Meet Asa Mohammed
Growing up, Asa Mohammed struggled to express herself. She dealt with anger and resentment but didn't have the words to let it out—until she found dance.
She took dance classes as a kid and studied a variety of styles from ballet to hip-hop. But it was at The Movement Factory, a dance studio in the neighbourhood of Peckham in London, where she found a home to explore her craft. It was also where she realised she could help others find new ways to express themselves.
"I've been through enough to know I can help other people through movement", says Asa.
Leanne Pero, the founder of The Movement Factory, took notice of Asa's gift and asked her to give teaching a try. "[Asa's] amazing and she's remained very level-headed. This is her base, this is her thing, so when this opportunity came, it was a no-brainer", Leanne says.
Asa has thrived as an instructor, growing more confident with each session. "If you enjoy what you're doing, it just comes naturally", she says.
What started as open sessions of Asa and her friends practising routines are now fully booked-up classes. Students say they love her classes because they're more than a place to learn a few moves or rehearse a routine. The students can also come in, vent about the pressures of school, get advice about things going on at home and develop confidence in their voices.
Dance was just a way for me to address my feelings, to express what I was going through.
"You never know what they need", says Asa. "Maybe they need to talk to someone, and I'm always here for them. Maybe they need to dance through it".
For Asa, The Movement Factory isn't just a studio or a schedule of classes. It's a safe place that feels untouched by the negativity of the world, a community that welcomes all and encourages young kids to be themselves.
"There's just so much going on. This world kind of needs us to be that light in a way, and we can do that through our movement".