Sankofa Danzafro’s powerful dance work explores urban struggle and resilience
January 22, 2021
Showcasing powerful Afro-Colombian and Afro-contemporary dance with live drumming and song, Colombia's Sankofa Danzafro portrays the reality of marginalized communities who have faced ethnic discrimination and social inequality for generations in its work, “The City of Others.”
Co-sponsored by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration at Virginia Tech, the Moss Arts Center presents the world premiere stream of “The City of Others” from a performance in a theatre in Medellín, Colombia, on Thursday, Jan. 28, at 7:30 p.m. The event includes a post-performance conversation with Sankofa Danzafro Artistic Director Rafael Palacios, moderated by Assistant Professor of Sociology Andrea Baldwin.
Ticketholders have access to the “HomeStage” series performance as it happens and for seven days following the event.
Colombia has the second largest Afro-descent population in Latin America. “The City of Others” denounces the lack of opportunities for minority communities and others being marginalized by society for wealth, gender, and sexual orientation and who have suffered social inequity for generations. The work evokes the sensitivity and enjoyment of dance and is a legitimate representation of a diverse, multicultural nation seeking the paths of reunion and coexistence. This performance about urban struggle and resilience demands the city be a place of coexistence; a place for everybody, not only a few.
When lockdown orders temporarily lifted in Colombia recently, the dancers and musicians of Sankofa Danzafro came together for the first time in months to perform their most renowned work. The performance features traditional Colombian songs and rhythms, such as the vallenato from the Atlantic region coastline, and dances such as the bullerengue (also from the Atlantic coastline) and the currulao and abozao dances from the Pacific coastline.
Sankofa Danzafro was founded in 1997 by Palacios, a choreographer and Colombian dancer dedicated to the exploration of Afro-traditional, contemporary, and urban dance languages. Meaning "to return to the root," Sankofa is an African philosophy that proposes the past is a keyhole through which to view the present and consider the future. Using poetic movement to explore social and cultural narratives related to its home country of Colombia, the contemporary dance company is dedicated to training and creation in dance and has sought to build a bridge between Afro-Colombian peoples and the African continent. Sankofa's works are built on the ideas of social bonding, personal growth, and the positioning of local cultures in the national dynamics.
Free dance workshop with Sankofa Danzafro
Join members of Sankofa Danzafro for this free virtual workshop on Tuesday, Jan. 26, at 7 p.m., when they lead participants through several Afro-Colombian dance styles, including bullerengue, abozao, currulao, and tamborito. Open to all skill levels, the event is free, but registration is required.
Sankofa Danzafro will also participate in a discussion with Virginia Tech students in the Latin American and Iberian Graduate Students Association and SalsaTech dance group, among others, moderated by graduate student Nestor Alejandro Santa Cano; an Afro-Colombian dance virtual workshop for students at Pulaski County Middle School, and a virtual class visit with Virginia Tech undergraduate students in a Hispanic Life, Literature, and Language class.
Tickets are $10 for general public and free for Virginia Tech students. Tickets can be purchased online; at the Moss Arts Center's box office, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday; or by calling 540-231-5300 during box office hours.
The Spring Fan(fare) Pass provides access to all “HomeStage” events offered between Jan. 1 and May 31, 2021, guaranteeing a minimum of eight performances. While providing added support for the center, Spring Fan(fare) pass holders also get exclusive information through regular Fan(fare) Insider emails and are the first to know about new events added to the schedule.