Los Angeles-based SOKAMBA Performing Arts Company has been facilitating cross-media creation since its inception in 2012.
SOKAMBA is a collective of artists that produces live multimedia art shows, creative educational workshops and performing arts classes.
The Mission of SOKAMBA is to use the fusion of interdisciplinary art and technology to produce experiences that appeal to a multitude of senses and awaken a feeling of harmony and community among diverse audiences.
SOKAMBA is sponsored by C3: Center for Conscious Creativity and Artist in Residence at the Vortex Dome LA - located on LA Center Studios, the production home for several television series and feature films such as Mad Men, The Voice, Die Hard, The Dark Knight Rises and Law & Order LA.
The SOKAMBA community is always eager to push boundaries while nurturing a collaborative working-environment. The collective is made up of a diverse group of artists including dancers, acrobats, actors, musicians, sculptors, animators, cinematographers, VR creators and software engineers.
SOKAMBA's artists' credits include Coachella Music Festival, SXSW, Lightning in a Bottle, Universal Studios, The Industry, The 14th Street Factory, The Chainsmokers, Harry Belafonte, Paula Abdul, James Taylor, and Jack Johnson.
Fostering collaboration is a core value at SOKAMBA. The collective has been grateful to collaborate with groups such as the Summit Series, Plain White T's, Nokia, The DTLA Art Walk, ArtShare LA, the LA Children's Hospital and the International Association for the Arts - UNESCO.
Rissi - Founder & Creative Director
Rissi Zimmermann has a deep passion for developing experiences which bring people joy. She strives to create safe spaces which liberate self-expression as a channel for communication across diverse communities. In 2012, Rissi founded the Los Angeles based SOKAMBA Performing Arts Company with the mission to foster roots of unity through the inclusive spirit of the arts.
Part German and part Native American, Rissi was raised in a creative home as one of five daughters who all grew up dancing. During her young life, Rissi trained in classical ballet and twice received Exceptional Distinction under the Royal Academy of Dance, placed within the top 10 performances of the World Tap Championship and became the South-German track team champion. At age 15, she moved to New York City to attend the Fame School - LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts - where she was honored with the Father Fame award for Excellence in Academics & Dance and graduated with an Advanced Regents Diploma in Math and Science.
Rissi has been grateful to enjoy a dance career which has led her from cities across Europe to New York and Los Angeles, working with artists such as James Taylor, The Plain White T's, Pink Floyd, Jodie Gates, Bradley Rapier and Meredith Monk; performing in projects such as the TV pilot Leaps and Bounds, the UN World-Peace-Day video Secret Weapon, the LA Fashion Week and the modern adaption of Opera Virtutum. Rissi completed her studies at the University of Southern California as a recipient of the POSSE Full Tuition Leadership Scholarship and since has led a series of Initiatives in community building through the arts, including the elementary school program Imagining America: Community Leaders. Rissi is grateful to be leading SOKAMBA on its exciting journey.
Jamie - Art Director
Jamie Lew is an artist and culture creator—
an art director, illustrator, video designer, graphic designer, filmmaker, producer, dancer, and strong independent woman.
Her passion for pop culture and the ephemeral nature of live performance has led her to work with visionaries such as Amy Tinkham / Zixi Inc., Josh Zangen, Nick Whitehouse, Nikos Lagousakos, Nina McNeely, Tom Buderwitz, and Takeshi Kata for clients such as Harry Belafonte, James Taylor, Sokamba Performing Arts Company, Dancing with the Stars, Ringling Bros. Circus, Steven Tyler, Aerosmith, Paula Abdul, Disney Junior Channel, and Disney Music Group. Whether producing artistic renderings or developing the emotional content of a performance, Jamie is ultimately interested in creating the moment when every member of an audience feels oddly at home, sitting in a theatre full of strangers.
Neaz - Director of Choreography
Neaz Kohani is a choreographer and dance teacher based in Los Angeles, CA. Her choreography is known for being rooted in emotional connectivity and storytelling, who’s movement becomes cathartic for those who dance it.
Neaz’s pieces have been featured at the San Fransisco Dance Film Festival, LA’s Premier Showcase, Clube Jete, at Rage Night Club, SUMMIT LA, and the G’DAY USA Gala. She has had the honor of choreographing for numerous artists, dance companies, and dance teams throughout the U.S. including The Plain White T’s, Odette, the Sokamba Performing Arts Company, and the Beverly Hills, Taft, and Milken High School Dance Teams.
She is currently on faculty at Downtown Dance and Movement where she teaches weekly heels and contemporary classes. Here, she is able to provide safe spaces for dancers to engage in community and build their confidence.
Neaz loves to create movement that tells a story, diving into people’s hearts with raw, undisguised emotions. Her ability to empower her dancers and create choreography that embodies each person’s unique abilities allows her pieces to have a deeper impact and reach a variety of audiences. Neaz emphasizes and cultivates a culture of collaboration amongst her dancers and creates work that speaks to the soul.
Kurana - Multimedia Coordinator & Co Music Director
Kurana is the musical and immersive-visual channel of Christian Robinson. Born to a singer and touring trombonist, music was a fundamental part of his life as he moved from place to place including Dallas, Sydney in Australia, then completed high school in Orlando, FL. Being exposed to so many different cultures taught him the values of creativity, adaptability, and the life-changing effects that art can hold.
He is a DJ, has been in many bands, and produces visually-driven electronic music under the name Kurana. Over the years, his self-taught approach to VJing became a staple in his skillset, and he further honed his video editing & animation skills at USC. As a VJ + animator, he’s worked on tours & events for Felly, Joey Bada$$, Sophia Black, Shlohmo, RKCB, Madeux, D33J, and Daria Black.
Justin - Co Music Director
Justin Bell has been versatile, working on TV speed schedules (for HBO, NBC, ABC, and Netflix), big budget, grandiose projects (with the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer), and getting creative and managing tight budgets on numerous independent features and shorts, ranging in styles of beautiful orchestral, subtle ambience, raging synths, bombastic drums, jazz, and indie pop.
A graduate of the USC Film Scoring program, Justin has worn many hats in the music business, and is now excited to work as a Music Director for the performing arts company, Sokamba!
Tonatiuh - Story Consultant
A native Los Angelino, Tonatiuh Elizarraraz graduated from USC's School of Dramatic Arts and is a member of Sokamba Performing Arts Company and Echo Theater Company.
An advocate of storytelling for social change, Tonatiuh believes that it is the artist's responsibility to help create a more empathetic and tolerant society. If media can be used to separate and isolate, it also can be used to unite and heal.
Tonatiuh's recent television credits include Stargate Origins (MGM), The Loud House (Nickelodeon), Vida (Starz), Famous in Love (Freeform), and Jane the Virgin (CW). Theatre Credits include: Fixed (Echo), Les Blancs (Rogue Machine) Species Native to California (IAMA), House That Jake Built (IAMA), and Hit the Wall (LGBT Center).