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Ngoma R eader Washington, D.C.’s Dance Magazine

Women prominent in growth of D.C. Dance

African Dance in America

Remembering AfricanAmerican Dance Directors

Dancer Spotlight Andile Ndlovu

Artistic Director Spotlight Dr. Laurel Victoria Gray

www.ngomareader.org

May/ June 2016


Dance Metro DC Your Dance Community Auditions, News, Performances and more...

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Washington, D.C.’s Dance Magazine

Ngoma R eader Editor In Chief/Publisher Shawn Short

sshort@ngoma-center-for-dance.org

Editor Damon Foster

dfoster@ngoma-center-for-dance.org

Contributing Writers and Editors Stephen Clapp Derek Clemente Damon Foster Ingrid Graham Donovan Johnson Tyler Lewis Tehreema Mitha Shawn Short Staff Photographers Jeremiah Jones Jade Enders Shawn Short Sergey Apasov

For advertisement information and news submissions, please email: NRmagazine@ngoma-center-for-dance.org 4


Table of Contents Volume 3 Issue 3 Feature

Artistic Director Spotlight

Dancer Spotlight

6 Bare Feet on The Frontline

12 Dr. Laurel Victoria Gray

20 Andile Ndlovu

By Damon Foster

By Damon Foster

By Damon Foster

10 Remembering AfricanAmerican Dance Directors

Photography Feature

Opinion

16 Fingers, Lips and Fingertips

22 African Dance in America

By Shawn Short

By Sinclair O’Gaga Emogehe

By Shawn Short

On the Cover: Damon Foster of Dissonance Dance Theatre

(Below) Photo by Daniel Nathan Photo...Joy of Motion Dance Center® Maurice Johnson, long-time JOMDC Faculty Member teaching class

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Pirctured Joy of Motion Dance Center Founder MIchelle Ava ... Photo courtesy of Michelle Ava

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barefeet on the frontline Women Prominent in Growth of D.C. Dance By Damon Foster

Women have been major trendsetters in the local dance community, creating modern dance incubator spaces.

Over the last four decades, Washington D.C. has grown into a hub of modern dance on the east coast. Women have been at the helm of that growth and development, and remain a creative force in local modern dance as artistic directors, producers, presenters, choreographers, and educators.

Known for her quirky improvisational flare, Nancy Havlik, founder and artistic director of the Nancy Havlik Dance Performance Group, says women have been major trendsetters throughout the local dance community, in creating modern dance incubator spaces including Liz Lerman, founder of Dance Exchange and Carla Perlo, co-founder of Dance Place.” “Carla and Liz are both impressive forces as well as Brooke Kiss of Joe’s Movement Emporium in that each stepped forth to initiate the creation of training and performances spaces a dancer so critically needs to perfect his or her craft. There was a lot of assistance of men along the way but these ladies got the ball rolling,” Says Havlik says. Perlo announced her retirement last month, effective in 2017. Perlo, founded Dance Place in 1980. Dance Place has become a staple in the Brookland community with its extensive outreach programming. The search has begun for new leadership. Havlik launched her company in 1989, and is widely known for her open public venue performances and use on contact improvisation in her choreography. Contact improvisation is a dance technique in which points of physical contact provide the starting point for exploration through movement improvisation. It’s one of the best-known and most characteristic forms of postmodern dance. Havlik’s choreography has been performed extensively in venues across the Washington, DC area.  She has directed site works in locations as varied as the C&O Canal, the Building Museum, Barnes and Noble Bookstore, Josephine Butler Center and the Torpedo Factory Arts Center and The National Portrait Gallery. On her own contribution and place in the area modern dance community, Havlik humbly sums herself as an independent explorer of sorts. “I’ve always been into experimenting, especially with contact improvisation. The form is beautiful to not only perform but to watch. It embodies the physicality of dance. When performed well and dancers truly connect in their partnering, I believe the audience can feel the movement in their own bodies,” says 7


Photo courtesy of Nancy Havlik

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Photo by Daniel Nathan Photo...Joy of Motion Dance Center速 Maurice Johnson, long-time JOMDC Faculty Member teaching class


