Social Buttons

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

In Context: DanceAfrica 2017



Forty years after its inauguration under the artistic direction of the late Chuck Davis, the nation’s largest festival of African dance returns for a special anniversary celebration. Context is everything, so get closer to the production through our series of curated links, videos, and articles. After you've attended the show, let us know what you thought by posting in the comments below and on social media using #DanceAfrica.

Program Notes

DanceAfrica 2017 (PDF)

Read

Article
Baba Chuck Davis, In Memoriam (BAM blog)
Susan Yung, BAM’s senior editorial manager, reflects on the recent passing of DanceAfrica’s beloved founder: “With the passing of Baba Chuck Davis this past weekend, we lost one brilliant star—no, supernova—from the sky.”

Article
Faces in DanceAfrica (BAM blog)
A series of personal stories from a few people whose lives have been touched by DanceAfrica.

Article
Behind the Scenes at BAM–Stacey Dinner, Artist Services Manager (BAM blog)
BAM's own Stacey Dinner reflects on ten years with the festival that first brought her to BAM.

Article
Chuck Davis, Who Brought African Dance Traditions to America, Dies at 80 (The New York Times)
A sweeping obituary touching on Baba Chuck’s discovery of African dance; the mentorship of Geoffrey Holder, who taught him to embrace his height; and his enduring mantra: “Peace, love, and respect, for everybody!”

Study Guide
DanceAfrica 2017 (BAM Education)
Learn more about Guinean culture in this comprehensive study guide from BAM's Education Department.

Watch & Listen

Interactive Audio
Reflecting on DanceAfrica
BAM is partnering with StoryCorps to create a platform for you to share your experiences with the 40-year-old festival.

Video
A World of Dance in Philadelphia: Illstyle and Peace Productions (YouTube)
On the spirituality, mission, and movement of Philly’s Illstyle and Peace Productions.

Video
Asase Yaa Show Segment and Fan Appreciation from Kente Arts Alliance (YouTube)
The unmatched drummers and dancers of Asase Yaa at a performance in PIttsburgh.

Video
Forces of Nature Dance Theatre at Winter Solstice 2016 in NYC (YouTube)
Forces of Nature Dance Theatre performing last year in New York City.

Video
Wula Drum and Dance NYC (YouTube)
The Guinean and West African dance and djembe music of New York City’s Wula Drum and Dance.

Photo Album
DanceAfrica Bazaar (Facebook)
Photographer Ruddy Roye captures the faces and energy of this annual tradition.

Now your turn...

How did you enjoy the show? Likes? Dislikes? Surprises? Tell us what's on your mind in the comments below and on social media using #DanceAfrica.

18 comments:

  1. The show was amazing very emotional and inspiring at the same time. We lost a great one and that saddens me. You will always be in the hearts of all those who love you and thanks you for giving all those years of perfection as Dance Africa. I love you Baba Chuck Davis and rest in peace. By. Marcella (sankofa).

    ReplyDelete
  2. This year BAM really disappointed me!!! It looked like a High school performance. I have been going to dance Africa since I was a child watching my family perform. I have never felt like this after a performance. You really don't realize how much impact one person has until that person is gone. Chuck Davis is DANCE AFRICA! He would not allow the show to look the way it did had he been alive today. I performed there 4 years under the tutelage of Chuck. I know how he was in rehearsal. One word? Perfectionist! I might try one more year, if it looks like this next year I will never go to the show again. I can't let Dance Africa 2017, tarnish the memories I have of Dance Africa 1995-2016. It was a sad day. BAM has watered down Dance Africa!������������

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yaa Asantewaa NzingaaMay 29, 2017 at 6:54 AM

      I Totally Agree! I attended the May 27,2pm PPerformanc...let me correct that SHOW!!! It was Ragady Not Chuck Davis Quality

      Delete
  3. Great show love the performance very inspirational message I plan to return annually embrace the mother land peace love respect

