When Chuck Davis, artistic director of DanceAfrica, answered his phone, he was listening to music that was so loud that his voice was hardly audible.
“I’ve got to listen to music each morning,” he said.
A desire to start the day with song isn’t surprising considering that Davis is now in his 31st year of coordinating the DanceAfrica festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
“DanceAfrica 2008: Bridge to Cultural Rejuvenation and Enlightenment” returned to Fort Greene on May 18 with traditional and modern African dance, featuring everything from live performances, like Atlanta’s Giwayen Mata (pictured), which will perform in the Howard Gilman Opera House May 24–26, to dance classes, movies and a shopping bazaar.
“This year is built on the same premise as always, that is, to make the tradition born on the continent of Africa come alive, so we can foster understanding between people from other cultures,” said Davis. “We do that because there is an old saying, ‘To learn the people, you study the dance; and to learn the dance, you study the people.’”
Running through Memorial Day, DanceAfrica will feature artists from as close as Bedford-Stuyvesant and as far as Gambia.
“DanceAfrica 2008: Bridge to Cultural Rejuvenation and Enlightenment” runs through May 26 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (30 Lafayette Ave. at Ashland Place in Fort Greene). Tickets are $20-$45. For information, call (718) 636-4100 or visit www.bam.org.