Joe’s Movement Emporium co-Founder Brooke Kidd Photo courtesy of Charles Steck

Havlik. “I in turn look for dancers who have a very ‘physical’ presence when performing. I love that my dancers do not all look the same. There is no ‘perfect body’ type. Each artist fights to bring the most expression out of his or her own body. That’s art.” Brooklyn, NY native Michelle Ava recalls a time period of “risk-taking” that swept through the DC dance community in the late 1970s through the 1980s. Embracing the philosophy of “Dance for Everyone,” Ava founded the Joy of Motion Dance Center 1976. The popular studio chain has dominated the area with three locations: Friendships Heights, Bethesda, and on H Street in northeast. “I find it quite significant that these hallmarks dance spaces currently serving the dance community were founded by women. Call it coincidence. Or maybe it just evolved that way. It’s remarkable the passion that women have fought (with male support also) to create and grow nurturing spaces for dancers and movement makers,” Ava says. “I remember my mentor Maida Withers at George Washington University encouraging us to take risks, embrace innovation...take dance to the community. There were several female and male dance artists who just ran with it. For me I wanted a professional all-accepting learning space both for the dancer and the non-dancer. I envisioned a setting where technique could be celebrated and experienced even if a professional dance career was not the end result.” Ava has long approached movement as a healing art, a way to fuse physical discipline and meditative practice. Her graduate thesis, entitled “The Effects of Transcendental Meditation on the Learning of Dance”, paved the way for what became her mission of bringing dance to the community for creativity, collaboration, and connectivity. Joe’s Movement Emporium co-founder Brooke Kidd recognized early on that affordable studio spaces were paramount to the growth of all dance in throughout the greater Washington D.C. area. Kidd and Ajax Joe Drayton initially launched the center in 1995 as a store front studio in Mt. Rainer, MD. Today with its 20,000 square-foot facility, housing over 20 resident artists, Joe’s is the largest independent

performing arts center in Prince George’s County. “Dancers need support. Not only do their productions need support, their creative process needs support. And how does a dancer create when he or she has not the space to explore ideas,” says Kidd. “The contribution of women dance entrepreneurs as passionate, multi-skilled, creative nurturers to community should be recognized. But all that ground work requires constant strategy to keep these creative spaces thriving. Choreographers can be supported to create good work.” “It’s a pivotal time for dance in this region. We must be empowered to go where audiences are. We can’t always expect people to just come to us. Educational dance experiences are more important than ever from enhancing academic achievement for our youth to enhancing general well being for our elderly. Dance can and should be experienced at all stages of life. 9


The Torch Burns With Less Intensity Three African American DC Dance Leaders Are Called Home By Shawn Short

In a city of diversity, AfricanAmerican arts leaders of thriving arts organization is on the decline. In the last three months, we have lost three central figures in the AfricanAmerican dance community. The absence of these founders will have a rippling effect. Yet, we hope that through their examples, the new talented tenth of movement visionaries will rise from the ashes, paving the way for new AfricanAmerican dance leadership. We salute you and speak your names. (pictured left to right) Bernice Hammond-Jackson, Rita Jackson, and Fabian Barnes)

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It was only 1934 when Northeast Academy of Dance (H st NE corridor) was founded by Bernice Hammond-Jackson. She wanted to provide a charm school and place for the parents of Howard University socialites to gain poise and expression. She did just that. According to Mrs. HammondJackson herself, Northeast Academy of Dance (NAD) was the first dance studio to become a business in Washington, DC. She is credited with discovering a little girl (Sandra Fortune) who would later become one of the first local African-American ballerina prodigies. Fortune also later competed in the pretigious Varna Classical Ballet Competition forin Bulgaria. She is the current Artistic Director of Jones and Haywood School of Dance. Mrs. Jackon trained many children through NAD, but also through its performance ensemble Africano Americana. NAD was a center for the students and families of H Street NE. Northeast Academy of Dance enjoyed a shelf-life of over 60 years before its closing around 2004, Mrs. Hammond was called home March 21, 2016, she was over 90 years old.

Further down Benning Road NE from Northeast Academy of Dance, another wonderful woman made her community proud. She was Rita Jackson of Northeast Performing Arts Group. According to her obituary in the Washington Post, Jackson was a native and lifelong resident of Washington. Starting in 1979 she had been the founding chief executive of the Northeast Performing Arts Group, which provides performing and visual arts opportunities to D.C.-area youngsters, focusing on those living east of the Anacostia River. For 10 years, she was an Advisory Neighborhood Commission member in Northeast Washington. Still in operations, Northeast Performing Arts Group still impacts the lives of its youth and community, a legacy Rita would be proud of. She died at 63 years old.

On the other side of the city, in the heart of Columbia Heights, another African-American Arts Founder passes on the torch. Former Dance Theatre of Harlem dancer Fabian Barnes, founded Dance Institute of Washington (DIW) in 1987. Through his vision, DIW grew from a small arts organization renting spaces across the city, to settling into its own $5 million building with three dance studios home to its professional dance company Washington Reflections. DIW, still in operation, still strives to live out Fabian’s dream of being a worldclass dance organization. DIW has been recognized by television mogul Oprah Winfrey and the Obama White House Administration. Fabian Barnes was 56 years old.

