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Headshot with white shirt, earrings and green and yellow necklace.

Iya Ifanike Batts (she, her, hers)

Adjunct Lecturer

  • Theatre Arts
  • College of Fine Arts


Lashawnda Iya Ifanike Batts is a multi-hyphenated creative who anchors her work in uplifting, inspiring, and empowering people. She is the founder of Daughters of the Baobab, a performance development intensive centering African and African-American girls. Iya Ifanike has been able to exercise and continuously hone her talents as an artist and a teacher. She has studied dance forms such as ballet, jazz, hip-hop, modern, Afro-Caribbean, and traditional West African. Iya Ifanike has studied under a variety of masters from various backgrounds, such as Marie Minto, Peter London, Garth Fagan, Jawole Zollar, Joan Myers Brown, Camille A. Brown, E. Gaynell Sherrod, Lineen Farmer, Millicent Johnnie, Guy Thorne. She served as the resident choreographer for FAMU’s Essential Theatre program for 4 years before moving to the DMV in 2011. She has received various awards for her artistic talents and has choreographed several concerts, written and directed her on musical, and build up a dance program in an elementary school. In 2021, she served assistant choreographer for the Deal-Davis Commisioned sponsored by International Associations of Blacks in Dance and DancePlace. Iya Ifanike also co-founded a social enterprise named the Cultural Arts & Development Bridge (CADB). CADB was created for the purposes of educating, preserving, and promoting the use and application of indigenous technology. Their programs emphasize cross-cultural collaborations between custodians of indigenous technology around the world using cultural exchange to bring sustainable solutions in developing communities. ( She has also had the unique opportunity to live in Nigeria for two years and extensively study the cultural dances and indigenous practice of the Yoruba people of Southwest Nigeria. While in Nigeria Iya Ifanike intensely studied various aspects of the indigenous customs such as dancing, drumming, sing and more. It is in Nigeria where she studied and trained as a traditionalist in the Yoruba indigenous practice.She served as an arts consultant for the International School of IITA in Ibadan, Nigeria. Iya Ifanike also designed and executed programs that were sponsored by her business. Programs such as a cultural immersion tour where she hosted 9 students from Howard University in Nigeria for 15 days. Lastly, an apprenticeship program where a young blacksmith learned the indigenous forms of blacksmithing in 3 cities in Nigeria. The teaching arts program where a mutual exchange was created between teachers in Nigeria and teachers from the US. Iya Ifanike is a very busy lady on a mission to do all she can to make her contribution in the world.

Education & Expertise