About Us

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

Dance Afrikana

Dr. Lindsay Gary (PhD, MFA, MA, MPA) 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).

Meet The Team

Artistic & Executive Director: Dr. Lindsay Gary(PhD, MFA, MA, MPA)

Dr. Lindsay Gary (PhD, MFA, MA, MPA) is a professor-scholar (of history, Africology/African American Studies, and dance) conceptual diasporArtist, Afrocentric entrepreneur, and cultural curator whose mission is to educate, connect, and empower the African Diaspora, with culture, spirituality, ancestry, history, and research being central themes in her work.

She 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. Dr. Gary has worked to situate Houston as a major center for African and Diasporic dance producing programming such as Houston Black Dance Collective, Houston Black Dance Festival, Kuumba: A Celebration of Afro-Dance, Afrikana Dance Festival, African Diaspora Dance Intensive, and Dance Afrikana, Dance Podcast. 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), the Support for Organizations Grant (2021), and the Festival Grant (2023).

A dance scholar, she is a Scholar-in-Residence for  Rice University’s CERCL Program, leading a research project entitled “Black Dance in Texas” at the African American History Research Center Gregory Campus (formerly The Gregory School). Her MFA thesis “Re/membering Bamboula | Embodying Home,” a multimedia exploration of (d)ancestors, utilized text, genealogies, geographies, archives, and embodied re-enactment to trace and uncover one of Louisiana’s oldest African dances, the Bamboula. She is also a dance writer for Dance Source Houston and Broad Street Review (Philadelphia).

As a choreographer, she has been commissioned by various arts and cultural organizations. These include “In Veneration: Richard Brock,” a site-specific piece commissioned by Arts District Houston, and “Yemaya and the Flood” which was commissioned by Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. Other notable choreographic works include “Who Yo’ People?”, a dance piece which explores the rich dance traditions of Louisiana, from Bamboula to Zydeco, and Sam Houston State University’s production of the musical “Once on This Island.”

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. She obtained her MFA in Dance from University of the Arts and has a dance minor from the University of Houston. She has traveled throughout Africa and the African Diaspora studying Senegalese Sabar, Horton, Puerto Rican Bomba, Afro-Brazilian, Afro-Cuban, Afro-Caribbean, traditional South African, and Congolese dance. 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 Fresh Arts Space Taking Artist in Residence conducting a project entitled Dancing Home: (to) Houston and becoming a 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 has worked as both a choreographer and playwright to bring cultural and historical educational performances to Houston’s youth, including the most recent iteration, “Historic Black Women of Texas.”

Rehearsal Director, HBDC Program Coordinator: 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.

Digital Marketing 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.

Executive Assistant: Ga’Nene

Company Members

Breyonna
Cherelle

Partners and Sponsors

BOOK US

Book Dance Afrikana for your next African dance workshop or event! Our group is passionate about sharing our culture and heritage through dance. We have performed and taught at a variety of venues, including festivals and schools. Our goal is to provide an authentic African dance experience that is both educational and entertaining.