Black Dance - USA:
A Celebration in Movement
MOUSTAPHA BANGOURA (West Afrikan)… Moustapha Bangoura hails from the West African nation of Guinea. He is a 22-year veteran of the largest and most celebrated dance company from the continent of Africa – Les Ballets Africains. The internationally acclaimed master dancer, drummer, and choreographer has traveled the globe bringing the colorful musical performance traditions of his homeland to audiences worldwide. Since 1997 Moustapha has been a traveling ambassador for Guinea–independently conducting music and dance residencies and master classes throughout Africa, Europe, Australia, and the United States. He is sponsored by the Republic of Guinea’s Ministry of Youth and Culture as an official art and cultural representative. Moustapha was the Associate Artistic Director for Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago from 2000 – 2005. He is the Artistic Director with Le Bagatae Dance and Drum Ensemble, and he is also choreographer for Legends of West Africa, both in his current home of Chicago, IL.
Since being a contestant in the top 25 on the first season of So You Think You Can Dance, Nick Gates has choreographed for and worked with artists and movie casts such as Step Up 3D, Cali Swag District, Rock Steady Crew, Black Eyed Peas, Nelly, Cirque du Soleil, Carlos Santana, Lululemon Athletica, and more. This self-taught professional break dancer, actor, and sculptor recently appeared in the viral music video: Teach Me How to Dougie. Nick also teaches numerous master classes for various dance conventions, such as Kids Artistic Review (KAR), and is a proud owner of the first all hip-hop dance studio in St. Louis - Hip Hop Foundation Fanatics (HHFF).
MICHELLE N. GIBSON (The Original Buckshop)… Michelle N. Gibson MFA (Master of Fine Arts), teaches and creates works that are firmly rooted in New Orleans culture. She has defined this idea as her own “Second Line Aesthetics,” involving improvised movement, brass music and the embrace of communal ritual. In an effort to preserve this cultural expression she teaches others about the rich Diasporic blood lines of the Black New Orleans community focusing on the rooted and embodied traditions clearly noticeable within Second Line Movement. She honors the culture as a lived experience by creating a platform containing creative expression and historical relevance. It is becoming a part of many academic conversations that pertain to cultural and social dance. The BuckShop is curated by New Orleans own choreographer, educator, and performing artist, Michelle N. Gibson.
KATI HERNANDEZ (Afro Cuban Dance)… dancing since the age of nine, Kati graduated from the Escuela Nacional de Las Artes (ENA) in Havana, Cuba. She is the co-founder of KimBamBula Productions which produced “Essence of Cuba”, a paramount reunion of Afro-Cuban masters in Los Angeles including members of the renowned group Los Muñequitos de Matanzas with California's finest Cuban folkloric masters. Kati recently created one of her dream projects, “Isupo Irawo”, an ensemble of Legendary Afro-Cuban masters from around the world. She has given workshops with master percussionist Francisco Aguabella and well-known folklorist and teacher Lazaro Galarraga. As a resident of Santa Monica, CA. Kati continues to perform, choreograph, and teach Afro-Cuban folklore, Afro-Cuban jazz, modern dance, and other Cuban dance styles. Currently, eager to spread the roots of Cuban Salsa in L.A and nationwide, she is now the co-founder of Afro-Timba, a dance fitness program that she is currently touring Nationwide.
DANNY “DIALLO” HINDS (Afrikan Caribbean)... is a multi-talented artist: choreographer, dancer, percussionist, music arranger, visual artist, and arts educator. Born in Barbados, Diallo has over 37 years of experience in the arts, having taught and performed in Barbados, the Caribbean Region, throughout the United States and West Afrika. His dance career began with the Yoruba Foundation in 1975, moving on to the Barbados Dance Theatre in 1978 under the direction of Modern Dance Professor, Rachild Springer where he studied ballet, modern, jazz, and folk. While studying in Haiti, Diallo received a scholarship to study with the late Katherine Dunham at the Southern Illinois University in East St Louis, Illinois. He later represented Africa as a performer with the Cossan African Dance Company at the official opening of the Epcot Center in Walt Disney Florida, 1982. Diallo has been the Founding Artistic Director of SEITU Production Performing Arts Company, Sankofa Productions Arts Agency and Performing Arts Company, and the Sundance Production Arts Institute and Multiple Performing Arts Company.
OLABAMIDELE (‘DELE) HUSBANDS ( Kemetic Yoga)… is the Chief Executive Officer and Director of Education for the Forces of Nature Dance Theater Company, which she co-founded in 1981 in partnership with Executive Artistic Director/ Choreographer, Abdel Salaam. Performed with Weusi Kuumba African Dance Ensemble, the African Heritage Dancers and Drummers, Chuck Davis Dance Company, the University of Calabar Dancers of Nigeria and The Forces of Nature. First recipient of the Harlem Dance Legends Award in Arts in Education; featured in the national tour of Community Works “Living Legends” photo exhibit ; conducts master classes and workshops in West African and African American dance, history and culture both nationally and internationally. Dele is a certified Vinyasa Yoga Instructor and founder of “Kemetic Flow Dance and Sacred Movement Arts” which is based in the history and language of Ancient Egypt (Kemet).
AMANIYEA PAYNE (Traditional West Afrikan)…is the Artistic Director of the Muntu Dance Theatre. She is recognized for her many talents as dancer, director, producer, choreographer, educator, designer and humanitarian. Her style of dance evolves from natural rhythmic movements based and informed by dances & cultures of the African Diasporas. Amanyiea has studied, performed and toured globally with prominent companies and well known music and dance legends such as Steveland “Stevie” Wonder, Cab Calloway, Ben Harper; Lindy-hop innovators Norma Miller and Momma Lou Parks, Bunny Wailers, and Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago (just to name a few). Amaniyea has collaborated with and choreographed for international artist and arts organizations throughout the Diasporas, focusing on finding new ways to translate dance for the stage while also preserving & respecting traditional parameters for performance. Known as a “National Treasure”, Ms. Payne is the recipient of many awards.
Clifton Robinson is a performing artist specializing in African and Caribbean percussion spanning over 40 years.
Clifton was introduced to folklore music as a youth in the AME Church in Jamaica before joining Fred baker’s Western Folk Theater in 1970. After moving to America, he was approached by Muntu Dance Theater’s artistic director, Abdoulaye Camara. Clifton joined Muntu becoming a captain and later in 1991 he became a musical director, where he has held the position for over 25 years.
Throughout his career as a percussionist he has toured and travelled over the globe to perform and research the many hand drums of the African Diaspora. As a student, he has acquired the knowledge of 7 schools of African drums: Jamaican revival, Kumina, Conga, Nyabinghi, Djembe, Kutiro, and Bata. Today, he uses his talents and experience to teach, perform, and inspire others with the music of the African culture.