By Alfred Tamakloe
(In Berlin – Germany)
An annual festival dedicated to the performance and promotion of neo-African choreographies by artists of African descent is underway in the German capital.
The five-day dance festival from 6th to 10th September, dubbed Kuyum Dance Festival, being hosted by the Theaterhaus Berlin Mitte, is featuring more than 20 artists from within and outside Germany. Artists of non-African descent who integrate neo-African dance practices into their work are also participating.
In his opening remarks, the Director of the festival, Felix Dompreh, a Ghanaian contemporary dance choreographer based in Berlin, noted that, “Neo-African dance, sees itself as a form of contemporary dance that draws on techniques, aesthetic principles and choreographic elements that can be found in the movement language of dancers of African descent and flow into their choreographies”.
The aim of the festival, he says, “is to offer these artists, a platform on which they can present their neo-African dance works to a broad audience, free from attributions and clichés”. “In addition, the festival provides a forum for the artists to network with each other, exchange ideas artistically and establish partnerships. The Kuyum dance platform can act as a catalyst for a new perception of African dance forms in the diaspora”.
The festival takes place on an open-air stage and in two barrier-free indoor theatre rooms. In addition to dance performances, workshops will also be offered, including an accessible one aimed at young people.
The festival is an inclusive one, promoting diversity, embracing the deaf and blind community to participate, both as artists and audience. The highlight of the festival is a conference on neo-African dance facilitated by Nora Amin, an Egyptian author, choreographer, and director based in Berlin.
Kuyum Dance Festival is supported by Hauptstadt Fonds under the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, Senate Administration for Culture and Social Cohesion. Cooperating partners include Berlin Mondiale, Tanz Fahig, Taz and Theatrehaus Berlin.
Pix – Thabo Thindi