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Thursday, May 19, 2016

In Context: DanceAfrica 2016

America’s largest festival of African dance returns to the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House and beyond this weekend from May 27—30. Context is everything, so get even closer to the production with this curated selection of articles, videos, and original blog pieces related to the show. For those of you who've already attended an event, help us keep the conversation going by telling us what you thought below and by posting on social media using #DanceAfrica. Ago? Amée!!

Program Notes

Coming soon!


DanceAfrica: Opening Doors (BAM blog)
“The cultures of Africa and its diaspora are dynamic, ever evolving, and ever searching. A culture by its definition is an organic, living being that, if healthy, is forever reproducing new and vibrant offspring of itself.”

While DanceAfrica is anchored in the tradition of dance, the festival is also an opportunity to celebrate other vital components of African culture and diaspora, including visual art.

Study Guide
BAM Education Study Guide
Learn more about Senegalese tradition in this comprehensive study guide from BAM's Education Department.

'Afripedia,' A 5-Part Documentary Series (
Shot in Kenya, Ghana, Angola, Senegal and South Africa, each of the five episodes focuses on a group of artists and creators in that particular country.
Explore the genesis of this remarkable 39-year-old tradition.
Young members of the BAM/Restoration DanceAfrica Ensemble share fond DanceAfrica memories and sound advice for future generations of artists.

DanceAfrica Street Style: A Recap (BAM blog)
Relive highlights from last year's festival with a fabulous collection of fashions and faces snapped by some of our favorite Instagrammers.

Watch & Listen

WAATO SiiTA and Pape Moussa Sonko (YouTube)
Watch the Dakar-based company showcase some of the best percussionists and dancers in Senegal.

Cérémonie d'acceuil (YouTube)
WAATO SiiTA performs at a welcoming ceremony in at the Grand Théâtre National de Dakar.

Essential Knowledge

"Ago?" "Amée!!" If you've ever attended a DanceAfrica performance, you've definitely heard that call-and-response echo through the room. The words come from Ghana, and they mean "Can I have your attention?" and "You have my attention," respectively. So when Artistic Director Baba Chuck Davis bellows his booming "Ago?" at the crowd this weekend, be sure to holler back and let him know you're listening.

Now your turn...

Which event(s) did you attend? How did you enjoy yourself? Likes? Dislikes? Surprises? Tell us what's on your mind in the comments below and on social media using #DanceAfrica.


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  2. I think dancing is interesting. It's very fun to move your body. I haven't dance in a while thought


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