The DanceAfrica festival this year was absolutely fantastic as usual. I expect nothing less from the largest festival dedicated to African Dance and music, returning for its 42nd year. In case you don’t know, the festival takes place at BAM(Brooklyn Academy of Music). I arrived just in time to get to my seat to watch each performance, one more amazing than the next.
Rwanda Reborn: The Remix is the title of this year’s DanceAfrica performance. Under the leadership of artistic director Baba Abdel R. Salaam(pictured to the left, courtesy of BAM), this presentation acknowledges the 25th anniversary of the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. This production offers a moment to celebrate the path forward towards reconciliation and renewal of the devastating travesty(more than 1 million people killed within 100 days) that occurred 25 years ago in Rwanda.
Rwanda Reborn: The Remix was performed through traditional and contemporary dance, music, along with theater and spoken word. The program demonstrates a perfect example of linking classic and modern techniques together to convey a tribute to all the lives that have been affected by past tragic events in Rwandan history. I enjoyed every moment of this incredible theatrical arrangement.As the show comes to a close, I exit the theater quickly. My usual constitution is to walk down Lafayette Ave. through the heart of the festival. Making my way through the crowd recognizing the usual faces and vendors, I also see a lot of new faces, shopping, eating, vending and enjoying as well. All the vendors lining the street with beautiful and exotic merchandise for sale are such a welcome site. The smell of food fills the air with a delicious aroma rivaling the already well-known restaurants in the area.
This is what I love about this festival. In an area of disappearing culture due to forced gentrification constraints, it is great to see that this festival is still a staple in this community. It brings an experience that all Brooklyn natives in the community as well as newcomers have enjoyed and took part in for years.