About Us

Júlio T. Leitão,

Founder/Artistic Director
Júlio T. Leitão is a dancer, choreographer, and the founder of Batoto Yetu in the US and Portugal. Born in Luena, Angola, from which he was forced to flee when civil war erupted in 1975, Mr. Leitão grew up in Lisbon, Portugal, and received his initial dance training at Conservatório Nacional de Dança de Lisboa.

Esther Grant Walker

Rehearsal Director
Esther Grant-Walker has been an integral personality in the West African Dance community for over 25 years. She has carved a niche in the folkloric dance instructor community of Harlem, by providing free intergenerational classes, community events, and workshops.

Erica Layne

Program Director
Erica is a native New Yorker currently residing in Queens. Her outgoing, nurturing and jovial personality is unsurpassed to her dedication in being in service of others. It is her passion to develop relationships and recognize the needs of others within her community that people are naturally drawn to her.

Dakota Holmes-Dodge

Alumnus/Teaching Assistant
Dakota Holmes-Dodge has been dancing since the young age of three and has trained at Alvin Ailey School of Dance, Djoniba Dance Center, Batoto Yetu Dance Company and the Professional Performing Arts High School. His acting training began age seven with Biz Kidz where he is currently the assistant acting coach.

Jasmine Holmes-Colon

Rehearsal Assistant

Jacqueline Neale

Costume Director

We thank you for your support.

Your generous contribution keeps our programs running and our children dancing.
We hope to see you soon at a Batoto Yetu event or performance.

Sincerely yours,
Júlio Leitão
Founder & Artistic Director