HomeCulture & SociétéDanceAfrica 2021 Celebration Continues

DanceAfrica 2021 Celebration Continues



Through Memorial Day Weekend

The festival premieres its first evening-length dance film Vwa Zanset Yo: Y’ap Pale, N’ap Danse! “Ancestral Voices: They Speak… We Dance!” on

Saturday, May 29 at 7pm EDT on BAM.org 

May 25, 2021/Brooklyn, NY—BAM’s DanceAfrica—the nation’s largest African dance festival—continues its celebration with special Memorial Day weekend programs, including the world premiere of the evening-length dance film Vwa Zanset Yo: Y’ap Pale, N’ap Danse! “Ancestral Voices: They Speak… We Dance!” and live dance party on Saturday, May 29; a public art installation A Return: Liberation as Power (May 24—31), featuring six Haitian visual artists’ meditation on liberation; a special “for teens by teens” event Haiti In Full Scope—exploring the history, art, and culture of Haiti. Visit BAM.org to join and view the weekly schedule. Detailed information below and images here.

For press information see the full press release and contact Cynthia Tate at [email protected]

DanceAfrica 2021 Performance

Vwa Zanset Yo: Y’ap Pale, N’ap Danse! “Ancestral Voices: They Speak… We Dance!”

Saturday, May 29 at 7pm EDT 

Tickets: Pay-what-you-wish pricing $10, $25, $44

DanceAfrica 2021 pays homage to the ancestral energy of Haiti with a unique virtual event of dance, music, and community produced by BAM for its 44th celebration. The virtual evening will include four dance premieres inspired by the characteristics of the lwa, spirits of Haitian Vodou. DanceAfrica Artistic Director Baba Abdel R. Salaam commissioned pieces by HaitiDansco (Cap Haitien, Haiti), Rara Tou Limen (Oakland), Àṣẹ Dance Theatre Collective (Brooklyn), and The Fritzation Experience (Brooklyn). Each company pays tribute to a different lwa through traditional dance—Yanvalou Maskawon, Banda, Nago, Petro, and Parigol. Also performing is the BAM/Restoration DanceAfrica Ensemble, an annual favorite and a powerful symbol of youth involvement in preserving African heritage. Many long-held traditions are reimagined, including a virtual Libation Ceremony and a Procession of the Elders that crosses the country, featuring elders from seven presenting DanceAfrica cities. Visit BAM.org for more information.

DanceAfrica Digital Bazaar

Tuesday, May 4—Monday, June 14


DanceAfrica’s popular free outdoor bazaar is digital this year, creating an online marketplace that highlights Black-owned independent businesses offering the finest fashion, food, jewelry, and crafts. These vendors have been part of DanceAfrica throughout the years and contribute to the vital presence of African, Caribbean, and African-American culture in Brooklyn. All proceeds go directly to these businesses—providing critical support to independent artists, artisans, and entrepreneurs. Free and open to the public.

A Return: Liberation as Power (Visual Art)

Mon, May 24—31, 2021

The BAM sign screen (corner of Flatbush Ave & Lafayette Ave)

Haitian visual artists offer a meditation on liberation in this new public installation on the BAM sign, presented as part of DanceAfrica 2021. Inspired by Haiti’s legacy as one of the first independent nations in the Western Hemisphere, BAM Curator at Large Larry Ossei-Mensah invites these artists—and the Brooklyn community—to reflect on and draw strength from Haiti’s groundbreaking history in today’s calls for justice, equality, and liberation. Artists include Delphine Desane, M. Florine Démosthène, Mark Fleuridor, Adler Guerrier, Kathia St. Hilare, and Didier William. A Return: Liberation as Power will be presented on the BAM sign at the corner of Lafayette and Flatbush Avenues. Visit BAM.org. for more information.


Fri, May 28—Thu, June 3


BAM presents FilmAfrica, in partnership with African Film Festival, Inc, showcasing the best contemporary narrative, documentary, and short films from Africa and the diaspora. This year, in coordination with DanceAfrica’s celebration of Haiti, FilmAfrica highlights include Raoul Peck’s Meurtre à Pacot (2014), set in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, the film evokes the tension of Pasolini’s 1968 classic Teorema; Eve Blouin & Raynald Leconte’s In the Eye of the Spiral (2014) looks at the Haitian artistic and philosophical movement Spiralism, the film screens with Real Maravilloso (Raynald Leconte, 2018) which examines the impact of Magical Realism across Caribbean nations; Guetty Felin’s Ayiti Mon Amour (2016) is a neorealist fable of grief and healing set five years after the devastating 2010 earthquake, and Philippe Niang’s Toussaint Louverture (2012) depicts the slave revolt by Louverture that led to the independence of Haiti. Complete list of films at bam.org/film/2021/filmafrica

For press information on FilmAfrica, contact: Lindsay Brayton at [email protected]

Haiti In Full Scope: DanceAfrica 2021 Teen Event

Fri, May 28 at 6pm EDT



Teens grades 9—12 are invited to participate in an engaging virtual exploration of Haitian history, art, and culture hosted by BAM’s very own Brooklyn Interns for Art and Culture. This slumber party-themed event features a spotlight on visual art and artifacts, storytelling, and art-making, as well as presentations by teaching artists. The Brooklyn Interns for Arts and Culture (BIAC) are a cohort of high school seniors who spend 18 months behind the scenes at BAM developing college and career readiness through a wide range of creative projects—including designing and presenting this special event just for teens.

