In Ifa, the spirituality of the Yoruba people of West Africa (Benin and Nigeria), Eleggua is the most important orisha (saint). Eleggua opens and closes the pathways to access the other Orishas and God. He is represented in the form of both a boy and an old man and because of this, he’s often seen as a trickster. This piece explores the evolution and “memory of difference”* of ancient Yoruba culture, spirituality, movement, and music on the African continent into Afro-Cuban, Afro-Brazilian, and contemporary West African culture, spirituality, movement, and music.
These factors are explored and expressed through the characteristics of Eleggua and various ways of honoring him traditionally and contemporarily. In essence, dancing Eleggua is acting as the spiritual and historical gateway between the past and present, ancestors and descents, and the African Diaspora.
*“Eleggua” an original work choreographed by Founder and Artistic Director and 2017-2018 Dance Source Houston Artist-in-Residence Lindsay Gary. Performed at the 2018 Barnstorm Dance Festival presented by @dancesource. *