'Creole Africaine' Music And Dance Showcased in Denison Concert
Posted: February 17, 2003
The Denison University Dance Department and Assistant Professor Zelma Badu-Younge, who is teaching world dance this year, will present "Creole Africaine: Celebrating the Many Cultures of Africa." The concert of African music and dance will be performed at 8 p.m. on Friday (Feb. 28) and Saturday (March 1) in Doane Dance Center. Ticket reservations may be made by calling (740) 587-6712. Prices are $5 general admission and $2 for students and seniors.
Badu-Younge will direct a cast of Denison students in the World Dance Repertory Ensemble (African), with special guest artists Paschal Younge and 16 musicians and dancers of the West Virginia University African Ensemble, founded and directed by Younge.
The concert will feature six traditional drum and dance works from Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, and Tanzania, as well as a contemporary piece choreographed by director Badu-Younge, and one percussion composition by Younge. The dances will be performed by a combination of Denison students and West Virginia University African Ensemble members. Janine Tiffe, a member of the dance and drum group Azaguno, will perform in three of the dances.
Four traditional pieces from Ghana will be performed, "Gahu," "Kpatsa," "Bamaaya," and "Fromtomfrom." Also featured will be "Isukuti" from Kenya, "Bata" from Nigeria, and "Malivata" from Tanzania. "Creole Africaine," a piece choreographed by Badu-Younge and performed by Denison students and Tiffe, has contemporary choreography with West African, South African, and North American (step dance) influences.
Badu-Younge earned a bachelor of fine arts degree in dance choreography from Concordia University, Montreal, a master of fine arts degree in dance ethnology from York University, Toronto, and her doctorate from McGill University, Montreal. The recipient of numerous awards, she was nominated for Outstanding Choreography in the Dora Mavor Moore Awards (the Canadian equivalent to Broadway's Tony awards) and was given a Laidlaw Foundation Award and a Canada Council Arts Grant "B" Award. She won a Chalmers Award for choreography in 1997 and a Canadian Year of Asia Pacific grant to collaborate with a classical Indian dancer. Presently, Badu-Younge also serves as an adjunct professor of dance at West Virginia University's Division of Theater and Dance teaching Western and World Dance Forms. In the fall she will teach full time at Ohio University.
In addition to conducting the African Ensemble at West Virginia University, Younge is director of its World Music Center, area coordinator of World Music and Percussion and coordinator of the annual International Summer Programs in World Music and Dance. He holds a professional music education diploma from the National Academy of Music, Ghana, and a special music education diploma, with distinction, in African music and dance from the University of Ghana. He also earned a master of music degree from West Virginia University. Younge specializes in African brass band music and is a clinician in sub-Saharan African music and dance.
The WVU African Ensemble started with only six dancers and 12 drummers in 1993 but now averages 70 members. The Ensemble boasts of a large repertoire of traditional dances from Ghana, Senegal, Guinea, Togo, Nigeria, Benin, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
Azaguno is an internationally-touring African Drum and Dance Ensemble co-founded by Younge and Badu-Younge in 2002. The group had its debut performance representing the United States in Seoul, South Korea, at the opening ceremony of the World Cup games. This year the group has plans to travel to Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong and Canada.
Denison University, founded in 1831, is an independent, residential liberal arts institution located in Granville, Ohio. A highly selective college enrolling 2,100 full-time undergraduate students from all 50 states and dozens of foreign countries, Denison is a place where innovative faculty and motivated students collaborate in rigorous scholarship, civic engagement and the cultivation of independent thinking.
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