Run Like a Girl looks at the words and phrases permeating our cultures that chip away at the self-esteem of girls, creating a false image of girls and women as “weak.” These words and phrases are detrimental as well to boys and men, as they are taught to hide and suppress their emotions, their natural empathetic tendancies, and create a system that limits all of our potential.

The Run Like a Girl Benin team: Wendy Jehlen, Marcel Gbeffa, Christy Dossou and Ahehehinnou Orphée

We have since presented Run Like a Girl workshops in Port au Prince, Haiti; Ouagadougou and Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso;  and São Paulo, Campo Grande and Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and will take the workshops to Botswana in November 2019, all with the support of the US Embassies and Consulates. We presented Run Like a Girl for the first time in the US in Somerville, MA in July 2019.

In May 2017, in partnership with dancer/choreographer Marcel Gbeffa’s Centre Chorégraphique Multicorps and supported by the Embassy of the United States in Benin, ANIKAYA conducted the first fully-implemented series of Run Like a Girl workshops.

Workshop at Multicorps, Cotonou
Run Like a Girl BOBO avec les non entendants.IMG_2391
Workshop with Deaf and Hearing dancers in Bobo Dioulasso photo: Marcel Gbeffa

This process is a demonstration of the power of embodied knowledge, deconstructing patterns of movement and of mind and building new ones. The changes evident in just four to five days of work together are evidence that dance works.

In each city, we partner with local arts organizations. Some of our partners so far:

Centre Chorégraphique Multicorps

Burkina Faso:
Art au délà du Handicap
CDC Termitière

Centro de Referência da Dança
Fragmento Urbano
Corpo Sinalizante
Corpo Cidadão

Parkour Generations


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Team meeting in São Paulo with teaching artists: (pictured) Luciane Ramos, Anelise Mayumi Soares, Douglas Iesus, (not pictured) Leonardo Castilho, Marcel Gbeffa and Wendy Jehlen photo: Fabio Minagawa

Performance in Port au Prince, Haiti