On Memorial Day weekend, one of the country’s largest African dance festivals wrapped up its 36th annual performance at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Founded by Chuck Davis in 1977, DanceAfrica spreads the love of African dance with performances and master classes by traditional and contemporary companies from around the world. Here are a few of the most colorful moments from the event:
The BAM/Restoration DanceAfrica Ensemble performed in the festival’s finale and opening celebration. The youth company is the result of a partnership between BAM and the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, dedicated to improving the lives of residents of Central Brooklyn.
A cappella troupe Sweet Honey in the Rock performed at DanceAfrica’s opening ceremony.
Umkhathi Theatre Works from Zimbabwe performed at DanceAfrica 2013 in Brooklyn, New York.
Zimbabwe's Umkhathi Theatre Works
Atlanta's all-female African dance, percussion, and vocal company Giwayen Mata
Chuck Davis and DanceAfrica were recently named one of “America's Irreplaceable Dance Treasures: The First 100” by the Dance Heritage Coalition.
Sweet Honey photo and top Umkhathi photo by Dino Perrucci, others by Jack Vartoogian; all photos courtesy of BAM
Four incredible educators: Joanne Chapman, Claudio Muñoz, Pamela VanGilder and Kathleen Isaac foster their students' love of dance, whether instilling artistry, offering rigorous training or giving special needs students an outlet through movement.
When Jennie Somogyi retired from New York City Ballet, she found herself in high demand as a teacher. Parents called, texted and persisted. "I don't even know how some of them got my contact information," she says with a laugh. But Somogyi, who departed from NYCB in 2015 after a 22-year career, hadn't made any definitive plans for the next stage of her life. "I just like to see how things move me," she says. She discovered, though, that she enjoyed the process of giving private lessons and seeing the rapid progress students could make. Over time, she realized that teaching was something she wanted rather than needed.
Does your studio slow down when the weather warms up? If you don't offer a summer session, June through August can be a cash-flow challenge. One popular—and easy—strategy is to offer weeklong camps instead. We spoke to three professionals to learn how they make summer camp work.
This week Ballet Hispánico launched its first ChoreoLaB workshop, a summer intensive intended to better prepare aspiring professional dancers—with more than just excellent technique. Artistic director Eduardo Vilaro wanted to create a program that bridges the school and the company, to help dancers transitioning into the professional world and better hone their skills.
The language of Mind Body Dancer is dynamic. "Action words stimulate change in your students," says yoga teacher TaraMarie Perri. "Try 'pour,' 'push' and 'experience' –not 'feel' or 'do or don't' Those words don't mean anything." Here, Perri and dancer Maggie Ronan use the active MBD language to demonstrate yoga poses used as a warm-up in many dance classes. While practicing, be sure to inhale and exhale in steady cycles.