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Artistic Director Spotlight

Dr. Laurel Victoria Gray Photo courtesy of Dr. Lauren Gray

Internationally recognized dance scholar, choreographer, and performer, Laurel Victoria Gray has devoted her life to mastering dances from Silk Road cultures and beyond. She combines her degrees in  history with decades of field research and teaches dance at George Washington University and George Mason University. In 1995, she founded Silk Road Dance Company. The ensemble tours internationally presenting traditional and contemporary women’s dances from Central Asia, the Middle East, South Asia, China and the Caucasus. Her scholarly articles have appeared in many publications including the Oxford University Press International Encyclopedia of Dance, the World Encyclopedia of Contemporary Theater, the  Encyclopedia of Modern Asia, the Encyclopedia of Women in Islamic Culture, Facts on File, Dance Magazine, and Azerbaijan International as well as foreign dance  journals. Dr. Gray opens up to NR about her life’s work and 12

passion for Middle Eastern dance. How were you first exposed to dance? My sister, Diana, who was ten years my senior, took ballet lessons and practiced her barre at home to a recording by Madame Alexandra Danilova. Of course, I copied my sister and practiced with her. When she rehearsed her choreography, I followed along behind, so they had me dance with her at church to Me and My Shadow. I must have been about 4 or 5 and I took it very seriously, feeling offended when people laughed because our duet was so cute. That taught me to take children’s efforts seriously. Soon I was enrolled in ballet and tap classes as well. In high school, I discovered an international folk dance


club. And about that same time the Moiseyev Dance Company from the USSR came to my home town of Spokane, Washington. The Soviet model of folkloric dance became my ideal for many years. What motivated you to start Silk Road Dance Company? What inspired the name?

Silk Road Dance Company®, founded in 1995, traces its roots of its name to a 1982 performance at the Asia Society in New York. Although I did not attend this concert, learned of it when a fellow graduate student at the University of Washington handed me a clipping from that week’s New York Times. It was the October 29, 1982, article by Jennifer Dunning “In Song and Dance Along the Silk Route,” illustrated with a photograph of one of the concert’s female performers.It was a galvanizing moment. For years, I had been searching for descriptors for the dances in my personal repertoire and that of my ensemble. All the terms seemed so lengthy and awkward. When I saw the title of the New York Times article, everything came into focus. Of course, I knew about the Great Silk Road, and how it was the connective thread that united these diverse cultures. From that moment on, I began to use the term ‘Silk Road’ to identify my work. After studying dance in Uzbekistan for two years, I relocated to the East Coast in the summer of 1994. As I began to meet and work with Washington DC area dancers, a small core of students expressed an interest in exploring Central Asian and Persian dance in greater depth. And when the dancer Nyla approached me about performing for Persian weddings, I saw the opportunity to create a Washington DC-based performance group. Soon auditions were held and students began to learn my repertoire. But what to name the group? I considered reviving the name Tanavar since the ensemble I created in Seattle was inactive, but it was Nyla who made the fateful suggestion. Nyla said “you are always talking about the Silk Road, so why don’t you call us ‘Silk Road?” Describe the presence on Middle Eastern/Islamic Dance in 1995 when the company launched and how has Silk Road contributed to the growth on Middle Eastern/Islamic dance in Washington D.C. Is there more awareness and interest in the region’s cultural dances?

When I arrived in DC, the World Dance scene was

vastly different from Seattle where I had lived before moving to Central Asia to study dance. Seattle annually hosted the largest folk festival in the US, and “ethnic dance” was valued as “Dance” – with a big “D” - and not as “dance,” a quaint past time not to be taken seriously. DC was a bit different. The Middle Eastern dance scene was primarily belly dance, much of it at a very amateur level, with only a few people or groups presenting authentic folklore. And really no one knew about Central Asian genres like Uzbek, Tajik, Afghan, and so on. Persian dance was also not really being performed. I was able to make contact with the Iranian diaspora community and started teaching Persian dance at the Iranian Community School in Vienna, Virginia. Remember, since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, public performances of dance were forbidden in Iran. Professional dancers had been imprisoned and tortured. Silk Road Dance Company filled an important niche for the members of the Iranian diaspora who missed their traditional dances and costumes. The ensemble began to receive invitations to perform at weddings and community festivals and holidays. We applied to perform at the Kennedy Center and were scheduled to present my work, Remembering the Legends: 3,000 Years of Women on the Silk Road, on November 10, 2001. Then 9/11 happened. I had to make a decision. Our dances came the Middle East, from Islamic cultures. We were going to go on stage just two months after the attack on the Pentagon which was just across the Potomac from the Kennedy Center. How would our dances be received? Should we cancel or withdraw some of the dances? I decided to take the risk and stick with the original program. By the time I came out for my second solo, there was standing-room-only with a crowd of 1,500. Their response was positive, revealing a genuine interest and a hunger to learn more about the cultures of the Middle East and the Silk Road. (Here is a link to a review of that concert: http://www.gildedserpent.com/articles16/ laurelgrayshow.htm ) 13


