DanceAfrica celebration comes to Philly

The Kùlú Mèlé African Dance and Drum Ensemble will perform as part of DanceAfrica.  Photo: Canary Promotion
The Kùlú Mèlé African Dance and Drum Ensemble will perform as part of DanceAfrica.

In 1977, the Chuck Davis Dance Company constructed an African village within the confines of the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The success of that performance was the foundation for DanceAfrica, an annual weeklong festival that features performances, workshops, and an outdoor bazaar. The festival has since spread to a number of other cities, including – as of this week – Philly, when the Community Education Center hosts the first DanceAfrica Philadelphia.

“The CEC has been looking to do more with the African dance and drumming community,” says Theresa Shockley, executive director of CEC. “Each city does its own version, but I think they’re all interested in having dance and drumming be the centerpiece of an effort to build and strengthen community.”

That initiative fits perfectly with the mission of the CEC, a nonprofit performing arts space that supports the local arts community through educational and performance opportunities. As Shockley says, “My goal with DanceAfrica Philadelphia is to bring attention to the fantastic dance and drumming community that we have here. But I’d also like to have people across racial and economic barriers realize what a powerful art it is and how it can, particularly for African-Americans, be an important part of building character and family dynamic. For me, that’s always what the arts are about.”

Shockley, who has performed in past DanceAfrica festivals as a founding member of the dance company Urban Bush Women, worked closely with Davis, known as “Baba Chuck,” to create a version of DanceAfrica unique to Philadelphia. The inaugural four-day festival, which she hopes will become an annual event, will feature performances by local ensembles including Kùlú Mèlé African Dance and Drum Ensemble, Kariamu and Company: Traditions and Illstyle & Peace Productions. In addition, there will be lectures and workshops, an Afro Beauty, Health and Wellness Marketplace, and an exhibition created with the Philadelphia Folklore Project called “Honoring Ancestors of Rhythm, Movement and Place.”

“Since this is our first festival,” Shockley says, “we wanted to look at the tradition of African dance from Africa through slavery up until today. The exhibit explores the political implications of what it means to be a part of that culture and to have that be an important part of your life. We wanted that history to be central to the whole event.”

DanceAfrica Philadelphia
Nov. 6 – 9
Community Education Center
3500 Lancaster Ave.
$5-$25, 215-387-1911
www.cecarts.org



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Sprint and T-Mobile offer further price discounts

Sprint unveiled a plan on Thursday that gives subscribers access to unlimited data for $60 a month, the industry's cheapest unlimited data offering.

National

Hundreds pay it forward at Florida Starbucks in…

The spontaneous chain of kindness continued for about 11 hours, totaling 457 transactions by the time it ended.

National

Weather system east of Caribbean could turn into…

An area of low pressure located east of the Caribbean Sea has a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm in the next 48 hours, U.S. forecasters…

National

U.S. hospital to discharge doctor treated with experimental…

An American doctor who contracted Ebola treating victims of the deadly virus in Liberia has recovered and will be discharged on Thursday by the Atlanta hospital that treated him with…

Movies

Review: 'When the Game Stands Tall' is both…

The high school football saga "When the Game Stands Tall" fumbles around for a focus while Jim Caviezel offers the most low-key coach in history.

Movies

Girlfriend in a coma: Chloe Grace Moretz

Chloe Grace Moretz is the best cheerleader "If I Stay" could ask for. As the star of the film adaptation of the successful YA novel…

The Word

The Word: Summer lovin' for Zac Efron and…

Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance between…

The Word

The Word: The Zac Efron-Michelle Rodriguez summer fling…

  Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance…

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…