Delou Africa is a non-profit organization that provides the most authentic African dance and musical performances in South Florida. This year marks 35 years of the organization displaying and teaching local African dance and drum. DelouAfrica continues to enrich and empower the community through its annual DanceAfrica Miami showcase, which kicks off on August 5 through August 7 at the Lou Rawls Center for the Performing Arts at Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens. The annual program continues to be a feather in South Florida’s cultural diversity cap. The festival’s theme is Rise Above. This exceptionally high-spirited, three-day family-friendly, multi-cultural arts, and educational event is made possible with the support of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor, and Board of County Commissioners, the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and culture and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture and the Knight Foundation. Concert tickets start at $35 and can be purchased at https://bit.ly/3ys2MEx. The cultural depth of DanceAfrica Miami is extensive and will be an assembly of cultures and talent for all ages to enjoy.
“The community should come and see DanceAfrica Miami because it will be different and something they have never seen before. The Haitian, Afro Cuban, and Delou AfricaDance Ensemble collaboration represents the entire diaspora. It’s an event not to be missed,” said Folayan Griffiths, Vice President of DelouAfrica Incorporated.
The festival will have a health fair, a marketplace, and a children’s village. The youth zone will have African dance and drum classes, folktales, face painting, and giveaway backpacks for school, sponsored by The Children Trust. In addition, there will be a seminar focusing on men in African dance and how to increase their involvement.
DanceAfrica Miami is Delou Africa’s biggest show of the year. Over the years, the festival has helped over 10,000 people and at least 50 artists through classes, innovative projects, workshops, and performances. The organization’s mission with DanceAfrica Miami is to provide a nurturing environment for expression, growth, and cultural appreciation.
“We are the leading presenter of traditional and folkloric African arts in South Florida. We bridge gaps to preserve African culture by hosting artistic education. We facilitate presentations of traditional African dance, drum, music, art, and history,” said Djenaba Gregory Faal, Development officer for Delou Africa.
This year is a massive production because they are adding stilt walkers to the performances. Delou Africa recently earned a grant from the Knight Foundation for the Knights Art Challenge. With that resource, Delou Africarecruited two highly regarded Stilt Mask Guilds: Nanfoule Folklore Ensemble of Washington, D.C., and The Mocko Jumbie, Stilt Dancers from the United States Virgin Islands (USVI).
“Moko Jumbie means good god, good spirit. We were asked to portray the origin of the Moko Jumbie in the Virgin Islands. We will tell the story of how it started and where it is today,” said Vernon Brooks, Director of USVI Mocko Jumbie stilt dancers.
Tall spirit is the name of the performance featuring the Mocko Jumbie at DanceAfrica Miami. This full-length concert presentation highlighting the Stilt Artistry of Black Immigrants will take place on Monday, August 8, 2022, at 8 pm at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts Amaturo Theater. This engaging production incorporates aspects of folkloric and contemporary African masquerade. Attendees can expect dance, music, storytelling, poetry, and song in a multimedia framework. tickets for Monday’s concert can be purchased at Tall Spirit – Stilt Artistry of Black Immigrants | Broward Center for the Performing Arts
“We want people to feel empowered by the experiences of Delou Africa. Folklore is so powerful, and our traditions are so powerful. We want to provide the purest form of expression, so people, especially those who engaged in hands-on experiences with us, tap into their creativity when they leave,” said Faal.
DanceAfrica Miami is tapping into its network as performers from all over are coming to show locals their skills. Local groups like West African music & Dance Collective, Sikan Afro-Cuban Project, and the Haitian-inspired TLL Dance Ensemble will have performers at the festival. In addition, over 20 musicians and 13 dancers across the DanceAfrica Network will teach and perform at DanceAfrica Miami.
“Participants that come to DanceAfrica Miami look forward to seeing the artists with the local groups in the community perform. We have over 20 West African and Caribbean dance and drum workshops scheduled for the weekend,” said Griffiths.
For an in-depth schedule of cultural offerings, visit www.danceafricamiami.org.
This is a Hy-Lo News Staff Report