Soon we had more invitations, including a request to perform at the State Department. Our mission came sharply into focus: “Cultural Understanding through Beauty and Delight.” What is the continued appeal of Middle Eastern dance in 2016?

Globalization, urbanization, and cultural appropriation have all had an impact on Middle Eastern dance. In 2016, there are many different genres and, as a result, the dance appeals for diverse reasons. Some individuals are drawn to the lovely femininity of the women’s dances, to the rich traditions of Arabic, Turkish and Persian music. Others enjoy the vitality of folk dances. Many of the greatest American performers have come up through the Arabic nightclubs, improvising to live music as is traditional in the Middle East. At these venues, American dancers became acquainted first-hand with Middle Easterners and their traditions at family run restaurants. Often, the musicians helped train the dancers, teaching them about the different rhythms and melodies. But since 9/11 there has been a shift away from dance deeply rooted in the Cultures of Origin. Many women are using non-Middle Eastern music, emphasizing extreme isolations and taking on an aggressive stage demeanor. “Tribal,” “fusion” and “Steampunk” genres have become very popular. Of course, the gorgeous costumes associated with these dances have great appeal for some, giving women a chance to dress like Middle Eastern princesses. While there are still are individuals who attempt to recreate traditional clothing, those less connected with the genuine culture go for fantasy. Even with Central Asian dance, the costumes have become more “Las Vegas” with solid sequin fabric replacing hand-dyed silks and rich brocades. Delicate. traditional tiaras have been supplanted by enormous “beauty queen” style rhinestone-studded crown. Natural feathers from native birds have been superseded by enormous ostrich feathers in florescent hues. Recently, a heated debate about cultural 14

appropriation has rocked the Middle Eastern dance community and some of the accusations about “Orientalism” are valid. It is a complex situation. For me, the deciding factor is respect for the Culture of Origin. We must always keep in mind that these dances come from real people and we represent their traditions when we bring these dances to the stage. What inspires you as a dance maker?

First and foremost – music. In the Middle Eastern and Central Asia, music, dance, and poetry are all intertwined to create a specific mood or emotion. And, for me, history and literature are also important. Basing concert works on famous literary works like the Shahnameh, Haft Paykar, and the Baburnameh allows me to bring life to a lost and wondrous world. How would describe your choreography style?

Originally, I was greatly influenced by the huge, national Soviet-style dance companies of the midtwentieth century that drew on traditional folklore and emphasized a uniform look. But my approach has evolved and I love the diversity of my dancers. After all, the original Silk Road was all about the convergence of different cultures and traditions. My staging has changed, with more asymmetrical elements. There is always a highly focused intention behind my choreographies – a story, a moment, an emotion - that guides the work. Being the nation’s capital, Washington D.C. is an epicenter of cultural diversity. As an artistic director, what have been some of your challenges in raising an Islamic-based dance company that has become largely successful and renown outside of the immediate Middle Eastern/Asian community?

Yes, challenges exist on all sides. For Middle Eastern/ Central Asia communities, I had to first prove myself and show that I really did know the dance, history, and traditions of their cultures. Fortunately, over the years we have had wonderful support from the Cultures of Origin, who recommend us as presenters of their traditions. On the other side, American adjudicators and grant makers also had to be convinced. There can be a bias – often valid - against a Westerner putting Eastern dances on stage. An individual with a Middle Eastern surname may seem more valid, but


in some cases ethnicity is not enough if the person does not have formal training in dance. But since more than half of the dancers in Silk Road Dance Company have DNA from east of the Bosphorus, it has reinforced our validity. We have had exciting travel and opportunities to present these dances abroad, hired by clients to fly to places like Qatar, Uzbekistan, Singapore, and Canada. You are debuting a new show in May called Dance Treasures of Uzbekistan. Talk about that. What inspired the concept? What do you hope to accomplish with the production?

