Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Brownsville at Dance Africa 2014: A Taste of Madagascar

This past Saturday Brownsville Community Justice Center JOIN participants had the pleasure of visiting the Bedstuy Restoration Center for the 17th Annual Dance Africa Festival 2014, for the first BOLTS activity for the month of May.

Every year the Bedstuy Restoration Center collaborates with BAM’s Department of Education and Humanities for the DanceAfrica project. The annual event features BAM dance students from ages 5 and up, visitors, performers, or artist from Africa. The event also has an impressive audience of local leaders, council members, and the public/neighboring communities.

Dr. Charles "Chuck" Davis, artistic director and founding elder of DanceAfrica,
leads open prayer before the festival begins.

This year Dance Africa 2014 was graced with the presence of a group of 17 dancers, artists, and
musicians. The group called "Groupe Bakomanga", is known for its colorful dance and live music performances, drawing on traditional rhythms and choreographies from the Imerina, Antandroy, Betsileo, and a host of other Malagasy tribes.

Our Participants were truly amazed and enjoyed the experience. Although some were new to these traditions, others shared their stories of taking part in African dance during their elementary school years. Conversations of past memories were shared amongst the group of participants, as they closely watched performances.

Some JOIN participants who attended,and
Community Programs Associate, Lisa
  Its amazing how the rhythm of drums or the sound of music can capture such a diverse audience. No matter the age, race, gender, or ethnicity, everyone enjoyed themselves and were excited about all that was showcased. Brownsville participants learned a great deal about the culture and its language, as every performance ended with a harmonious clap and shout. Some even laughed and said they would take that very tradition back home, and do the same at shows or performances that friends partake in. That's what it's all about! Our participants shared how they could relate to the culture, and how excited they would be to share some of those traditions learned with friends from their neighborhoods. BOLTS activities are about exposing participants to different walks of life, and giving them the opportunity to say they've experienced something outside of their neighborhood.
Dance Africa was truly another successful BOLTS trip!

Dance Africa 2014 is not over yet!
If you would like to get a taste of Madagascar,
the show will run from May 17th- 26th, it is a free event, and open to the public.
The Brownsville Community Justice Center highly recommends supporting the Bedstuy Restoration Center & BAM's Dance Africa 2014!

Local youth and drum students get ready to perform.  
BAM Student Dancers perform to live drums for crowd and Madagascar guest.

1 comment:

  1. A memorable moment at this place was when my Mom asked the maitre'd if the guest room we had our things in was unlocked b/c she wanted to get her flats. Next thing we know, he is coming to her table with her shoes on a silver platter. WOW.
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