‘Africa Moves’ brings rhythm to Ace Morgan

By Kalyn Dunkins, Staff Writer

The Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (DCDC) traced the stage as the opening dancers in black, white, and red costumes stomped and clapped in upbeat rhythms, each of the performer’s bodies demonstrating energetic body movements. 

The Ace Morgan Theatre was a full house of excited, attentive audience members for the “Africa Moves” performance on April 24. The unique and eccentric African dance styles of the DCDC, along with performances by students of Denison’s dance department, captivated the audience throughout the evening.

The program consisted of three dance acts: “Wawa Aba” (choreographed by Assistant Professor of Dance Stafford Berry), “When Sunday Comes” (choreographed by Shonna Hickman, program director of DCDC), and “Children of the Passage.”

“I don’t find choreography difficult, I find it fun—challenging, but fun,” Berry said. “My favorite part of the performance was being able to watch the students perform with this professional company. It was a great experience for them to be able to do that.”

“Last semester we went to watch the premiere of ‘Wawa Aba,’ because we were part of Stafford’s cultural studies class, and it was required for us to watch the show,” said Tanvi Doshi ’17 from Calcutta, India. “The power, the raw energy, the message, and the vibes the piece gave me left me speechless. I could not even begin to understand how he choreographed something so beautiful.”

The second act featured Denison’s dancers in white dresses dancing to a slow, classical tune (Quartette Indigo’s “Come Sunday”). This was followed by contemporary dancing to a very melodic sound (Marian Anderson’s “A City Called Heaven”) and last but not least was a more upbeat movement to the Moses Hogan Choir’s “Elijah Rock.”

“It was an invaluable experience to be able to work with professionals and share a stage with them!” said dancer Oliver Deak ’17 from Cleveland, Ohio. “Not to mention, I learned so much just by talking to and spending time with the performers from DCDC backstage.”

“Sharing the space with professional dancers had a completely different energy,” added another dancer, Leah Edwards ’16 of Spokane, Wash. “We were all there for the same reason, and having such an intense connection like that was something I have never experienced before.”

The DCDC returned to the stage for the final dance act dressed in fancy 1800s-style clothing with a little extra funk for another upbeat performance. 

“My favorite part had to be seeing Denison dancers up there really doing their thing,” said Janyce Caraballo ’17 from Chicago, Ill. “It was also cool watching the professional dancers—they’re all a fun, nice, and energetic group of people.”

“It is such an amazing opportunity for these Denison dancers to be able to work with a very profound and excellent dance company. To be able to witness it is so wonderful,” said Joyce Lindsey ’14 from Chicago, Ill. “Africa Moves has always been a great event during the spring semester. It just needs to continue.”

Photo courtesy of Nelson Dow

Click here to see the full photo gallery for ‘Africa Moves’