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DanceAfrica Returns with Golden Ghana



Tribute to the African Nation’s Rich Cultural Diversity and Revolutionary History Through Dance, The Arts and Performances by the Acclaimed National Dance Company of Ghana During May 26-29

Abdel R. Salaam is Artistic Director
This Month, BAM’s DanceAfrica Festival, the nation’s largest African dance festival, will celebrate Ghana’s artistic vitality and revolutionary history through dance, music, and community, featuring the National Theater of Ghana’s National Dance Company on he Howard Gilman House stage, May 26-29.
DanceAfrica 2023 Golden Ghana: Adinkra, Ananse, and Abusua will present several related programs to illuminate a country that became a continental trailblazer, being the first sub-Saharan African country along the path to freedom.

The DanceAfrica 2023 Performances
The nation’s largest African dance festival and BAM’s longest-running program will present live dance performances at the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, May 26—29. Under the artistic direction of Abdel R. Salaam, the headline dance program, Golden Ghana: Adinkra, Ananse, and Abusua, features traditional performances, including the “Memorial Tribute to the Ancestors and Elders” and one of Ghana’s best and most internationally known dance companies, The National Theater of Ghana’s National Dance Company (National Dance Company of Ghana).

After Ghana gained independence in 1957, the country’s first president, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, recognized the power of the arts, including dance, to unify the new nation. He believed the cultural emancipation of Ghana, and ultimately Africa, was linked to their traditional arts. With support from President Nkrumah, the National Dance Company of the National Theater of Ghana was formed in 1962 as an experiment between Ghana’s education and government systems to use dance to promote Ghanaian culture and national unity. The goal was to create a program to show the cultural wealth of Ghana’s many different regions. Now, it is a global ambassador for the Ghanaian culture.
The company will make its BAM debut and perform traditional Ghanaian dances and music, including the royal court dance kete and fontomfrom drumming, and collaborate with the DanceAfrica Spirit Walkers and BAM Restoration Dance Youth Ensemble on stage. Part of the production will take the form of a lively club scene, complete with Ghanaian and Nigerian
highlife performed by the 10-piece ensemble Arkestra Africa, featuring Afropop vocalist Amma Whatt, under the direction of K Osei Williams. The production team included Al Crawford (Lighting Designer), Jasiri Kafele (Set Designer), David Margolin Lawson (Sound Designer), and Wunmi Olaiya (Costume Design). In the company of N’Goma Woolbright (Stage Manager) and
Normadien Woolbright (Assistant Stage Manager).

The 2023 recipients of the Samuel H. Scripps BAM Scholarship for post-secondary education will be awarded on the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House stage on May 26. Inspired by the spirit of DanceAfrica, BAM Trustee Richard Feldman launched the Samuel H. Scripps BAM Scholarship Fund in 2008 in memory of former BAM Trustee and arts patron Samuel Scripps.
The scholarships exclusively benefit students who have participated in BAM’s arts education programs and plan to major or minor in an arts-related field.
The May 26 show will honor the sixth Chuck Davis Emerging Choreographer Fellow. Created to honor Baba Chuck Davis, founder of DanceAfrica, this unique fellowship offers dance practitioners the chance to travel to Africa and study dance in its cultural context.
Tickets are on sale now for the DanceAfrica Festival 2023 performances at For a full schedule of free and ticketed events, visit

DanceAfrica Festival Events
Created in 1977 under the guidance of Founding Elder Chuck Davis, DanceAfrica has evolved into a highly anticipated and high-spirited Memorial Day weekend tradition that brings together the entire community. The month-long celebration is centered around dance performances at the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House. It also includes several workshops, the popular outdoor DanceAfrica Bazaar with over 150 vendors selling crafts, food, and fashion, a visual art piece commissioned for DanceAfrica by Pan-African artist Cecilia Lamptey-Botchway, a film series curated by the New York African Film Festival at BAM Rose Cinemas, and a live-music dance party at BAMcafé.