Ayana Setareh (Thanatos) أين is an African-American, Italian dual citizen & entertainer based in London, UK. Performing as 'Thanatos' (the Angel of Death), Ayana uses pole dance & prose as a tool to educate others & recreate history on stage. She loves to incorporate the use of pole dance to bring to life ancient history & literary concepts & translate them into theatrical form. Thanatos is both the Ancient Greek & Biblical personification of death & the Ancient Greek variation of the Hebrew, Malakh Ha-Mashhit, or 'the Destroying Angel.'
Born, Ayana Mekella Joy Patton, in Seattle, WA & raised near Snohomish, WA, Ayana considers herself to be an entertainer with a social purpose. Being exposed to both private & public school education from a young age (as well as homeschooling), Ayana attended Visitation Catholic STEM Academy & Meany Middle Schools. She later went on to attend Ingraham & Rainier Beach High Schools, where she was Senior Class President, a Varsity Cheerleader, a Dance & African Drum Ensemble Team Member, & participated in Running Start. She graduated from High School in 2004, & despite experiencing very serious physical bullying & other setbacks, she went on to attend the illustrious, Black Elite, Howard University (c/o 2008, B.A., Dean's List, Journalism & Political Science).
At Howard, Ayana was extremely popular & very well known for having all the best houses, parties, & getting everyone to smoke cloves. She was Parliamentarian of the oldest, non-fraternal organization on campus, Campus Pals, & was also a contributing writer for The Hilltop & Black College View Online news sources. She covered the first-ever, Washington, DC State Visit of Pope Benedict XVI in 2008, & conceived, founded & chaired the first-ever, Taste of Howard, Annual Event in 2007.
She was renowned for her sincere love for people & the global African Diaspora. More of her work, including her 2008 interview of the President of Students for Barak Obama, as well as her public speaking work, can be found here & in the videos below.
Ayana moved to London in 2009 to pursue an M.A., Financial Economics. She graduated the following year with Merit overall & Distinction on her final dissertation (a study on race, migration, & the economic consequences of remittances in South Africa). Ayana is a Full Equity Member, an RSA Fellow, a Full Member of the Chartered Institute of Fundraising, & a Member of Disability Rights UK. She left a full-time career in Philanthropy in 2016, & has been performing & advocating for 'Pole Dance as an Art Form' across the US & Europe ever since.
With an upbringing heavily influenced by Persian, Indigenous, & African culture, Ayana sees herself as a modern-day Amytis of Media, Pocahontas, or Cleopatra VII. She views Pole Dance as an empowerment tool & loves to experiment with the Russian Elite & European Classique techniques of Pole Dance & Sport. She founded the Persepolis Pole Project in 2016.