our 2019 production event
UNGANISHA: Explore. Connect. Dance. is an annual dance theatre show that brings together dance genres with roots in the culturally diverse continent of Africa. This high-impact live performance is intended to significantly increase the public profile of diverse artists in Calgary's professional arts sector and to honour Black History Month in Calgary.
UNGANISHA provides Albertans an opportunity to celebrate Black History Month by recognizing the presence and ongoing cultural contributions of thriving African Canadian communities. UNGANISHA is a 90 minute, large-scale public performance that explores African diaspora throughout Western colonial expansion and its influence on several modes of popular modern dance.
This year’s showcase is focused on performances of five modern dance styles: Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Cuban, Hip Hop, Step Dancing, and Tap. Each unique dance style will have a play and multimedia companion elements that provide insight into the genesis of each style, taking audiences on a journey through the African cultural traditions that helped birth each style and how the modern iteration of each dance style came to be.
OUR DANCE GENRES
OUR PRODUCTION TEAM
Nelson Arsenault & Wunmi Idowu
Alexis Mora Blanco
HISTORY OF DANCE
Dance has been an important part of ceremony, rituals, celebrations, and entertainment since before the earliest human civilizations. The origins of the dance are difficult to determine because it does not leave identifiable artifacts, such as stone tools or cave paintings.
Throughout civilizations, however, dance has been a means of social communication, celebration, ritual, healing and further methods of expression. Each culture developed their own dance styles, but with every migration and intercultural exchange, dances evolved and adapted to one another.
UNGANISHA highlights the interaction of cultures that created today’s dance styles influenced by African traditions. By demystifying the origins of each style, UNGANISHA hopes to create an inclusive space where participants are invited to feel connected to the story, either through their own cultural heritage or simply as active agents in the modern world.
To celebrate Black History Month in Calgary, UNGANISHA explores the historical circumstances around the origins of these styles closely tied to colonialism and slavery. This project purposely takes a more inclusive, multicultural position, focusing on the creative possibilities that emerge when different peoples, cultures and artistic traditions intermingle.
The purpose of the FREE Cultural Fair is to provide an opportunity for the community to increase its awareness and understanding of the African and Caribbean communities in Calgary. Artists, Vendors, not-for-profit community associations, and Black History Month exhibits will be on site at our FREE Cultural Fair in the Studio of the venue from 3:30pm to 6:30pm. There will be art and products on sale.