Our May 14th concert, Dance Treasures of Uzbekistan, is a tribute to my Uzbek mentors who have for several decades generously shared their culture with me, a non-Uzbek. We are presenting several selections from our “Legacy Repertoire.” These pieces are considered to be classics of Uzbek dance. Even the costumes reflect traditional aesthetics; some of the dresses are museum pieces. We hope to expose American audiences to the beauty and charm or Central Asian dance. And we hope that members of the diaspora community will enjoy an evening of their own traditions, sharing them with their children and friends. Name the three things you wish were more widely known about Middle Eastern/Islamic movement.

First of all, there are several major genres of dance in countries in the so-called “Islamic World.” There are chain, circle or line dances; solo, improvisational dances; spiritual and ritual dances; combat and war dances; and, most rarely, partner dances. What Americans know as “belly dance” is a contemporary subset that developed in Egyptian nightclubs in the mid-twentieth century. The movements are certainly ancient, but the stereotypical image of a cabaret dancer revealing a bare midriff does not represent the entirety of the diverse and varied world of dance in the Middle East and Central Asia.

spins that last for several minutes – are a hallmark of several styles, but masculine and feminine. The aesthetic may be different from that of modern dance, but these genres are no less valid. World Dance is revered, appreciated and supported on the West Coast. For example, San Francisco will hold its 38th Ethnic Dance Festival this year. This event is so popular that the organizers sell tickets to the auditions for the festival! Finally, the traditional costuming of Middle Eastern and Central Asian dance often creates a delayed line. This means that while the dancer may be precisely on the beat, her costume may trail behind. Do not mistake this delay for a technical lacking. And, yes, the costumes are colorful and “exotic,” but festivals should not relegate performers of these styles to dancing in lobbies instead of on the concert stage. This is disrespectful to the Cultures of Origin and demeaning to the dancers. Where do you see Middle Eastern/Islamic dance progressing in Washington D.C. over the next decade?

The political climate may have a significant impact on the acceptance and popularity of Middle Eastern culture in DC, especially with growing anti-Islamic attitudes. Visa restrictions may not only make it difficult for groups like IranianAmericans to visit family and friends back home, but it could make it increasingly challenging for Middle Eastern artists to travel to the US. More than ever, Silk Road Dance Company will remain focused on our mission of spreading “cultural understanding through beauty and delight.” We also hope to cultivate discerning audiences that will be able to differentiate between performances deeply anchored within the traditions of the Middle East and the Silk Road, and superficial presentations of Orientalist stereotypes.

Secondly, some of the cultures of the Silk Road have intricate classical styles. And even the folk dances can require subtlety and technique. Footwork remains relatively simple but the upper body is fluid and supple, often featuring deep backbends. Arms, hands, and face are especially expressive. A variety of spins and turns – including 15


Fingers, Lips, and Fingertips by Shawn Short

Dancers Shannon Evans, William Wilson (pg 18) , and Moyston Henry Jr. (pg 19)

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Andile Ndlovu finds himself when he dances. A native of Johannesburg, South Africa, he’s in his seventh season with Washington Ballet. Known for his massive stage presence and hard work ethic, Ndlovu relishes every opportunity to portray a character. He speaks to NR about his inspirations, work habits, and the growth of ballet in South Africa.

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Photo courtesy of Richard Finkelstein


Dancer Spotlight

What’s your dream dance gig?

I do not have a dream dance gig but what i dream about is being in a dance film hahaha. I am not kidding, like seriously!!! Sneaker, Boots, Chucks, Loafers, or High Heels (lol)?

Sneakers

Andile Ndlovu Where are you from?

I am from South Africa (SA) How old are you and what’s your zodiac sign?

I have just turned 28 on the 22 of last month and my sign is Aries Where do you dance currently?

I am with the Washington ballet at present. What’s in your dance bag?

In my dance bag I always have water; Advil; EmergenC; Clif bars (sometimes); tennis ball; thera band. iPhone or Android?

I have an iPhone Who inspires you in the dance world? Do you have a dance mentor?

To be honest no individual inspires me at the moment but I will say that i have worked with really good choreographers and teachers. What do you love about ballet?

What I love about ballet is the challenge the perseverance and the will to keep pushing beyond your own ability, and the art form mostly. What do you remember most about your first year living/dancing in the U.S?

I remember being culture shocked and my expectations were not met by what i knew about America at all... the food the way people lived and interacted with each other was different for me and that also was happening at work as well.

Single or Dating?

I have a girlfriend at the moment. What would be your funniest dance moment?

My funniest moment was when I danced my part in a ballet back in SA and it was not my music and just improvised with some salsa moves. Favorite dance moment?

Doing “in the middle somewhat elevated” by William Forsythe was one of my favorites. Do you have a particular process when preparing for new roles?

I do not have a particular process i just make sure i am the role or character i play and oh boy I practice until it’s in me. What keeps you motivated?

