If you’ve never been to DanceAfrica, the 41-year-old annual celebration of African culture at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, well, it’s time to reconsider your New Yorker status. DanceAfrica is always a party—a joyful display of not just movement but film, music, and crafts—that also manages to tell important stories about racism, history, and social justice. This year’s marquee lineup, featuring South African multistyle supergroup Ingoma KwaZulu-Natal Dance Company and Siwela Sonke Dance Theatre, shines a spotlight on apartheid in South Africa and the similarities to current race relations in the United States through stunning, emotional choreography.
Even if you don’t make it to one of the performances, be sure to stroll through the weekend DanceAfrica Bazaar, a rain-or-shine outdoor food festival and fashion marketplace emphasizing African design, cuisine, and arts. Find something fly there to wear to the late-night dance party inside BAM’s Peter Jay Sharp building, hosted by global funk DJ Greg Caz on Saturday night, May 26.
Or bring the kids to the $12 daytime dance class, led by members of the dance company and designed just for families.
Finally, the diverse programming that makes up FilmAfrica includes nine full-length movies and two collections of shorts, all focused on the African continent. Among the highlights are three acclaimed but little-seen films from last year: Liyana, the not-for-children animated journey of a group of Swaziland orphans; the racially charged vérité body-swap drama High Fantasy; and A Gentle Magic, an indie documentary about the unfortunately popular phenomenon of skin bleaching.
Why You Should Go: There is something for everyone—and your NYC cred is on the line!
Through Monday, May 28