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
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.
In Veneration: Richard Brock
We honor the contributions of Black artists and pioneers today and throughout the year. Thank you Dance Afrikana for closing out #BlackHistoryMonth with us by taking us on a visual journey about the life and legacy of Richard Brock, a First Ward native, formerly enslaved man, entrepreneur, lawmaker, and civic leader. #artsdistrictHOU
Yemaya and The Flood
Dance Afrikana presents Yemaya and the Flood, a piece on home(s), ancestral memory, and motherhood. Drawing inspiration from the Yoruba orisha Yemaya, it explores water and its many manifestations–libation, pouring, leaking, birth, flooding, and the ocean. This performance is presented in conjunction with the exhibition Wild Life: Elizabeth Murray & Jessi Reaves and as an extended Black History Month program.
Who Yo’ People?
Who Yo’ People? is a documentary film that explores the African heritage of Louisiana. It takes the audience on a journey through the vibrant history and culture of the peoples who would become known as Louisiana Creoles, while interrogating ideas of identity.
The film premiere will be presented in conjuntion with Dance Afrikana’s dance production of the same name. The dance piece explores the rich dance traditions of Louisiana, from Bamboula to Zydeco.
This project is fiscally sponsored by Fresh Arts and was made possible in part through the Houston Arts Alliance’s Support for Organizations Grant, The Houston BIPOC Arts Network and Fund, and the 5th Ward GO Neighborhoods Spark Arts Grant. This project has also been supported by The Philadelphia Independent Media Fund administered by Scribe Video Center with funds provided by the Independence Public Media Foundation.
Dancing Home: (to) Houston
Dancing Home: (to) Houston is a part of a larger project entitled Dancing Home. Conceptualized by Dr. Lindsay Gary, Artistic and Executive Director of Dance Afrikana, this iteration of the project explores (d)ancestry from the African continent via the larger African Diaspora and ultimately to Houston, and the exchange between these three dynamic cultural ecosystems, with a goal of further developing the infrastructure of Black dance in the city. It includes the Black Dance in Houston Exhibit, an abbreviated exhibition of Gary’s larger project Black Dance in Texas under her role as Scholar-in-Residence with Rice CERCL and the African American History Research Center, Gregory Campus. It will also feature Gary’s Remembering Bamboula | Embodying Home exhibit and solo work along with performances from Dance Afrikana’s company and members of the Houston Black Dance Collective. Additional programming includes Kuumba in July, a dance workshop series celebrating African and Diasporic dance; Dance Afrikana, Dance Podcast Live; Dance Afrikana Youth Academy Intensive; and a curated experience with Houston Black Dance Collective
Re/membering Bamboula | Embodying Home
“Re/membering Bamboula | Embodying Home” is a choreographic and multimedia exploration of (d)ancestors. The exhibit utilizes genealogies, geographies, archives, and embodied re-enactment to trace and uncover one of Louisiana’s oldest African dances, the Bamboula, and ultimately, to journey closer to those who developed it. Breaking away from the gaze of the Western performance, the audience will be invited to participate in an immersive experience, tracing the genealogies and creating a “Bamboula” together.
"I don't speak french"
“I don’t speak french.” is a solo choreographic work performed by Dr. Lindsay Gary. Developed while in residency in Dakar, Senegal, the piece explores the colonial pressures she unexpectedly experienced in Africa as a member of the African Diaspora, and the internal conflicts they force her to face. This iteration of the piece was performed in her exhibit space “Re/membering Bamboula | Embodying Home”.
Black Dance in Texas Oral History
Dance Afrikana’s Founder and Artistic/Executive Director, Dr. Lindsay Gary, has been selected as the next Scholar-in-Residence at African American History Research Center Gregory Campus. CERCL in partnership with the African American History Research Center - Gregory Campus offers residential fellowships for scholars whose research would benefit from the Houston Public Library special collections (particularly the AAHRC - Gregory Campus archives). As a Scholar-in-Residence for Rice University’s CERCL Program, she is leading a research project entitled “Black Dance in Texas” at the African American History Research Center Gregory Campus (formerly The Gregory School). The project will be used to research the history and legacy of Black dance in Houston and the state of Texas.