What keeps me motivated are my goals i have to archive and i love it when people try to discourage you, that’s also my motivation. How would you describe the growth of ballet in your native South Africa?

There is growth and it will show the world in about 5 years time because all the little brown girls and boys are being trained as we speak. at the moment progress is slow, not enough funding and resources as we used to How do you envision your dance career over the next 10 years?

I cannot envision anything that far along but I will follow and pursue to achieve my goals and hopefully that delivers me where I have to be.. Dancing or choreographing which do you enjoy most?

I enjoy both and I don’t know if that is strange but i do love to dance and choreography is my playground I love to roll around in and play in the sand.

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African Dance In America: My Journey to Understand What I Should Already Know. By Sinclair O’Gaga Emogehe

When I arrived in the United States in 2013 to study for my Master’s degree in Dance at the University of Maryland, I was told about “West African dance.” Coming from Nigeria as a Theater Artist who had majored in dance from the University of Benin in Nigeria, and who had practiced dance for the past six years after graduation, it occurred to me that I had never heard the phrase “West African dance” being used as a descriptor to identify the types of dances I performed. I was excited because I wanted to understand more of what “West African dance” meant, and also curious because I wanted to know the kinds of dances and dance movements Americans refer to as “West African.” So, I searched online for “West African dance,” and to my chagrin, all that resulted in my search for information and understanding was a dance form, which I discovered, originated from Guinea or Senegal, both countries located in West Africa. Neither Guinea nor Senegal is close to Nigeria in proximity, and I have only heard of Guinea and Senegal in our local news and when their teams played in the African Cup of Nations football tournament. As I continued with my research in understanding what “West African dance” contains and means, I began to notice costumes, sounds and songs, rhythms, and musical instruments. I narrowly focused on one of 22

Sinclair O’Gaga Emogehe Breaks Down West African Dance Development in the United States the photos of a musical instrument called the Djembe. Djembe is a drum and it seemed - from my point of view - to be the main percussive element of the dance event. I decided to Google “West African drums.” In my search, all that came up were different shapes of Djembe in various bright colors. Crestfallen, I decided to do a more specific search by searching for images and videos of dances and musical instruments from West Africa. I soon discovered that my search would result in me analyzing pictures, videos, and songs of Guinea and Senegal instruments, dance, and culture. Djembe seemed foreign to me- I couldn’t relate to the type of sound that emanated from it, so I started reading and studying anthropological and ethnographic research that has been conducted on West African dance. I discovered Georgiana Gore’s ethnographic research, an article atitled Traditional Dances in West Africa. In the first paragraph of this article Gore attempts to clarify in these lines: “To speak of West African dance is in fact a misnomer.....There are further reasons why the expression ‘West African dance’ should be used with caution. While West Africa may be considered as a geographical entity comprising some sixteen nation states stretching from the Atlantic in the west and the Gulf of Guinea in the south to the Sahara in the north and Lake Chad and the Cameroon mountains in the east, it is not a homogeneous unit” (Gore, 64, 1994) As Gore further reiterates the complex nature of the geographical region, I became aware that even my Nigerian community may be too large for such simplifications; hence, my confusion stems from the notion that West African dance is understood as a particular type of form, but when you come from West Africa and are not practicing and performing the “West African dance,” you might run into the problem of explaining “yourself” and your “art.” Questions such


as “What dance is that? Is it West African?” can become commonplace. America is a hugely diverse place, and people (especially foreigners), are proud of their origins and want to share the cultural elements that are important and accurate to themselves and their peers, friends, family, and teachers. This understanding is how I know that I need to dance in ways that are honest to myself and reflective of my upbringing with Nigerian dance, and not “West African Dance.” Sinclair earned a Bachelors of Art Degree from the Department of Theatre Arts, University of Benin Nigeria in 2007, where he received second-class upper division honors, majoring in dance composition and creation. In the past nine years he have not only earned a B.A., he practiced as an independent choreographer and teacher creating for both the stage and screen.

