A few years ago, when I was in the island of Labadee, a small island close to the coast of Haiti, I had the opportunity to see an Afro-Haitian dance group perform. I remember that the dancers were all dressed in white clothes and that their energetic movements, along with the constant and contagious rhythm of the drums, captured my attention and imagination. To me, it felt like I was witnessing a trance-like performance.
If you would like to explore this type of dance, you have the opportunity to do it today for free. Tamboula, a professional Afro-Haitian dance company, is offering a free Afro-Haitian dance class today Tuesday April 5 from 6:30pm to 8:30pm At Visceral Dance Center (2820 N Elston Chicago). You will have the chance to explore various Afro-Haitian dances including Nago, Ibo, Yanvalu, and Mayi accompanied by live drumming.
Tamboula provides intercultural experiences for people throughout the United States and beyond. This company brings a new style to the dance world of Chicago. Founded in 2001 by artistic director, dancer, choreographer, Mr. Daniel Desir, the Chicago-based dance company has been celebrating the dance and culture of Haiti since its founding. Drawing largely from sacred traditions, Tamboula’s lively presentations unmask stereotypes while entertaining audiences and keeping the magic alive.
The company’s two main objectives are:
To preserve and promote Haiti’s dance heritage by creating and presenting professional choreographic works, built on Haitian, Afro-Haitian, and African traditions.
To establish cultural exchanges among all ethnic groups, by celebrating and educating them of Haiti’s rich culture and the influence of African culture to the Americas and the world.
You can see a promotional video of Tamboula here:
If you go, I would love to hear about your experience. Leave me a comment or send me some pictures or videos. Thanks!