    ReplyDelete
  4. Peace, Blessings, Give Thanks.
    I was at the first DanceAfrica in 1977 and have attended most of them over the course of the 40 years, performing with the International Afrikan-American Ballet in 1985. This year's show was something out a disappointment. The storyline of the the traveling brothers/adversaries was interesting, not as interesting as last year's little boys travels. It seemed like such a mish mosh of performances. Illstyle and Peace was sloppy, and I've seen and photographed them on two occasions. What happened to Asasa Yaa's dancers?
    Forces' long piece was repetitive and could have been cut at least ten minutes. I was wondering why Abdel would play for awhile and then sit down behind the drums. It was kinda' rough.
    The bazaar was so packed in a smaller, disjointed set-up. There were less food vendors and very long lines. I went to the Saturday night show to hang out, support the merchants and get something to each, but I wound up eating at a local place.
    I'll be back next year.
    Missed Chuck, one of my first dance teachers. And missed Iya Katunge Mimy's solid hand in the Ancestral Room, which was a real disappointment.

    M%

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yaa Asantewaa NzingaaMay 29, 2017 at 8:37 AM

    NAMASTE! WARRIOR QUEENS n KINGS
    I attended the May 27-2pm Performance. SOooo Disappointed! What the hell happened? I attended my first Dance Africa in 1977! I remember the Outrage of the Press bc the Beautiful African Dancers were bare Breast! The Chuck Davis Signature of Excellence was evident. Not so on Saturday. I Know BaBa Chuck was Shouting from Paradise, "AGO! AGO!" Where was the dazzling Scenery (one Prop), Costimes Repetitive, dance routine for Every group, Every Scene, repetitive? Yeah! I got the story line...it All was just Ragady!!! Mot Chuck Davis Quality. I can still see him throwing his Perverbal, "Shoe" when you missed a step or wasn"t Shaking your butt enough!(Minisink)! I've been attending for 17yrs Even the Elder Council Members wern't as Regally attited as usual. Was everyone in Mouring...if so the Performances then should've been a Glorious Celebration of BaBa Chucks Legacy n Dance Africa!! What happened in the, "Sacred Ancestor" Room? BaBa Chuck's Portrait off in a corner; No Flowers, No Fruit, No Tributes? When I first came in I thought it was being worked on...3hrs later Nothing!
    Disappointed n Heart broken
    R.I. P. BaBa Chuck♡
    BLESSINGS

    ReplyDelete
  6. This was my first time attending DanceAfrica. The performance was amazing. It was a life-changing event. The costumes, music, and performers were outstanding. I am so happy that I went to the performance. DanceAfrica 2017 was absolutely superb! I can't wait to attend next year's performance. God Bless You All!!!!

    Dave

    ReplyDelete
  7. I ATTENEDED BOTH THE FESTIVAL AND SHOW ON MONDAY. I INVITED SOME SISTERS TO ATTEND. IT WAS THERE 1ST TIME. ON THE WAY THERE I SHARED WITH MY FRIENDS WHAT I EXPECTED WOULD BE THERE. AN ANCESTRAL SHRINE IT ALL ITS GLORY. WHAT AN EMBARASSMENT :(. THIS WHERE I HAVE SEVERE CONCERNS ABOUT CULTURE / TRADITION / RELIGION ACCOMODATING CHANGING TIMES. THAT WAS ONE HELL OF A SACRIFICE !!!! JUST TWO QUESTIONS: 1). WHY WASNT THIS NEW AGE CHANGE BROUGHT ON WHEN BABA WAS ALIVE? 2). SARIFICE AN ANCESTRAL SHRINE FOR WHAT ? ORISA $$$

