A Detroit native, Ajara Alghali is a performance artist and thought leader at the intersection of dance and representation. Her artistic practice is in the classical West African discipline, blending her cultural grounding with expressive body movements. Alghali believes that music and dance are important modes of communication needed to nurture individuals, disseminate knowledge, and advance the culture. Through her artistry, she engages in the vital work of cultivating dancers and culture-keepers to create a community of stewards of the rich bodily history of West African dance. She is co-founder of TeMaTe Institute for Black Dance and Culture, which is actively re-framing traditional African dance as part of the classical dance canon. Alghali, holding a Master of Urban Planning from Wayne State University, is a cultural worker, urban planner, and anthropologist all in one. Her work is a fusion of life experiences from her Sierra Leonean-American roots and focuses on the connection between African people throughout the diaspora. Her cultural identities and perspectives define her guiding philosophy: there is inherent value in traditional practices and the informal ways people build community and share their history.