Lavaroots Dance and Drum Company

BD 2015 Company

Founded in 2002 on the Big Island of Hawaii, we are a dynamic performing arts company, dedicated to the expression of one’s true self through movement, music and culture. We specialize in West African dance and drumming, passed down from our many Master Teachers. Respect and thanks to Gabriel Fara Tolno, Marietou Camara, Moustapha Bangoura, Naby Bangoura, Yousouff Koumbassa and more.

We are honored to share the healing power of moving to the drum. Through the dance, we build mind-body-soul connection, inner confidence, strength and community, one beat at a time. We often bring teachers and performers to share with our Big Island community, enriching and empowering youth and adults alike! We invite you to join us, either as an audience member or a participant, in the spirit of joy and self-discovery!

We offer classes in West African Dance, Hip Hop, Salsa and Creative Movement. Lavaroots offers school programming, community classes, Master Teacher Dance Workshops, a yearly dance and drum conference, yearly childrens summer program, theatrical performances and dance and music performances for any event.

If you are interested in taking a class or hiring us for an event please contact us.

Michál Anna Carrillo
Artistic Director/Choreographer

Michal head shot RioMichal Anna Carrillo has been studying different modalities of dance since she was five years old. As a teenager she danced with Garlutzo Dance Company in Colorado, and was a competitive figure skater for nine years. Michal took her first West African dance class while in college at The University of Washington, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts. Since then, she has studied West African dance with a variety of master teachers, many of whom she hosts on the Big Island to share with the Island community; Moustoupha Bangoura, Gabriel Fara Tolno, Marietou Camara, Naby Bangoura, to name a few. As the founder and director of Lavaroots Performing Arts, she teaches dance on the Big Island, and her company has performed island wide for the past 15 years. In 2007 she released an album,(see LINKS) and she continues to write & sing. She is a Teaching Artist in the schools, Vice President/Development Director of The Kissidugu Foundation,  the Director of the Lavaroots Summer Arts Program located at WCS and HPA. Michál is also a Licensed Massage Therapist in the State of Hawaii, helping to bring healing to folks for the last 20 years. She brings her healing work into many facets of her teaching and sharing as well. Empowering children and adults through authentic movement, the spirit of dance, and understanding of self; she shares the joy of music & culture, and encourages others to do the same. Aloha & Wontanara!

Jared Terpak
Technical Director

1044547_10151711504314771_237985736_n  Jared lights up the stage all year round as Hawaii Preparatory Academy’s Technical Director and Stagecraft Teacher extraordinaire!He is the Director of HPA’s Gates Theatre and teacher of Stagecraft & Design.  He is the mastermind behind the last 10 years of incredible play sets! He has been working with Lavaroots since 2008.  His motto: Life is art, art is life! Live it, love it, be it.

Debra McGee
Lead Dancer/ Rehearsal Director


Debra, a MN native, moved to the Big Island in 2011 after performing, teaching, and choreographing in NY and the Twin Cities for nearly two decades. She received her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Dance from Marymount Manhattan College in N.Y.C. There she performed works by Jose Limon, Milton Myers, Jeffrey Holder, Louis Falco, and Lar Lubovich. Debra is a former member of Garth Fagan Dance and performed his works nationally and internationally. Thereafter, she began teaching again and choreographing while training vocally at the Eastman School of Music in NY. Eventually, she returned to MN for a few years where she worked with former Alvin Ailey principal’s company called TU Dance and performed in numerous musicals. Debra’s true love is any and all dance because she can communicate to any culture with this universal language.





Michelle Ayau
Company Dancer

Michelle AyauMichelle Ayau’s love for dance and expression of movement began as a child when she studied Ballet and Jazz with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. She was later drawn to Yoga as an adult and has been practicing and teaching for the past 10 years. Michelle began taking African Dance classes with Michal on the Big Island in 2003, and has been performing with Lavaroots for the past 3 years.




Adrienne Van Berg
Company Dancer

AdrienneAdrienne Van Berg developed her enthusiasm for dance as a child in New York City while soaking up all the cultural offerings. After moving to Seattle in 1988 at age 12, she began to realize that dance was a passion and not just a hobby. In college she was able to take courses in ballet and jazz to learn technique. After moving to Hawaii in 1999 she began to feel the full expression of dance as she learned Hula. Also that year, she took her first West African dance class and fell in love with the total body movement to the rhythm of the drums. Since then she has been performing with LavaRoots Performing Arts, dancing various ethnic styles including African and Haitian. Adrienne has been married to Michael Van Berg for ten years and is the proud mother of sons, Tristan and River. While motherhood has proven to be a slight detour away from dance, it has also fueled her passion for it giving her new feelings to express through what remains her favorite medium.






Leslie Nugent
Company Dancer

leslie Leslie Nugent is inspired by the movement of nature and expression through dance. She has been dancing throughout her life and is honored to study the traditional rhythms, chants, and dances of Hawaii and West Africa. You can find her in the garden, working with the youth, and celebrating the beauty all around.






Jeannie-vie Woods
Company Dancer

Jeannie-webJeannie-vie Hernandez Woods has studied theatre, dance, and music through attending Performing Arts schools since she was 11 years old. Through the years performing on stage and film. She continued her higher education in New York at Purchase Conservatory of Arts. Jeannie-vie was introduced to W. African in Seattle, Washington and since then began cultivating her practice. She now lives in N. Kohala, Big Island continuing her studies of music and dance and loves sharing the joy and the soul expression through W. African culture with Michal Carrillo and the Lavaroots Dance Company.



 Ali Caputo
Company Dancer

Ali CaputoAli Caputo at a young age loved to explore movement and trained in gymnastics where she competed up till high school. After high school she moved to Oregon and began studying yoga. It was also at this time that she took her first African dance class and was captivated by its beauty and interwoven rhythms. Since moving to the Big Island in 2009 she deepened her love of dance by taking Haitian and West African classes. She is grateful to have meet Michal who has enriched her experience of dance.







Krista Donaldson
Company Dancer

Krista-DonaldsonKrista Joan Donaldson is a lifelong student of dance and performance arts who believes these traditional and modern expressions of the divine feminine will help change the world. Krista Joan is a teacher, sustainability director, and community organizer cheerleading her way around school gardens and keiki surf events. Her favorite body movement takes place in nature with Lava Roots drummers/dancers and ancient West African rhythms. Krista dedicates her performance to ancestors who did not have the freedom or opportunity enjoyed by women today. Welcome to the revolution. You can find her work at



 Lenita Richmond
Company Dancer 2005-2016

Lenita-RichmondLenita Richmond has been dancing for over 25 years. Her various styles of dance include: Jazz, Broadway, Ballet, Modern, Hip-hop, Caribbean, Haitian and African. She has studied, performed and taught around the world in NY, Chicago, Los Angeles, Japan, New Zealand, and the Caribbean. Lenita has performed with Lava Roots for over 10 years.

 Glaucia Ribeiro da Silva
Company Dancer 2006-2014

Glaucia-250Glaucia Larson is originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. She started dancing ballet at the age of six and later began studying Jazz and Modern Dance. Jazz became her passion and dedication, and thus she started dancing professionally at the age of fourteen. At the age of seventeen Glaucia decided to move to the US to pursue her passion for Dance. Since then she has experienced many different styles and rhythms of dance, making her today a well-diversified dancer. She has been dancing with Lavaroots Performing Arts since 2006.