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Unique African dance technique to be performed during Fall Arts Celebration

  • Photo of dancers

Posted on November 05, 2018

Grand Valley will celebrate the vibrant history of African dance during this year’s Fall Arts Celebration.

“Kariamu and Company: Traditions — A Celebration of African Dance” will take place November 12 at 7:30 p.m. in Louis Armstrong Theatre, located in the Thomas J. and Marcia J. Center for Performing Arts on the Allendale Campus. A carillon concert at the Cook Carillon Tower by Julianne Vanden Wyngaard, university carilloneur, will take place at 7:10 p.m. before the dance event.

Kariamu Welsh, also known as Mama Kariamu, is a Guggenheim award-winning dance scholar, choreographer, educator and founder of the Umfundalai dance technique.

For the past 40 years, Welsh has developed Umfundalai as a contemporary dance technique that showcases the essence of African-oriented movement while highlighting the cultural and aesthetic continuity found in the rhythm and artistic nature of African dance. As an “artivist,” Welsh said she feels it is her duty to tell the stories, myths, legends and histories of the marginalized, invisible, forgotten and oppressed.

“Our dance event will offer a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience African dance technique interpreted by a master choreographer who is also a dance historian with very strong ties to the diverse social, ethnic and folk customs that define the people and cultures of the African continent,” said Danny Phipps, chair of Grand Valley’s Music, Theatre, and Dance Department. “While we are fortunate to have numerous dance companies performing across the country that specialize in contemporary interpretations of African dance technique, Mama Kiramu's specific purpose is to present African dance from a clear and direct historical perspective.”

Welsh is currently a professor of dance in the Boyer College of Music and Dance at Temple University.

For more information about Fall Arts Celebration, visit gvsu.edu/fallarts. All Fall Arts Celebration events are free and open to the public.