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Artistic Director

Julie Staveley-O’Carroll has been studying West African dance for over 19 years, with a special passion for Guinea, West Africa. She began taking classes in Lancaster, PA around 2000, and was inspired to travel to Guinea for the first time in 2013 to learn about the dancing and culture from the source. She has studied with several master dancers and drummers over the years, including Youssouf Koumbassa, Salia Camara, and Bolokada Conde. 

Since moving to Columbia, Julie has taught West African dance classes and performed throughout the community, with recent appearances at the Missouri Theater, Rhynsburger Theater, and The City of Refuge. She travels to Guinea each year to immerse herself fully in the culture and art forms which first inspired her to begin Wontanara.

Julie lives with her husband Kevin in Columbia and is also a yoga instructor at Sumits Hot Yoga.