    ReplyDelete
  8. Before attending the 7 PM show my friends and I were hearing that it was not up to Chuck Davis standards so we were a little apprehensive as to what to expect. I must say I and my friend really enjoyed the performance. I have to admit, in the beginning we were all looking at each other and shaking our heads, but as the show progressed we were pleasantly surprised. This show definitely had a different vision and direction than past shows. Not sure if I will come to future shows.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I was thouroughly thrilled with the brilliant, innovative work produced by Baba Abdel for Dance Africa 2017...from the seamless fusion of dance styles and companies to the collective, intricate, and socially relevant tale woven together by all of the performers. I look forward to more from this bold, visionary director/choreographer.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I found last years performance to be disappointing and I didn't plan on coming to this one because there was a change in ideologies, and that is never a one time thing. However when I heard that Baba Chuck had passed I wanted to pay my respects and see his legacy and the tribute that would no doubt be given at DanceAfrica 2017. And while the tributes were moving, particularly the one given by the academy's former President, Karen Hopkins, I must say that I regret my decision to attend. I feel this new direction is distorting vision of DanceAfrica which is to honor the incredible cultures of Africa and the diaspora, to bring them to people who have been cut off from it and who have never been told that African culture is worthy of praise and reverence.
    when the first act began I was surprised but pleased because I thought DanceAfrica was highlighting some of the recent cultural gains of black Americans but it devolved into a cliché narrative of rap music and violence that went on for far too long. Someone tell Baba Abdel that if he wants to encourage people especially young people to embrace Africa don't demean their clothes and their music and call them violent thugs, because everyone else does too, to no effect. But if you must, be creative about it! Dabbing to T.I. while dressed in red and blue than getting shot on the stage is not innovative, it's really nothing new.
    once I got past the dead bodies that stayed on stage for the entire first half, I was able to appreciate the other aspects of show. the performances were well executed and enjoyable but could benefit from more variation as others have pointed out. There were some set pieces that I found visually stunning and I would definitely like to see more of it.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Please.....bring back the concentration on real African Culture. The event is called Dance Africa so why so much Hip Hop type twirling and jumping all over the floor as if that is the dance of Africa. And why continuously? The show was entertaining yet disappointing. It should be all about the pride of Africa, not other styles here. Why have the same dancers, in the same outfits run out dancing the same steps over and over; I tired of seeing the same pompoms running back and forth. Let's glorify the African culture and minimize the Hip Hop type of dancing at this venue. The story was told as intended but...??? To start with such a serious tradition of calling the names of those who transitioned and then right after the quiet and seriousness of it there's jumping and all of that Hip Hop on the stage. That jarred my nerves. Please! Let's also have more serious narration and sets/props that transport us back to the African continent. The show was entertaining and the dancers were good but I never felt that the show had much to do with Africa. The Ancestral Room was an embarrassing disgrace; the door should have been kept closed this year. Please Mr. Artistic Director always act dignified to elevate the image of Africans and of those in charge. We don't need tom foolery at this venue. I invited 7 people @ $50. each and did not feel as if we got our money's worth. Entertaining, yes, but not leaving BAM feeling the African pride and culture. The bazaar, and food area were laughable; we almost went to Junior's. I hope someone will sell real African Cuisine next year. And... please suggest that the CD music sellers and party goers are positioned away from the Concert Hall. Their music was so loud when we came out of BAM that one of us developed a severe migraine headache. Let's do better next year. I know a lot of work went into preparing for this 2017 show but surprise us next year with a truly African type show without uninteresting repetition. Thank you from one who attended the May 29 show (ESW & friends).

    ReplyDelete
  12. I love the show, I have been attending Dance Africa for the past 30 Year's. Thank you all for continuing to present our African culture

    ReplyDelete
  13. I love the show, I have been attending Dance Africa for the past 30 Year's. Thank you all for continuing to present our African culture

    ReplyDelete
  14. I’m from United States, My husband divorced me 3 years ago for no reason, i did all i could to get him but didnt work, until i met Dr.Agbazara of AGBAZARA TEMPLE on the internet who helped me to cast a re-union spell and within 24hours my husband came back to me apologizing. Thanks to Dr.agbazara. Contact this great spell caster on your relationship or marriage problems on:

    ( agbazara@gmail.com ) OR WHATSAPP or call +2348104102662

    ReplyDelete