DEEPLY ROOTED: South African Choreographer FANA TSHABALALA’s "INDUMBA" at BAM
Deeply Rooted Dance Theater (DRDT) returns to New York City in April with the New York premiere of its 2017 evening-length work INDUMBA by acclaimed South African choreographer Fana Tshabalala. Performances take place Saturday, April 28 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 29 at 3 p.m. at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) Fishman Space, 321 Ashland Place in Brooklyn. Noted arts professional Baraka Sele participates in a discussion with artists and audience following the April 29 performance.
Originally creating INDUMBA to illuminate the perpetual impact of unresolved apartheid politics in his native South Africa, Fana Tshabalala, artistic director of Broken Borders Arts Project, spent three weeks in residence with DRDT in July 2017 to adapt INDUMBA for an American audience. “Indumba” means African healing hut, promising a work of stirring resilience and reconciliation. Tshabalala noted, “As an artist, I am fascinated by how social politics affect human interaction and spirituality. …I created INDUMBA to provide individuals and communities with opportunities for this important spiritual cleansing through dance.”
DRDT Co-founder and Artistic Director Kevin Iega Jeff, who founded his first company, JUBILATION! Dance Company, in New York City in 1982, said, “INDUMBA forges an expanded aesthetic direction for the company. We welcome all who wish to come prepared to witness work that is newly found.”
INDUMBA premiered in December 2017 as part DRDT’s 20th anniversary finale performances, “Deeply Free,” at Chicago’s Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts. Chicago Tribune dance critic Lauren Warnecke called INDUMBA “unequivocally the dance of the year.”
Following the April 29 performance, independent arts consultant Baraka Sele will lead a discussion with Jeff, company artists and members of the audience. Sele has more than 30 years’ experience as a performing arts curator, consultant and producer. She has held leadership positions including assistant vice president of programming at New Jersey Performing Arts Center, the first artistic director of performing arts at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco and vice president of performing arts of The Houston International Festival. She has also served on local, national and international advisory committees, boards and panels for numerous organizations. She has traveled throughout Africa, Asia, Europe and North and South America, focusing on collaborations and presentations with artists of diverse cultures to facilitate intercultural exchange. Her work and presentations have been featured in a wide range of publications, including American Theatre, Dance, Essence, Inside Arts, The New York Times and the Washington Post. National and international awards and recognition include the William Dawson Award for Programmatic Excellence, which the Association of Performing Arts Professionals gives to an individual or organization for “quality, innovation and vision of program design, audience building and community involvement.” At Rutgers University-Newark, Sele served as a Gustav Heningburg Civic Fellow for the Institute of Ethnicity, Culture and the Modern Experience and taught a graduate course in Leadership and Diversity.
Debuting in 1996, Deeply Rooted Dance Theater is rooted in traditions of modern, contemporary and African dance, as well as storytelling, in universal themes that spark a visceral experience and ignite an emotional response in diverse audiences worldwide. Collaborating with nationally renowned choreographers across the spectrum of modern, ballet and African dance, DRDT presents work that reflects eclectic voices in contemporary life.
DRDT Co-founder and Artistic Director Kevin Iega Jeff founded his first company, JUBILATION! Dance Company, in New York City in 1982 out of a need to provide a forum for African-American artists to be engaged holistically in the arts—spiritually, intellectually, physically, socially and economically. For 10 years the company toured nationally and internationally, helping to bring the stories, histories and art of African-American people, as well as Jeff’s unique approach to contemporary dance, to a global audience. In 1995, Jeff joined forces with Gary Abbott in Chicago, and together they founded Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, which has performed from coast to coast in the U.S. as well as in South Africa, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, France, Brazil and Canada.
Deeply Rooted’s programs are partially supported by the Alphawood Foundation Chicago, the Bloomberg Foundation/AIM, the Chicago Park District, the Chicago Community Trust, the Illinois Arts Council, the Irving Harris Fund, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), MacArthur Foundation funds through the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation's International Connections Fund, The Martha Struthers Farley and Donald C. Farley, Jr. Family Foundation and the Deeply Rooted Family of Friends. Special thanks to Ballet Chicago and Chicago Dance Forum for their partnership and support.
Photo: Deeply Rooted Dance Theater in INDUMBA. Credit: Ken Carl.
Deeply Rooted Dance Theater performs INDUMBA
Saturday, April 28 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 29 at 3 p.m.
at BAM Fishman Space, 321 Ashland Place, Brooklyn, New York.
Tickets are $49–79 and are available at 718-636-4100 ext. 1 and bam.org.
A $150 “Rooted Benefactor” ticket includes
admission to the Sunday performance and a post-show reception
as well as a contribution to the company’s dance education programs.
All programming is subject to change.
For information about Deeply Rooted, visit deeplyrooteddancetheater.org.
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