Photo courtesy of Jonathan Hsu Photography

In the past recent five years Sinclair has worked probono teaching dance and dramatic art in secondary schools across Nigeria and a freelance dance assistant at the University of Benin Theatre Arts Department. He is a 2016 MFA Candidate in Dance at University of Maryland College Park. 23


Community Directory African-American Managed Dance Companies African Dancers and Drummers Melvin Deal, Founder 1320 Good Hope Rd Southeast Washington D.C 20020 202-399-5252 www.facebook.com/ africanheritagedc Cacho Dancers and Drummers Bonita Cacho, Founder/Artisitic Director 202-607-0164 Coyaba Dance Theatre Sylvia Soumah, Founding Artistic Director 3225 8th Street Northeast Washington, D.C 20017 (202) 269-1600

www.coyabadancetheater.org Dissonance Dance Theatre Shawn Short, Founding Artistic Director Resident Company of Ngoma Center for Dance P.O. Box 2377, Washington D.C 20013 202-540-8338 www.ddtdc.org EdgeWorks Dance Theatre Helanius J. Wilkins, Founding Artisitic Director P.O.Box 73396 Washington D.C, 20056 (202) 483-0606 www.hjwedgeworks.org Farafina Kan Mahiri Fadjimba Keita, Founding Artistic Director 3802 34th Street, Mt Rainier, MD 20722 http://www.farafinakan.com Just Tap/Sole Defined Quynn Johnson, Ryan Johnson Founding Artistic Director www.quynnjohnson.com 24

KanKouran West African Dance Company Assane Konte, Founding Artistic Director P.O. Box 1338 Washingto D.C, 2013 202-518-1213 www.kankouran.org Lesoles Dance Project Lesole Z. Maine, Founding Artistic Director 3802 34th street. Mt. Rainer, MD 240-744-6694 www.ldpdance.org Memory of African Culture Akua Femi Kouyate, Founder MAC, Inc. P.O. Box 50045, Washington, D.C. 20091 (202) 210-7120 www.memoryofafricanculture.org Step Afrika Brian Williams, Founding Excetive Director 133 4th street NE Washington, D.C 20002 202-399-7993 ext. 112 www.stepafrica.org Vision Contemporary Dance Katherine Smith, Artistic Director P.O. Box 48087 Washington, D.C 20002 301.909-VCDE (8233) www.visioncontemporarydance.org Urban Artisty Junious Brickhouse (Founder) 8001 Kennett Street Silver Spring, MD 20910 202-431-4202 www.urbanartistry.org The National Hand Dance Association P.O. Box 70006 Washington, D.C. 20024 www.nationalhanddanceassociation.org

World Dance Companies D.C Contemporary Dance Theatre Miya Hisaka, Founding Artistic Director P.O.Box 9796 Washington, D.C 20016 202-316-5277 www.teatrodedanza.org Furia Flamenco Estela Velez ( Director) Joy of Motion Dance Center 5207 Wisconsin Ave NW Washington, D.C 20015 (703) 568-4404 www.furia-flamenca.com Jayamangala 8600 Waterside Ct, Laurel, MD 20723 (301) 617-2712 www.jayamangala.org Maru Montero Dance Maru Montero, Founder admin@marumontero.com www.marumontero.com Nomad Dancers Christel Stevens( Co Director) Adriane Whalen (Co Director) 4166 South Street, Arlington, Va, 22206 (703) 799-0282 www.nomaddancers.com Silk Road Dance Compay Dr. Laurel Victoria Gray, Founder and Artistic Director P.O. Box 11346 Takoma Park, MD 20913 301-585-1105 www.silkroaddance.com Tehreema Mitha Dance Founding Artistic Director 8509 Pelham Rd, Bethesda, MD 20817 (301) 581-9520 www.tmdancecompany.org


Community Directory Dance Schools and Institutions Angel of Hope Ministries, Inc Rev. Claudia H. Harrison Developing the Physical through Dance and Health Awareness www.angels-hope.org Coyaba Academy Sylvia Soumah, Founder and Artistic Director Dance Place 3225 8th Street Northeast Washington, D.C 20017 (202) 269-1600 www.coyabadancetheater.org Dance Dimensions Dakyia Lambert (Artistic Director) 7979 Parston Dr District Heights ,MD 20747 301-420-1567 www.dimensions-inc.com

Duke Ellington School of the Arts The Davis Center Charles Augins, Dance Chair 3500 R street NW , Washington, D.C 202-282-0123 www.ellingtonschool.org

Howard University Theatre Arts Dept - Dance 2400 Sixth St NW, Washington, D.C 20059 howarduniversitydancemajor@yahoo.com 202-806-7050/7052 www.coas.howard.edu/theatrearts/ dance Jones-Haywood Dance School Saundra Fortune-Green, Artistic Director 1200 Delafield Place NW Washington D.C 20011 202-441-1099 www.joneshaywood.com

Dance Institute of Washington Fabian Barnes, Founder and Artistic Director 3400 14th street NW, Washington, D.C 202-371-9656 www.danceinstitute.org

Making Moves Dance Collective Inc Amber L. Comer, Artistic Director Kellie N. Sellers, Artistic Director 5640 Sunnyside Avenue, Suite E Beltsville, MD 20705 301-220-1500 www.makingmovesdc.org

