Sunday, March 11, 2012

17th Annual Collage des Cultures Africaines: Knowledge Transporters

Diamano Coura West African Dance Company's
annual showcase of African Dance and Cultures, featuring a grand performance last night and a series of dance and drumming workshops draws to a close today, but Saturday evening, Bay Area resident dance companies with special guests performed phenomenal work on the theme "Knowledge Transporters." The conduit all around was water, fresh salty water as in --Yemanja, Mami Wata, slave ships. The evening, one of the best Collages I've attended in a long while--and I love them all, was an homage to those who have passed on, the Egungun and those who bear the legacies: Maafa, Sankofa, Ayaresa.

From the New Orleans second line, choreographed by Dimensions Dance Theatre member, Latanya Tigner, featuring Umi dancing for his sister, Yasmin, to Assatu of Emese: Messengers of the African Diaspora, looking for her treasure beneath blue demarcation to King Theo who brought Carnival, SambaFunk style, colorful beads around the lead dancers' necks--they took us to the moment before reflection when all is well, and even if it isn't right now, the promise is soon.

Carla Service's kids lindy hopped us across the Atlantic, bobbing and flying, doing handstands and back flips, those kids could move!

We then went to Southern Africa to Zimbabwe with Julia Chigamba and Chinyakare Ensemble. They literally brought the water--in bowls on top their heads, dancing and then mopping up a few spills, the spirit in the bowls having as much fun as we.

All the while Linda Fay Johnson talked us through the journey--she was a show all to herself. Her presence certainly made the evening intimate and joyous. We felt like one big family.

There is breakfast at 9 a.m. followed by a full day of classes at the Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts, 1428 Alice Street, Oakland, CA. Visit


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