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Folk dance revolution hits Downtown • Brooklyn Paper

Folk dance revolution hits Downtown

Dance all night: The KowTeff African Dance Company will perform several traditional West African dances at the Kumble Theater on Saturday as part of the Brooklyn Arts Council’s Half the Sky festival.
Photo provided by Brooklyn Arts Council

So they think they can dance — and they’re right!

Dancers from Mali, Senegal, Brazil, Hawaii, Bangladesh, Poland, Ukraine, and India will strut their stuff on Saturday in “Folk Feet Females,” in Downtown Brooklyn’s Kumble Theater.

The show is part of the Brooklyn Arts Council’s jubilant three-month festival, Half the Sky, featuring women dancers, musicians, and actors performing traditional works from across the globe rarely seen outside native villages, let alone cosmopolitan Brooklyn audiences.

“Dance is a primary area of judgment on women — women’s movement is still generally curtailed in much of the world,” said Brooklyn Arts Council’s Kay Turner. “To provide a different point of view, we want to exemplify and emphasize women’s dance traditions that are important expressive arts within diverse communities in Brooklyn. Plus, the dances are in themselves beautiful to watch.”

Fans of dance should especially look forward to Caribbean-born Brooklynite choreographer Sewaa Codrington and her troupe, KowTeff African Dance, performing a West African courtship ritual — without any of the men.

Codrington explained that there’s a separation of the sexes in Senegalese culture, and women and men will dance simultaneously with each other, but not in pairs.

“When a chief or a king and his warriors come to a village in search of a wife, sometimes the men will dance and show their strength and other times when women will do in reaction,” she said.

She’s hoping to pick up a few moves from her colleagues at the festival too.

“It’s also very enlightening — you have a panorama of ethnic groups, able to compare, see the comparisons, similarities and differences and the wide variety and diversity of cultures that participate,” said Codrington. “It helps us to grow and appreciate the wealth and populations within Brooklyn.”

“Folk Feet Females” at the Kumble Theater for the Performing Arts at LIU Brooklyn [1 University Place between Flatbush Avenue Extension and Willoughby Avenue, Downtown Brooklyn (718) 625–0800]. May 12 7:30 pm. Adults $15, Students and seniors $12. Visit, www.brooklynartscouncil.org.

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