Dance Makers INC Ms. Robin Angelica Pitts, Executive Director 9901 Business Parkway, Suite L Lanham, Maryland 20706Â 301-731-0003 www.marylanddancestudio.com

Ngoma Center for Dance Shawn Short, Founding Artistic Director P.O. Box 2377 Washington D.C 20013 202-540-8338 www.ngoma-center-for-dance.org

District Dance Arts Cristine Davis, Director Classes held at the Capoeira Spot 2008 Rhode Island Ave NE Washington, DC 20018 www.districtdancearts.com

Northeast Performing Arts Center Rita Jackson (Founder) 3431 Benning Rd NE Washington, D.C 20019 202-388-1274 www.nepag.org

Divine Dance Institute Amanda Standard, Founding Director 505 Hampton Park Blvd., Suite R Capitol Heights, MD 20743 301-333-2623 www.divine-dance.com

Suitland High School Center for the Visual and Performing Arts 5200 Silver Hill Road Forestville, MD 20747 301.817.0092 www1.pgcps.org/suitlandhs

Beatrice E. Davis-Williams 6218 3rd Street N.W. Washington D.C 20011 202-277-6110 www.thedaviscenter.net Ubuntu Nankama Dance Studio 3802Â 34th Street, Mt Rainier, MD 20722 Words, Beats, & Life Inc. 1525 Newton Street, NW Washington, D.C 20010 202-667-1192 www.wblinc.org Baltimore Area Morton Street Dance Donna L. Jacobs, 3600 Clipper Mill Road, Ste. 108 Baltimore, MD 21211 410-235-9003 www.mortonstreetdance.com Baltimore Dance Tech Stephanie Powell, Director, 5130 Greenwich Avenue (Near Route 40 West) Baltimore, MD 21229 410-233-1101 www.baltimoredancetech.com Connexions School for the Arts 2801 N. Dukeland Street Baltimore, MD 21216 Phone:(443) 984-1418/1419/1420 Fax:(410) 669-4418 www.csfta.org Dance & Bmore Cjay Philip, Director danceandbmore@gmail.com www.danceandbmore.com Coppin State University Vanessa Coles, Chair - Dance Physical Education Complex Rm 212 2500 West North Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21216-3698 dance@coppin.edu www.coppin.edu/dance 25


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Ngoma Reader is looking for committed, and enthusiastic writers to join its team. Is that you?

v

Ngoma Center for Dance

The Ngoma Reader (NR) is a bi-monthly online publication that gives literary voice to the minority dance artists of Washington, D.C.

Internships Experience the thrill and rewards of working in Ngoma Center for Dance and its programs! Whether you’re a high school student looking for summer employment, or a college or graduate student seeking a substantive internship supporting the arts in D.C., there’s no limit as to how far our opportunities can take you. At Ngoma Center for Dance, you’ll have the opportunity to gain insight into a budding dance organization, explore new career avenues and acquire lifelong skills. Our two programs, (1) Production, and (2) Administration, enable students to obtain job experience in a in the theatre and in the back office. The opportunities are endless—and they all start right here. Begin by finding out which program is right for you, or speaking with our director about an internship with Ngoma Center for Dance and its programs. Contact Shawn Short, Director at sshort@ngoma-center-for-dance.org for more information. Check out more at www.careersushi.com/ngomacenterfordance Ngoma Reader is looking for committed, and enthusiastic writers and photographers to join its team. Is that you? The Ngoma Reader (NR) is a bi-monthly online publication that gives literary voice to the dance artists of Washington, D.C. QUALIFICATIONS: Current major/Interest in Journalism, Communications, dance, or English Strong news judgment Quick and accurate editing/writing skills Thorough attention to detail Knowledgeable in the local DMV dance scene and/or other arts-related events The ability to multi-task with little-to-no supervision

A strong work ethic and motivation to succeed A positive, good-natured, energetic attitude A commitment to unbiased writing Knowledgeable of AP Style guidelines

Interested writers send your writing sample and resume to: NRmagazine@ngoma-center-for-dance.org (In the subject line type: Potential Writer for NR Magazine) WWW.NGOMAREADER.ORG WWW.NGOMA-CENTER-FOR-DANCE.ORG

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Ngoma R eader Washington, D.C.’s Dance Magazine

(c) Copyright Ngoma Reader 2016 All Rights Reserved 28

NR Reader Magazine May/June 2016  

Ngoma Reader Magazine May/June 2016 Issue http://www.ngomareader.org/ Washington, D.C.'s Dance Magazine The Ngoma Reader (NR) is a Bi-monthl...

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