A dancer on stage in Unganisha
Unganisha | Photo: Courtesy of Woezo Africa Music & Dance Theatre


Showcase celebrates the history and influence of African culture in modern dance

Amy Jo Espetveidt

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Exploring the African origin of popular dance genres, this dance theatre production is a not-to-be-missed highlight for Black History Month.

Unganisha brings together popular dance genres with roots on the diverse continent of Africa. Through movement and storytelling of an interstellar love story, an all-Calgary team of dancers, actors, and choreographers journey through Afro-Cuban, Afro-Caribbean, hip hop, step, and tap dance to celebrate their genesis, their contemporary popularity, and their ability to connect people across cultures and continents.

Unganisha is Swahili for ‘connect,’ and connection is the focus of this unique project,” says Wunmi Idowu, founder and director of Woezo Africa Music & Dance Theatre, in a statement. “Diversity and inclusion are essential to community building, but that integration is not possible without education. We have created this empowering production to educate audiences on the origins of the evolution of the popular dance genres we see today, with the presentation of an interstellar love story woven together with the lyrical thread of dance.”

The story follows Jiji as she works hard to be what her parents want her to be. Sent from her home in Nigeria to study at a university in Canada, she embarks on a journey of self discovery that challenges everything.

And, between performances, the public is invited to visit the free cultural fair in The Studio anytime from 3:30 to 6:30pm. The fair encourages community members to learn about other cultures and celebrate what makes us unique by recognizing the cultural traits that we share.

Swing by to find crafters, commercial vendors, not-for-profit community associations, artists, and exhibitors with Black History Month themed displays that provide historical background information.

Catch Unganisha at 2:00 or 7:00pm on February 22, 2020 at The Grand (608 1st St. SW).