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TICKETS! Dance Africa Fest 2019!

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Balance Dance Studios

4544 South Lamar Boulevard

Suite 300

Austin, TX 78745

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Refund Policy

No Refunds

Event description


Dance Africa Fest is a multi-day conference featuring internationally renowned artists in African diaspora dance workshops.

On Sept 28 -29, 2019, we are proud to present our signature festival for the FIFTH amazing year! Dance Africa Fest welcomes dance artists from all over the country and the world, for two-days of intensive workshops exploring African diaspora dance! Taught by premier artists, these high-energy workshops introduce participants to a unique blend of dance and dance traditions, with classes incorporating live drumming and music performed by some of the best musicians. Other highlights include special free dance workshops for youth and the community, and a vendor marketplace featuring artisan made goods and products. $20.00 per workshop, or priced as indicated. New this year are not one, but TWO DONATION-based workshops, especially for our youth and beginners. Come. Make some drum/dance/magic with us!

Dance facilitators represent an array of artists of the African/Black diaspora, generously sharing their expertise including:

SATURDAY, September 28, 2019

  • 9:00 am -10:30 am: Orisha dance - Alexis Zanety. With live drumming by percussionist Lázaro Martínez.

  • 10:45 am- 12:15 pm: Orisha dance - Alexis Zanety. With live drumming by percussionist Lázaro Martínez.

12:25 pm - 1:25 pm: Lunch break

  • 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm: Dance Culture of Ayiti (Haitian Vodou Dance) - Jean-Sebastien Duvilaire

  • 3:15 pm - 4:45 pm: DONATION- BASED. Malian dance (West Africa) for youth and beginners - Souleymane Solo Sana. With live drumming by percussionist Di Andree Dukes. REGISTRATION REQUIRED TO SAVE YOUR SPOT. *** Youth especially encouraged to attend. Ages 13 and younger must have parent or guardian on site.

  • 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm: Malian dance (intermediate to advanced dancers) - Souleymane Solo Sana. With live drumming by percussionist Di Andree Dukes.

SUNDAY, September 29, 2019

  • 9:00 am -10:30 am: Dance Culture of Ayiti (Haitian Vodou Dance) - Jean-Sebastien Duvilaire

  • 10:45 am- 12:15 pm: Afro Modern - Michelle N. Gibson. With live drumming by percussionist Lázaro Martínez. Fuses African diasporic modern dance techniques, recognizing the contribution that dances of the African diaspora have given in support of codified techniques.

12:25 pm - 1:25 pm: Lunch break

  • 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm: DONATION- BASED. Malian dance for youth and beginners - Souleymane Solo Sana. With live drumming by percussionist Di Andree Dukes.REGISTRATION REQUIRED TO SAVE YOUR SPOT. *** Youth especially encouraged to attend. Ages 13 and younger must have parent or guardian on site.

  • 3:15 pm - 4:45 pm: Malian dance (Intermediate to Advanced dancers) - Souleymane Solo Sana. With live drumming by percussionist Di Andree Dukes.

  • 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm: The New Orleans Original BuckShop (explores culture and African diasporic traditions of Black, New Orleans) - Michelle N. Gibson With live music.

* All workshops will incorporate live drumming or music performed by some of Austin's and the world's best musicians.

VENDOR MARKET: FREE ADMISSION. The Marketplace at Dance Africa Fest has a few openings for artists of the African diaspora to gather and showcase their talents and products. Register here.


1/ Souleymane Solo Sana | Mali, Africa.

Solo is an accomplished traditional dancer from Mali, West Africa. A former principal member for one of the premiere companies of Mali, Ballet Du District de Bamako, he is a leader among artists. Solo’s presence at local ceremonies and festivals in Mali has always been in high demand, performing with renown griots and musicians as well as internationally known artists such as Djeneba Seck and Oumou Sangare. With an extensive knowledge of traditional dances of the Mande culture, he is highly sought after as an instructor for private and group lessons, teaching students from around the world including internationally acclaimed dancers, university instructors, and Broadway performers. Currently Solo splits his time between teaching and performing in the United States and running Kono Gnaga, his NGO in Mali with a mission to preserve traditional dance and music. Solo made his choreographic premiere in New York City in the Spring of 2014 and has most recently embarked on the creation of Sira Koro, a dance and music ensemble in Mali, where Solo serves as Artistic Director and Choreographer with a mission to bring new perspective to traditions while simultaneously providing opportunities for young artists in Mali.

