SOURCE: DuSable Museum of African American History

October 14, 2008 15:15 ET

DanceAfrica Chicago Is Back!

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - October 14, 2008) - After a 3-year break, it's BACK! DanceAfrica Chicago, presented by the DuSable Museum of African American History, makes its first main stage appearance with a West African Odyssey on Friday, October 31, 2008 at 8:00PM at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Millennium Park.

DanceAfrica Chicago began in 1991 as a week-long celebration including an African bazaar, a four-day series of lectures, demonstrations and community-based performances and three nights of performances presented by the Dance Center of Columbia College. Now in a new home, this explosive celebration of culture takes on a new form.

Acting as an extension of a permanent exhibition, "Africa Speaks," which explores the motherland region by region, DanceAfrica Chicago adds a live component to its historical exploration. Beginning with a special pavilion in July as part of the DuSable Museum of African American History's annual Arts and Crafts Festival and culminating in a main stage performance in late October, DanceAfrica Chicago gives both young and old a multi-month opportunity to touch and feel customs they may have only read about.

Under the artistic direction of DanceAfrica Founder, Chuck Davis, "DanceAfrica Chicago 2008 - A West African Odyssey" features Tatjj Drama 'N' Dance Ensemble, a Ghanaian dance company, in their first United States performance, Atlanta-based poetry and dance troupe Giwayen Mata, Chicago's own Andrea Kelly Dance Theater in its debut performance and spoken word performers POETREE Chicago adding their unique style to the dance. Patrons will also have the opportunity to shop with winners of the 34th Annual Arts and Crafts festival held in July of this year. Tickets for this two-hour performance range from $25 to $54 with an exclusive $125 VIP ticket which includes a pre theater reception. To purchase tickets, visit or call (312) 334-7777.

Students also have a special opportunity to see select groups from the evening performance. DuSable Museum is partnering with Urban Gateways to present a one-hour matinee on Friday, October 31 at 12:30PM. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Tarah Ortiz at (312) 922-0440 x2750.

DanceAfrica Chicago 2008's lead sponsor is Columbia College Chicago. Additional support is provided by The Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, "Time Out Chicago," North Shore Printers, Ramada Lake Shore Chicago, The Black United Fund, WVON 1690 AM and United Airlines, the official airline of the DuSable Museum of African American History. For more information about DanceAfrica Chicago 2008 visit or call (773) 947-0600.

More on DuSable Museum

The DuSable Museum of African American History, the oldest institutions of its kind in the country, has been dedicated to the collection, preservation, interpretation and dissemination of the history and culture of Africans and Americans of African descent for 46 years. For more information on the Museum and its programs, call (773) 947-0600 or visit

More on 2008 Featured Artists


DR. CHUCK DAVIS, the Founder and Artistic Director of the African Dance Ensemble, and the New York-based DanceAfrica, is a native North Carolinian. He attended Howard University and majored in Theater/Dance and continued his study in African dance under the guidance of Babatunde Olatunji, Eleo Pamore and the Bernice Johnson Dance Company and received an honorary doctorate from Medgar Evers College. He keeps a full schedule of appearances with Ensemble, guest artist directorships, choreographer assignments, research and travel to Africa and Brazil.


TATJJ DRAMA 'N' DANCE ENSEMBLE develops, educates, promotes and propagates the Ewe culture from the Volta Region of Ghana and the African culture as a whole worldwide. Tatjj Drama 'N' Dance Ensemble (pronounced Taj) seeks to bridge the gap between various cultures through the promotion and propagation of the rich Ewe and African culture internationally through education, training exchange programs and entertainment events worldwide. Tatjj Drama 'N' Dance Ensemble is based in Denu, Ghana.


GIWAYEN MATA, founded in 1993, celebrates the lives of women and uplifts our communities and our planet, while perpetuating the cultures of Africa and the African Diaspora through the study, creation, teaching and presentation of artistic media including dances, rhythms, songs, poetry and prose around the world. Giwayen Mata (pronounced ghee-wah-yen mah-tah) is a Hausa term that means "Elephant Women." It is a title given to women who are leaders of women's organizations. Giwayen Mata is based in Atlanta, Georgia.


ANDREA KELLY DANCE THEATER's choreography is a theatrical fusion of various dance forms including African, Modern, Jazz, Ballet, Hip-Hop and Belly Dance, creating innovative dance projects that are entertaining, inspiring, and heartfelt, for the urban youth who are unexposed to the world of possibilities created through the arts. AKDT is based in Chicago, Illinois.


POETREE (Peoples Organized Entertainment Teaching Righteous Education Everywhere) began in February 1999 as a collective of artists, actors, poets, emcees and singers faced with a cloud of negativity, exploitation, and redundant rhetoric plaguing each of their respective art forms. Members Phenom, Brother Mike, Isa Starr and Rhythm collectively strive to create positive music that entertains the mind and the soul. POETREE has performed both in the U.S. and abroad with noted artists Common, Mos Def, Sonia Sanchez, Talib Kweli, The Roots, Roy Ayers and others. POETREE is based in Chicago, Illinois.

Contact Information

  • For additional information contact:
    Mekeda Johnson-Brooks
    (773) 874-1927
    (773) 339-6001
    Email Contact