Your Cart UMS

A Celebration of Culture Through West African Dance

A Celebration of Culture Through West African Dance

The region of West Africa comprises 16 different countries, each with its own language, traditions, and customs. Africa’s many tribes developed unique dances, typically accompanied by vocal and percussive music that varied from tribe to tribe. These high-energy rhythmic dances were touchstones and ways to preserve ancestral heritage by enslaved Africans brought to the New World. Join UMS artist facilitator Heather Mitchell on a journey through music, rhythm, and movement as she teaches us a traditional dance called the ‘manjani.’ Get ready to move your body!

To learn more about West African dance and culture, explore the accompanying slides and worksheets.

About the Artist

Heather MitchellHeather Mitchell is an African Diasporic Dance performing artist in the Kalamazoo community for over 10 years. Her work also includes Choreography at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo College, and The Civic. She is a Teaching Artist with Education for the Arts, as well as a collaborator with Rootead Youth Enrichment Center, Women Empowering Women, Freedom Schools, Wellspring Cory Terry and Dancers, and the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra.

As a dance artist Heather has facilitated numerous workshops and classes that sought to connect people of various backgrounds, socioeconomic status, and abilities to the cultural knowledge, pure joy, and sense of community that African Diasporic dance brings. She believes that dance is the language of the spirit and is meant to be shared with her community!