2/ Michelle N. Gibson | New Orleans, LA, USA.

Gibson’s signature workshop, "The New Orleans Original BuckShop" explores culture and African diasporic traditions of Black, New Orleans. Gibson teaches about the rich diasporic blood-lines of the Black, New Orleans community focusing on the rooted and embodied traditions clearly noticeable within what she defines as her Second Line Aesthetic. The New Orleans Original BuckShop works to honor the culture as a lived experience by creating a platform of the aesthetic and historical relevance becoming a part of the academic conversation as it relates to the African American vernacular, the culture, and social dance forms. Gibson’s “New Orleans Original BuckShop” illuminates the rooted and embodied traditions clearly noticeable within Second Line Movement and Brass Band Music.

Gibson has shared her dynamic talent around the world through performance, choreography and instruction. From neighborhood community centers to the concert stage, Michelle’s gifts have enriched audiences both young and old. As a contracted artist with the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs CAP Program, Michelle is committed to using her gift of dance to enhance the lives of seniors through movement therapy workshops in facilities throughout the Dallas Metroplex. She originated the curriculum for these workshops while a resident artist at Ashe Cultural Arts Center in New Orleans. Equally committed to training the next generation of dancers, Michelle is a celebrated faculty member of the American Dance Festival, a position she’s held for eight years.

3/ Jean-Sebastien Duvilaire | Abricots, Grand' Anse, Haiti.

Jean-Sebastien describes himself as dancer/choreographer/artist, young entrepreneur/activist. “Moving Africa through Haitian Vodou Dance" engages participants through songs, dance and dialogue, demonstrating the relationship between rhythm, dance, spirit, and philosophy. From the artist: "I am a contemporary Haitian artist who works through Vodou culture in Haiti and on the African continent. I will use the space of a dance workshop to invoke the aesthetics of Haitian Vodou as a way to share my perspective and philosophy on Negritude. I integrate Haitian perspectives and multiple African philosophies, cultivating a way to bridge diasporic culture and Africa for our contemporary world.

4/ Alexis Zanety, Cuba.

Alexis Zanety is a contemporary teacher and choreographer. Former first soloist for Cuba’s national Contemporary Dance Company. Alexis graduated in 1989 from Escuela Profesional de Instructores de Arte in Villa Clara, Cuba and began his artistic career right after. As a First soloist (1995-2002), he worked under the direction of Eduardo Rivero Walker, Narciso Medina, Lídice Nuñez, Jan Linkens amongst other choreographers. He toured extensively around the world visiting Holland, Italy, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Aruba and Martinique.

Alexis developed his own technique, Dibujo Circular de Movimento (Circular Drawing Movement), which draws from his training in Afro-Cuban, neoclassical, classical ballet, Caribbean rhythms, Son Cubano and Cuban Rumba. He was commissioned by Compañía Nacional de Danza de Cuba to choreograph Retorno (2015) and in 2016 by Centro Morelense de las Artes in Mexico to choreograph Sombras y Destinos en Imágenes en Desequilibrio.

WORKSHOP MUSICIANS (more to be announced!)

Di Andree Dukes: From the City of Baltimore to the villages of Mali, West Africa, Di Andree mesmerizes audiences with his knowledge of folklore and ability to perform traditional West African percussion. Beginning at a very young age Di Andree discovered his love for World Music under the direction of Salim and Jumoke Ajanku; two of Baltimore’s finest musicians. Fully immersed in the studies of West Africa, Di Andree dedicates himself to travel to Mali, West Africa once a year to study Music, Chant, Culture and language. His style is unique for it is crossed between two different yet similar worlds. It is a blend between the music from the heart of Africa and the raw style of Baltimore’s Djembe tradition which is rooted in the Black experience.

