BAM presents DanceAfrica Festival 2023
Golden Ghana: Adinkra, Ananse, and Abusua
Celebrating the nation of Ghana’s cultural diversity and revolutionary history through
dance and music and featuring the National Theater of Ghana’s National Dance
Company on the Howard Gilman Opera House stage, May 26–29
Free, annual community events, including the Tribute to the Ancestors, Community Day,
DanceAfrica Bazaar, workshops, visual art, FilmAfrica, and more
Bloomberg Philanthropies is the Season Sponsor
DanceAfrica 2023 Golden Ghana: Adinkra, Ananse, and Abusua
Artistic Director Abdel R. Salaam
National Theater of Ghana’s National Dance Company (National Dance Company of Ghana)
BAM Restoration Dance Youth Ensemble
DanceAfrica Spirit Walkers
Produced by BAM
BAM Howard Gilman Opera House (Peter Jay Sharp Building, 30 Lafayette Ave)
May 26 at 7:30pm; May 27 at 2pm & 7pm; May 28 at 3pm; May 29 at 3pm
Tickets start at $25
UPDATE: Brooklyn, NY/April 28, 2023— This May, BAM’s DanceAfrica Festival, the nation’s
largest African dance festival, will celebrate Ghana’s artistic vitality and revolutionary history
through dance, music, and community. DanceAfrica 2023 Golden Ghana: Adinkra, Ananse,
and Abusua will present several related programs to illuminate a country that became a
continental trailblazer, being the first sub-Saharan African country along the path to freedom.
DanceAfrica 2023 Performances
The nation’s largest African dance festival and BAM’s longest-running program will present live
dance performances at the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, May 26—29. Under the artistic
direction of Abdel R. Salaam, the headline dance program, Golden Ghana: Adinkra, Ananse,
and Abusua, features traditional performances, including the “Memorial Tribute to the Ancestors
and Elders” and one of Ghana’s best and most internationally known dance companies, The
National Theater of Ghana’s National Dance Company (National Dance Company of Ghana).
After Ghana gained independence in 1957, the country’s first president, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah,
recognized the power of the arts, including dance, to unify the new nation. He believed the
cultural emancipation of Ghana, and ultimately Africa, was linked to their traditional arts. With
support from President Nkrumah, the National Dance Company of the National Theater of
Ghana was formed in 1962 as an experiment between Ghana’s education and government
systems to use dance to promote Ghanaian culture and national unity. The goal was to create a
program to show the cultural wealth of Ghana’s many different regions. Now, it is a global
ambassador for the Ghanaian culture.
The company will make its BAM debut and perform traditional Ghanaian dances and music,
including the royal court dance kete and fontomfrom drumming, and collaborate with the
DanceAfrica Spirit Walkers and BAM Restoration Dance Youth Ensemble on stage. Part of
the production will take the form of a lively club scene, complete with Ghanaian and Nigerian
highlife performed by the 10-piece ensemble Arkestra Africa, featuring Afropop vocalist Amma
Whatt, under the direction of K Osei Williams. The production team included Al Crawford
(Lighting Designer), Jasiri Kafele (Set Designer), David Margolin Lawson (Sound Designer), and
Wunmi Olaiya (Costume Design). In the company of N’Goma Woolbright (Stage Manager) and
Normadien Woolbright (Assistant Stage Manager).
The 2023 recipients of the Samuel H. Scripps BAM Scholarship for post-secondary education
will be awarded on the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House stage on May 26. Inspired by the
spirit of DanceAfrica, BAM Trustee Richard Feldman launched the Samuel H. Scripps BAM
Scholarship Fund in 2008 in memory of former BAM Trustee and arts patron Samuel Scripps.
The scholarships exclusively benefit students who have participated in BAM’s arts education
programs and plan to major or minor in an arts-related field.
The May 26 show will honor the sixth Chuck Davis Emerging Choreographer Fellow.
Created to honor Baba Chuck Davis, founder of DanceAfrica, this unique fellowship offers
dance practitioners the chance to travel to Africa and study dance in its cultural context.
Tickets are on sale now for the DanceAfrica Festival 2023 performances at BAM.org. For a full
schedule of free and ticketed events, visit BAM.org/danceafrica2023.
For press information, contact Cynthia Tate at firstname.lastname@example.org or 718.724.8022.
Press Photos Here
DanceAfrica Festival Events
Created in 1977 under the guidance of Founding Elder Chuck Davis, DanceAfrica has evolved
into a highly anticipated and high-spirited Memorial Day weekend tradition that brings together
the entire community. The month-long celebration is centered around dance performances at
the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House. It also includes several workshops, the popular outdoor
DanceAfrica Bazaar with over 150 vendors selling crafts, food, and fashion, a visual art piece
commissioned for DanceAfrica