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Last modified: Tuesday, April 3, 2012

African American Dance Company spring concert highlights theme of 'Finding Freedom'

April 3, 2012

BLOOMINGTON -- Indiana University Bloomington's African American Dance Company will present its annual spring concert at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 7, at the Buskirk-Chumley Theatre, 114 E. Kirkwood Ave., in downtown Bloomington.

African American Dance Co.

Members of the African American Dance Company will perform at their spring concert Saturday.

Print-Quality Photo

The African American Dance Company will present new choreographic projects that highlight the theme "Collaborations 2012: Finding Freedom." The students design, develop and construct choreography that illustrates various personal concepts of freedom, such as "individuality," "the warrior within" and "silent complacency."

The first collaboration, "Four Women," will be staged to communicate the divides of gender, race, nation and culture. In the second collaboration, "Hard Boiled," the music "Sur le Fil" by Yann Tiersen will set the tone to help dancers capture human conditions such as anxiety, fear of loneliness, disconnection with nature and consumption.

In the next collaboration, "Behind the Wall," dancers will bring light to the vicious cycle faced by victims of domestic violence, aided by the music of Tracy Chapman and India Arie. Choreography in "A Free Man" will tell the tragic story of a man wrongly accused of a crime. The emotional drama of this piece is heightened by the song "Strange Fruit" as sung by Nina Simone.

"The Circle Will Not Be Broken" will illustrate the use of the circle configuration as a metaphor for unbroken ancestral connections used in dances created during the middle passage of African diaspora. Using these circular movements, dancers will depict "dancing the slaves," which allowed slaves to connect spiritually, and the "ring shout," one of the early African American religious musical traditions.

With grant support from Arts Week Everywhere, African American Dance Company will be premiering a new piece titled "In the Beginning." Inspired by the cosmic sound of the gyil, the work will capture the African holistic view of the universe and its beliefs of humanity throughout the history of the African diaspora. Choreography will display improvisation fused with a blending of African and contemporary modern dance movements that highlight Ghanaian dance traditions led by guest artist Evelyn Yaa Bekyore, a professional dancer with the Saakumu Dance Company from Ghana, West Africa.

Bernard Woma, musical guest artist who has shared the stage with the likes of Yo Yo Ma and Maya Angelo, has created an original composition to help conceive the work.

"Through this type of expression, aesthetics and class projects, students gain an understanding and appreciation of history, culture and politics in addition to developing social consciousness about people of African descent," said dance company director Iris Rosa, a professor of African American and African Diaspora studies in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Tickets for Saturday's concert are $20 for adults, $10 for children and students (limit two per IU I.D.). Tickets are available at the Buskirk-Chumley Box Office, 114 E. Kirkwood Ave., 812-323-3020, and at the door.

The African American Arts Institute is committed to promoting and preserving African American culture through performance, education, creative activity, research and outreach. For more information and a calendar of institute events, visit the African American Arts Institute website or call 812-855-5427. The institute's executive director is Charles E. Sykes. The African American Arts Institute is a unit of the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs.

Arts Week Everywhere
The African American Dance Company's performance is one of the highlights of Arts Week Everywhere, the annual celebration focused on arts on campus and in the community. Coordinated by the Office of the Provost and students in IU's Master of Arts Administration program, Arts Week Everywhere events take place throughout the month of April.

For more information about Arts Week Everywhere, visit