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Take Part In A Journey to 'Little Africa' With Brooklyn Academy of Music

The nation’s largest African dance festival returns with a panoramic exploration of Cameroon’s rich heritage.

Take part in a celebration of the rich tapestry of African arts and culture, with the Brooklyn Academy of Music's (BAM) 2024 DanceAfrica festival on May 24 through May 27.

The festival's anchor performance, The Origin of Communities / A Calabash of Cultures, welcomes the illustrious Cameroonian dance company, Cie La Calebasse, founded by acclaimed choreographer and dancer, Merlin Nyakam, according to a news release. 

Cie la Calebasse is renowned for its captivating performances that blend traditional African dance with contemporary flair. The company will present an array of traditional Cameroonian dances and music, showcasing pieces such as Mangambeu, Ambas-Bay, Bikutsi, and Bend Skin.

This performance fosters a unique collaboration with the DanceAfrica Spirit Walkers and The Billie's Youth Arts Academy Dance Ensemble, enriched by the intricate sounds of the Women Of The Calabash, an ensemble known for their mesmerizing polyphonic sound created by playing calabashes of various sizes. Together, they showcase the diversity and creativity of Cameroon's musical and dance traditions.

The program is further distinguished by its homage to ancestral legacies through the memorial tribute to the ancestors and elders. A traditional libation ceremony on the steps of the Peter Jay Sharp Building precedes the Friday, May 24 performance.

Tickets start at $25 and are available for purchase at

The DanceAfrica Festival is BAM's longest-running program and the nation’s largest festival of African dance, ignites with a procession of community and cultural events across Brooklyn, engaging partnerships with key local institutions including The Billie Holiday Theatre (formerly Restoration Arts), Mark Morris Dance Center, Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservatory, Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA), and the African Film Festival in Manhattan. This borough-wide engagement encapsulates the soul of Brooklyn, fostering a vibrant mosaic of interaction and celebration among its diverse communities.

The festivities extend beyond performance to include the DanceAfrica Bazaar, a bustling outdoor marketplace that transforms BAM’s corner of Fort Greene into a nexus of African and diasporic creativity and commerce.

Integral to the festival are engaging dance classes that open the floor to enthusiasts of all ages, fostering a hands-on appreciation for African dance traditions. This year, in partnership with MoCADA, DanceAfrica presents a visual arts installation featuring a newly commissioned work by Cameroonian artist Salifou Lindou, and a podcast live-listening experience that centers Cameroon's journey to independence, adding a layer of contemporary African art to the festival's diverse offerings.

The cinematic companion FilmAfrica, curated by the African Film Festival, returns with a showcase of stories from across the continent, rounding out the celebration that extends beyond performance to embrace the full spectrum of African cultural expression and its diasporic connections.

This array of events transforms DanceAfrica into a vibrant celebration of African culture, fostering a space for learning, appreciation, and community engagement. For the complete DanceAfrica 2024 Festival line-up, to purchase tickets, and to register for free events visit