Di Andree has studied with a long list of well known artists such as Menes Yahudah, Namory Keita, Ernest Shaw, Mahiri Keita and many others. He has worked with the likes of Weedie Brahima, Amadou Kouyate, Fode Camara and more. Di Andree Dukes is a practitioner of Djembe, Khassonke Dundun, Bala, Guitar and Doundouns. Since 2010 he has worked Between Baltimore, MD and Washington, D.C. teaching African music in various schools. Currently Di Andree works full time at a Charter School teaching both Folklore and Music to the youth of NW Washington D.C. His mission is to bring his people together, heal them and himself spiritually, and to teach the underprivileged youth of Urban America that without a doubt they are African, they are beautiful and that they are essential.

Lázaro Martínez: Lázaro is a Cuban percussionist, singer, composer, producer, and teacher. He studied under Jose Luis Quintana “Changuito,” founder of the music group Los Van Van, and Rolando “El Niño Salgado,” lead percussionist with Afro-Cuban Allstars and the internationally known group The Buena Vista Social Club. At 15 years old, Mr. Martinez won one of his first international competitions two years in a row; Havana Drums: Fiesta del Tambor (20005, 2006.) He recorded and produced his first album at 22 years (Ko-Lash) and then became the percussionist and vocalist for Cuban group Los Jovenes Clásicos del Son for three years. He moved to Austin, Texas in 2016, where he became a percussionist and singer with the group Big Band Tejano, under the direction of Grammy Award winning musician Felipe Borrero. Mr. Martinez continued performing as a musician and accompanist for Lannaya Drum and Dance Ensemble, a nonprofit dedicated to educating audiences on the African diaspora.

In 2017, he relocated to Houston, Texas where he currently resides. He’s had the honor to accompany internationally known Cuban choreographer Alexis Zanety in his evolving work Dibujo Circular de Movimiento at the Houston Metropolitan Dance Center, the Houston Salsa Congress, and in several dance academies in Seattle, Washington. He was recently invited to perform at the Houston Latin Fest as a percussionist and vocalist. Mr. Martinez is currently an accompanist for Houston Ballet’s Education & Community Engagement outreach programs and for the Houston Ballet Academy as well as a performer and touring musician.

>> This project is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department.


Workshop attire?

Workshops are presented indoors, on a sprung dance floor. Most classes are taught barefoot, so there’s no need to worry about special shoes. Participants are encouraged to hydrate regularly. Wear comfortable clothing that doesn’t restrict movement and allows a full range of motion (i.e. lappas, sweatpants, shorts or sarongs.)

Are there any accessibility features?

The venue is wheelchair accessible. Dance Africa Fest is committed to compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. If you require special assistance for participation in our programs please contact us at Tonya@DanceAfricaFest.org.

Is childcare available during the workshops?

Unfortunately no. We look towards offering childcare during the workshops in the future.

Is there a minimum age requirement to enter the event?

There is no age limit to enter the festival.

Is there a cost for youth/children?

As available, workshops are free for youth 10 years old or younger (must have parent or guardian on site). *See schedule for details, and space availability.

What are my transportation/parking options for getting to and from the event?

Arriving by Bus: MetroRapid 803 DOMAIN and MetroBus 338 drop off near the venue, with a five to ten minute walk to BALANCE's BRAVO THEATRE. Go to Trip Planner online for your route specifics at https://www.capmetro.org/plan or call the GO Line - 512-474-1200.

Arriving by car from downtown Austin:

Take I-35 S
Then 3.15 miles
Merge onto US-290 W/TX-71 W via EXIT 230 toward Johnson City.
Then 2.90 miles
Take the exit toward TX-343/Lamar Blvd/West Gate Blvd.
Then 0.41 miles
Merge onto W Ben White Blvd.
Then 0.11 miles
W Ben White Blvd becomes TX-360/S Capital of Texas Hwy.
Then 0.03 miles
Turn left onto S Lamar Blvd.
Then 0.34 miles

4544 S Lamar Blvd, bldg 200, Austin, TX 78745-1500, 4544 S LAMAR BLVD, BLDG #300 is on the right. (Look for the Bravo Theater). There's free on-site parking in front of, and surrounding the building.

What can I bring into the event?

Bottled water in non-glass containers to keep you hydrated throughout the day.

How can I contact the organizer with any questions?

Email us at Tonya@DanceAfricaFest.org.

What's the refund policy?

Unfortunately there are no refunds with this event.

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Date and Time


Balance Dance Studios

4544 South Lamar Boulevard

Suite 300

Austin, TX 78745

View Map

Refund Policy

No Refunds

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