Dance Afrikana’s mission has been to create a world where people of the African Diaspora are empowered and connected through the African dance tradition
Lindsay Gary is the Founder and Artistic and Executive Director of Dance Afrikana LLC. Since its inception in 2016, Dance Afrikana’s mission has been to create a world where people of the African Diaspora are empowered and connected through the African dance tradition, and where dancers have the safe space and platform to grow artistically and culturally. Dance Afrikana offers unique programming as the only dance company in the city teaching and offering certain dances of the Diaspora. As such, it is a valuable commodity to the community of Houston and beyond.
Dance Afrikana presents two annual productions that highlight Afro/Black dance to educate the public on important aspects of diasporic culture through dance, including Kuumba: A Celebration of Afro Dance and the Juneteenth Celebration. Both of these productions explore important elements within the African diaspora (culturally and historically), as well as engage world class performers and artists to display the artistry of the diaspora.
As a partner of Houston Metropolitan Dance, Dance Afrikana offers weekly dance classes for adults and teens. Additionally, Dance Afrikana is home to the Houston Black Dance Collective (HBDC). The mission of HBDC is to support Houston-based dance organizations and individual dancers and choreographers that are a part of the African Diaspora, and to foster a space of collaboration amongst Houston’s black dance community.
Dance Afrikana is fiscally sponsored by Fresh Arts and has received numerous awards from the Houston Arts Alliance and Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs including the City’s Initiative Grant (2019), two Cares Act Grants (2020), and the Support for Organizations Grant (2021).
Artistic & Executive Director: Lindsay Gary, MPA, MA, MFA
Gary has an MFA in Dance, and is the Founder and Artistic and Executive Director of Dance Afrikana LLC, a professional dance company whose mission is to create a world where people of the African Diaspora are empowered and connected through the African dance tradition. Dance Afrikana is the recipient of numerous awards from the Houston Arts Alliance and Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs including the City’s Initiative Grant (2019), two Cares Act Grants (2020), and the Support for Organizations Grant (2021).
She is also a member of Pretty Cultured—an artistic collaboration of three professional dancers using art to speak on social and cultural topics around Black women and children. She is the co-founder of Movement Passport, a bi-annual dance workshop that highlights cultural dance throughout the African Diaspora and beyond.
She is licensed in Umfundalai, a contemporary African dance technique that comprises its movement vocabulary from dance traditions throughout the Diaspora, and was awarded the 2021 Texas Folklife Residency Apprenticeship for the study of Zydeco dance under Mona “Zydeco Queen” Wilson. She has a dance minor from the University of Houston, and has also studied Horton, Puerto Rican Bomba, Afro-Brazilian, Afro-Cuban, Afro-Caribbean, traditional South African, and Congolese Ndombolo. Additionally, she’s danced with various musical artists including T-Rock Again (Trinidad), Korede Bello (Nigeria), and Solange Knowles (United States).
She has received numerous awards and recognition for her work as a dance artist including becoming a 2017-2018 Dance Source Houston Artist in Residence which culminated in an evening-length production of her original choreography and poetry on film entitled “Eleggua.” Additionally, she graduated from the Artist INC program for artist-entrepreneurs, and developed a partnership with Young Audiences of Houston wherein she worked as both a choreographer and playwright to bring cultural and historical educational performances to Houston’s youth.
Social Media Lead: Laylah Jordan
Laylah is Dance Afrikana’s social media lead. She earned her Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Houston, and also studied Graphic Design at Houston Community College. You can find Laylah crafting social media calendars and filming for Instagram Reels for Dance Afrikana. When she isn’t working, Laylah loves to bake and designing for her portfolio.
Rehearsal Director: LaKendra Howard
LaKendra Howard was introduced to her career as a dancer as a Second company member of Urban Souls Dance Company. From there she has blossomed to explore many other dance styles as a professional dancer, dancing with multiple companies and artists across the Greater Houston area and beyond. She has over 10 years of teaching experience, choreographing and teaching dancers ages 18 months to 18 years and beyond, teaching everything from creative movement to dance fitness. Her past credits include Urban Souls Dance Company, Impande Ye Theatre Production Company, and Fanatic Vibez. She has also danced for international artists T-Rock Again and Korede Bello. She continues to dance with Nia’s Daughters Collective and Black Angels Collective. She is a founding dancer and current rehearsal director of Dance Afrikana.
Dance Afrikana’s Apprentice
Program is a training program for serious dancers (ages15-30) who wish to enhance their development in African and Diasporic dance. This fee-based program is designed for individuals who are serious about dancing professionally.
Instruction in dances of Africa and the African Diaspora.
Technique class once a week
Rehearsals with company members and Artistic
Performance and production opportunities
Arts administration training
To apply, email a dance resume/ CV, headshot, dance/ performance video (no more than 3 minutes), letter of recommendation (from a dance mentor or leader), and letter of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org, with subject line: “ATTN: Apprenticeship Applicant. ”Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.