Dance Africa, Promoting Cultural Heritage through Dance

Apr 25, 2014

Chuck "Baba" Davis, artistic director and founding elder of Dance Africa, in one of his past performances in the nation's largest festival dedicated to African Dance.
Credit Legacy Arts Project / Facebook

Thirty-seven years ago choreographer Dr. Charles Davis founded Dance Africa in New York City. The festival of dance, based in African cultures has since become the largest celebration of African Dance in the country.

The festival is in Pittsburgh at the August Wilson Center for its third year, in collaboration with the Legacy Arts Project, where Pittsburgh residents can learn the artistic traditions of the African Diaspora.

Erin Perry, the Executive Director of the Legacy Arts Project brought Dr. Davis and Dance Africa to Pittsburgh to add to the proliferation of African heritage in Pittsburgh.

Dr. Davis said there are many different styles of dance exhibited during the celebration.

“We have traditions coming from the Caribbean, from Santiago in Cuba, we will have traditional Senegambian dance styles, we will have a blending of everything with Illstyle & Peace Productions; and all of this as we celebrate the fact that traditional dance as we are involved in, in this country, stemmed from the continent of Africa from every point on the African continent. Most of us have at least 25 different ethnic heritage running through our DNA.”

Davis adds that there are many more styles of African dance than a person would probably realize. 

“As many languages as there are, as many ethnic groups as there are, there are at least 100 dances for each one.”

The festival's dance performances will be at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture on Saturday with two shows, a youth matinee at 1 pm and an evening show at 8 pm.