BAM presents DanceAfrica Festival 2022
BAM’s annual DanceAfrica, the country’s largest showcase of African dance, returns to the Howard Gilman Opera House this May with DanceAfrica 2022: HOMEGROWN. Under the artistic direction of Abdel R. Salaam, dancers, drummers, and musicians take the stage together in a unique program that features five popular companies making return visits. Each company will offer their homegrown vision of traditional African dances.
Last seen at DanceAfrica 2017, Asase Yaa African American Dance Theater is a Brooklyn- based troupe known for its explosive African dance and drum performances. Marking their sixth DanceAfrica appearance, Bambara Drum and Dance Ensemble brings West African traditions to the stage in a high-octane performance. Rousing and critically acclaimed percussion orchestra and dance ensemble Farafina Kan (last seen at DanceAfrica 2012), shares the history and spirit of traditional West African drumming and dancing, blended with contemporary music. Harambee Dance Company (DanceAfrica 2013) reflects the majesty of the African diaspora through movement, modern dance forms, and live percussion. First seen at DanceAfrica 1992 (and marking their sixth DA appearance), LaRocque Bey School of Dance, the oldest African dance school in the US, will showcase its unique fusion of dance forms.
In five performances, each company brings to the stage movement and musical styles from Nigeria, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, and the Caribbean, supported by Arkestra Africa, created by members of each company. All will be joined on stage by the DanceAfrica Spirit Walkers and the BAM RestorationArt Dance Youth Ensemble, celebrating their 25th anniversary. An integral component of the Festival, the Ensemble symbolizes DanceAfrica’s commitment to education and community outreach.
BAM has hosted this beloved festival for 45 years, an unparalleled part of BAM’s history. DanceAfrica founder Baba Chuck Davis first put an “African Village” in BAM’s Lepercq Space in 1977, thus launching a now 45-year-long program that has become an enduring tradition with performances by national and international companies, community events, education components, films, visual arts, and an all-out celebration of dance culture across the African diaspora.
A Tribute to the Ancestors ceremony will be held at 10am on Sat, May 21, at the Weeksville Heritage Center. This traditional ceremony, is an integral part of DanceAfrica that honors elders who have passed. The event is free and open to the public.
It will be followed by the annual Community Day at Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Plaza at 1pm to kick off the annual festival. This year’s program celebrates RestorationArt’s 25-year participation in DanceAfrica with an awards ceremony honoring past and present instructors, parent volunteers, administrators, and ambassadors; and an exceptional performance by past alumni members of Dance Africa and current members of Youth Arts Academy; and more.
The Memorial Room is dedicated to preserving the tradition of paying homage to the ancestors of DanceAfrica’s past and present and the ancestors of the visiting companies. The Memorial Room is located in the Devitre Lounge and is open May 26—30. Visit BAM.org for times.
The 2022 recipients of the Samuel H. Scripps BAM Scholarship for post-secondary education will be awarded on the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House stage on May 27. The scholarships exclusively benefit students who have participated in BAM’s arts education programs and plan to major or minor in an arts-related field of study. The fifth Chuck Davis Emerging Choreographer Fellow will also be feted at the May 27 performance. Created to honor Baba Chuck Davis, founder of DanceAfrica, this unique Fellowship offers dance practitioners the chance to travel to Africa and study dance in its cultural context.
The month-long celebration, centered around the dance performances at the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, also includes DanceAfrica workshops; the popular outdoor DanceAfrica Bazaar with over 150 vendors offering crafts, food, and fashion; a Choreographer’s Conversation; a stained glass art display; a film series at BAM Rose Cinemas; and a dance party at BAMcafé with live music.
For schedule updates, ticketing, and reservations visit BAM.org. Advance registration is required for some events. Visit BAM.org/danceafrica2022