Ayesha Jaco


Ayesha is a Senior Director, Choreographer and Philanthropist.. She has taught African, Modern Jazz and Hip-hop dance to over 1000 Chicago youth. She is the founder of Move Me Soul Youth Dance Company, M.U.R.A.L. (formerly the Lupe Fiasco Foundation. She studied with Homer Bryant, Nicole Stuart (Gallery 37 in the Parks), Diane Holda, Najwa Dance Corps and the Illinois State Dance Theater.

In 2008, her poem "Baba Says Cool For Though" was also featured on So You Think You Can Dance. In 2007, she taught Brad Pitt a few hip-hop moves in preparation for his role in Burn After Reading. In 2006, she choreographed Lupe Fiasco's I Gotcha Video. Ayesha holds a Bachelor of Science in Dance and Mass Communication from Illinois State University and a Masters of Arts Management (Arts in Youth and Community Development) from Columbia College Chicago. She is a 2018 Chicago DanceMakers Forum Lab Artist and will premiere a new work The Chississippi Mixtape in 2019.


Ayesha Jaco is a Senior Director, Choreographer, and Philanthropist. Over the course of her year-long residency at Rebuild Foundation, she will dig into topics of heritage, legacy, and migration through movement, sound, film, and participatory archiving. The outline of her residency is as follows, sign up for our newsletter to remain up to date on specific events with Ayesha!

Chississippi Mixtape (Jan – July 2019)
The Chississippi Mixtape is a montage of choreographed and improvised movement featuring the sounds of Damon Locks coupled with various images and oral histories. The suite will chronicle the voyage of the artist’s late Grandmother and mother from the Mississippi Delta as sharecroppers to Chicago during the 2nd and 3rd waves of the Great Migration.

If These Walls Could Walk (July 2019-Dec 2019)

a 2-part Series featuring a workshops, conversations and art making honoring the historic presence and impact of Tornado School Martial Arts & Shonuff Dance Studio. These African American cultural landmarks used to reside next door to the Stony Arts Bank.

Part 1: Black Samurai (July 2019-Sept 2019)

Black Samurai honors the legacy of Tornado School of Martial Arts. Tornado served as a Midwestern satellite school for African Americans across the country. It was founded by Gregory Jaco in 1981.  Sensei Jaco provided martial arts training to over 2000 Chicago youth until 2004.

Part 2: Shonuff Dance Studio (Sept 2019-Dec 2019)

This series includes a series of master classes and community panels honoring the history and legacy of dance companies that rehearsed and that were incubated at Shonuff Dance Studio.

Hours & Location