Now in its 40th year, DanceAfrica 2017 returns, beginning Friday, May 26 – Monday, May 29, for its annual celebration of dance, music and culture of the African diaspora in the United States and abroad.
“Healing Light of Rhythm” is this year’s theme, featuring a weekend-long festival of community events, workshops and the vibrant DanceAfrica bazaar taking over the surrounding streets of BAM.
Since its inception in 1977 under the direction of the late Baba Chuck Davis, DanceAfrica has established itself as the largest celebration of African and African-American dance, music and culture. This year’s performance under the leadership of Artistic Director Abdel R. Salaam is a special anniversary celebration honoring the legacy of the beloved landmark festival.
“Africa is our great ancestor, whose first language was movement – dance – with its infinite forms and rhythms. Africa and the dance and music of its diaspora are ancient and traditional, present and contemporary, visionary and the future,” said Salaam on the festival’s website.
Members of Philadelphia’s hip-hop based Illstyle & Peace Productions, New York City’s Forces of Nature Dance Theatre, and the drummers and dancers of Asase Yaa will come together to showcase traditional and contemporary styles.
DanceAfrica 2017 pays special tribute to the culture of Guinea with an exhilarating performance by Wula Drum and Dance Ensemble, a master group of US-based Guinean dancers and musicians. Both groups are joined by the BAM/ Restoration Dance Youth Ensemble.
FilmAfrica, part of BAMcinématic and companion to DanceAfrica, features an eclectic collection of narrative and documentary films highlighting African diaspora of the United States and abroad. Co-presented by the New York African Film Festival, it returns this year also with a special focus on Guinea.
For future or aspiring dance masters of all ages, the festival offers the DanceAfrica Family Workshop. Caregivers and children alike deepen their engagement with DanceAfrica in this fun-filled, hands-on workshop focusing on Guinean movement and music.
The DanceAfrica Master Class will be lead by M’bemba Bangoura from Wula Drum and Dance Ensemble. This immersive workshop, designed for participants with intermediate or advanced experience, is an introduction to West African rhythmic traditions and the fundamentals of Guinean music and dance.
From Saturday, May 27 – Monday, May 29 DanceAfrica’s beloved bazaar will transform the streets surrounding BAM into a global, buzzling marketplace. Celebrate the rich and diverse cultural heritage of Africa and its diaspora, and experience more than 150 vendors from around the world, offering African, Caribbean, and African-American food, crafts, and fashion. Rain or shine – it will be there!