in the greater Tidewater area together through community outreach, community service, educational programs, and cultural arts and events,” she says.

Rita Addico Cohen leads a group of women during her “AKWAABA: Welcome to Ghana!” session at the Zumba Instructor Convention in Orlando, Florida, in July 2019.
Photo by Z Best Foto.

Through her work at TACA, Rita created and has been delivering a program called African Story Time, a virtual program for those underserved families in the ForKids organization which advocates for homeless children. “We are also on the Virginia Commission for the Arts’ Teaching Art Roster for the next 3 years, so I’m excited that we’ll be able to bring African educational arts programming for children and adults to the whole state,” Rita says.

Rita Addico Cohen gives convention-goers a taste of the “AKWAABA: Welcome to Ghana!” session at the Zumba Instructor Convention in Orlando, Florida, in July 2019.
Photo by Z Best Foto.

TACA also will partner with Teens With A Purpose on a project called “The Healing Quilt.” It will be an interactive multi-disciplinary performance piece that will show how teens and adults deal with the issue of race in the Hampton Roads area from a personal perspective. “We received a $10,000 grant from the Virginia Humanities and the Hampton Roads Community Foundation, and cannot wait to share the experience,” Rita says.

To learn more about Rita Addico Cohen, visit her website and follow her on Instagram, and Twitter. To learn more about the nonprofit TACA, visit their website and follow them on Instagram and Twitter.