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Update: Black Dance USA!



VOICES OF CONGO SQUARE:  Unveiling the Mysteries and Heritage of the Mardi Gras Indians” is a multi-faceted, mixed-media production narrating the rich history and tradition of Afro-New Orleans music and culture that includes a vibrant and brilliant narrative of New Orleans’ magical music, colorful dance and mysterious chants. It celebrates the treasured past of New Orleans sacred grounds, Congo Square, located in the heart of the historical Treme area of the city. Voices of Congo Square gives its audience the chance to experience and see firsthand the magic of the famed New Orleans second line jazz band, the mystical beauty of the Masking Black Indians and the truth behind the origination of a culture many are not aware of. “It’s important for us to present our truth,” said Naimah Zulu. “The production promises to enrich and build upon our legacy, allowing a peek at our story, our pride and our gift.”

The production chronologically presents the story of New Orleans diversity and kinship to North and West Africa and Haiti, illustrating its immense cultural heritage. Voices of Congo Square is set to inspiring music, song and dance that resonate with audiences around the world to showcase the journey of how many cultures came together eventually giving rise to New Orleans rich Carnival street traditions.

“Congo Square is the cradle of America,” said Chief Zulu. “Our diverse history has led to the birth of many forms of music crediting their early development to New Orleans – jazz, rock & roll and various others…” This historic and colorful work of art is choreographed by New Orleans own Michelle N. Gibson, educator, performing artist and curator of the Original Buckshop.

Opening for this production will be Better Family Life’s own “KYPE:  Kuumba Youth Performance Ensemble” which is comprised of youth and young adults ages of 6-25 who travel throughout the region as ambassadors of the artistic cultural heritage of Africa and the African Diaspora.

Under the creative direction of Vivian Watt. KYPE presents socially relevant and entertaining productions, exhibited through dance, drama, music, and poetry  The Ensemble is a component of Better Family Life’s Youth Department and is the performance branch of the Youth Passport to the Future Afterschool Program. They train throughout the week in the performance genres of dance, drama, poetry, vocal music and African drumming, while receiving homework assistance, hot nutritious meals, alcohol and drug prevention classes, computer lab experiences, sports, chess, leadership development and training leading to academic excellence and employment.

As a special tribute, Better Family Life will honor Ballerina Alicia Graf Mack with the Black Dance USA “Dance For Life Award.”

Help us celebrate BLACK DANCE-USA: A Celebration in Movement!