DanceAfrica Community Workshop

Sat, May 29 at 10am EDT

Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 6

All ages 


Caregivers and children of all ages deepen their engagement with DanceAfrica in this fun-filled, hands-on workshop presented in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Veteran traditional Haitian dancer, choreographer, and teaching artist Nadia Dieudonné guides families through the fundamentals of Haitian movement and music. Note to participants: This is not a drop-off class; please arrive ready and excited to engage with your family members at all times. Co-presented by BAM and Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy. Registration is required. Free admission is based on a first-come, first-served basis. A limited number of spaces are available. Selected participants will be notified a week before the event with more detailed location information. For more information, visit BAM.org

DanceAfrica Dance Party

Sat, May 29 at 8pm EDT


All ages 


Keep the celebration going with a live, virtual dance party featuring the Afrobeat, funk, soul, rock, jazz, and hip-hop stylings of DanceAfrica with DJ Hard Hittin Harry. For more information, visit BAM.org

DanceAfrica Community Day Bantaba Livestream

Sun, May 30 at 6pm EDT


Dancers from near and far come together to create DanceAfrica’s first-ever Community Day Bantaba! This virtual dance performance features videos submitted by community members to showcase their dance moves and DanceAfrica spirit. DanceAfrica’s Senior Council of Elders Mamma Lynette White and Baba Bill Mathews will introduce the debut event. Participants can also join the celebration by submitting a picture to the virtual photo booth. All photos submitted on May 30 will be added to a digital mosaic that grows throughout the day, highlighting the many people who bring this festival to life. For more information, visit BAM.org.

DanceAfrica Adaptive Workshop

Mon, May 31 at 10am EDT

Mark Morris Dance Center 

Ages 16+  

$10 virtual / $12 in person 

Acclaimed dancer, choreographer, and teacher Pat Hall leads this inclusive, interactive class designed for persons with disabilities. Choose to participate in person at the Mark Morris Dance Center or through livestream, and discover how African and diasporic dance forms celebrate community and aspects of daily life, providing a unique window into the culture, history, and traditions of its people. Co-presented by BAM and Mark Morris Dance Group. Registration is required. Visit MMDG.org or contact Mark Morris Dance Center at 718.624.8400 to register. Patrons are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the Dance Center’s Covid-19 safety protocols before attending an in-person class. For more information, visit BAM.org.

For adults (ages 16 and up) with disabilities, all levels of experience welcome. When you register, we invite you to share how we can make this event as accessible to you as possible and any other information that will help us best support your experience.

DanceAfrica Master Class 

Mon, May 31 at 12pm EDT

Mark Morris Dance Center

$10 virtual / $12 in person 

Join veteran traditional Haitian dancer, choreographer, and teaching artist Nadia Dieudonné for this immersive workshop on the music and dance of Haiti, available in person at the Mark Morris Dance Center or through a livestream that brings the joy of DanceAfrica right into your home. Designed for intermediate and advanced dancers, this class introduces participants to Haitian rhythmic traditions and teaches the fundamentals of traditional movement styles. Co-presented by BAM and Mark Morris Dance Group. Registration is required. Visit MMDG.org or contact Mark Morris Dance Center at 718.624.8400 to register. Patrons are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the Dance Center’s Covid-19 safety protocols before attending an in-person class. For more information, visit BAM.org.

DanceAfrica 2021: Choreographers’ Conversation  

Now streaming at BAM.org


In conjunction with this season’s virtual DanceAfrica, participating choreographers from local, national, and international companies join together to discuss how traditional Haitian forms are translated and interpreted into contemporary performance today. DanceAfrica Artistic Director and founder of DanceAfrica Spirit Walkers Abdel R. Salaam is joined by Dieufel Lamisere (HaitiDansco), Portsha T. Jefferson (Rara Tou Limen), Fritzlyn “Fritz” Hector (The Fritzation Experience), and Adia Tamar Whitaker (Àṣẹ Dance Theatre Collective) for this informal discussion, facilitated by Thomas F. DeFrantz, founding director of the Collegium for African Diaspora Dance and a professor at Duke University. The conversation will be closed captioned.

DanceAfrica Timeline (Archives)



The DanceAfrica Timeline chronicles the history of the DanceAfrica community with a comprehensive collection of materials from the BAM Hamm Archives, including video, hundreds of photographs, programs, posters, and other materials that help tell the story of this remarkable yearly happening.

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