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Harlem Stage Announces 2018 Spring Season Bringing World Class Performing Artists of Color to Harlem

Harlem Stage, the legendary uptown venue that for over 30 years has promoted the creative legacy of Harlem and artists of color from around the corner and across the globe, is proud to present its Spring 2018 season of performances. The season is curated by Monique Martin, newly appointed Director of Programming for Harlem Stage and features artists as #Disrupters, who take creative risk. They reflect the times via a range of artistic genres, offering audiences the chance to experience legendary performers and rising stars.

From May 2-5, 2018, presented as part of its signature dance series E-Moves, which has offered exciting choreographers and dancers of color for almost two decades, Harlem Stage will present 4 nights of dance featuring 3 contemporary African choreographers. In addition to the 3 works, each night will feature a pop-up performance by up-and-coming young choreographers.


The emergence of artists from the continent of Africa who are first or second generation American or transnational is expanding the field of modern dance. Choreographers Lacina Coulibaly (Burkina Faso) Ousmane Wiles (Senegal) and Nora Chipaumire (Zimbabwe), have been commissioned by Harlem Stage to create new works or re-imagine existing pieces from their choreographic canons. The performances will wrestle with questions that push the boundaries of what it means to be African in America now.

Nora Chipaumire’s “Dark Swan” is performed by dancer Shamar Watt to Yo-Yo Ma’s “The Swan” from “Carnival of the Animals.” Inspired and dedicated to her late mother Francisca Saungweme, Chipaumire reimagines Michel Fokine‘s Russian masterpiece with a dark swan; a black heroine against a savannah landscape. The piece is a tribute to the black African woman, those who have been marched off their land into an uncertain future, but who refused to surrender. The piece serves as a reminder of how living work lives from one body to another, from one time to another and from one purpose to another.


Lacina Coulibaly’s “Sen Kɔrɔ la” or “The rite of Initiates” is an ode to Africa. In the Bamana language, spoken by the Bambara people in West Africa, “Sen Kɔrɔ la” means “under our feet,” a metaphor for the traditions and heritage that should have to propel Africa forward. The piece promotes the humanity and culture of Africa, compelling the audience to appreciate its great diversity and immense cultural wealth. “Sen Kɔrɔ la” is performed by LacinaCoulibaly and Ibrahim Zongo, and will feature music such as Pan-Africa Orchestra’s “Mmenson.”

Ousmane Wiles’ (Omari Mizrahi) “Sila Djiguba” or “A Path to Hope” is an amalgamation of West African, AfroBeat, House and Vogue styles. Featuring 8 dancers, the piece honors the dance circles or “ciphers” that bring people together during a time of celebration, whether it be a wedding in the villages of West Africa or a classic game of “Pass The Beat” at a vogue ball in New York City. Inspired by non-verbal exchanges, which occur when people from different walks of life engage within a cipher, Omari’s  “Sila Djiguba” showcases how traditional dance steps are reinterpreted through various dance styles and passed down to generations to come.

The pop-up performances expand the conversation to include the diasporic aesthetic of countries such as Haiti and Jamaica and the Congo. Dances are curated by Bessie Award winner Adesola Osakalumi (Original Broadway cast Fela! and Fela! The Concert; Choreography in School of Rock). The all-female choreographer lineup includes choreographers Nubian Néné, Tatiana Desardouin and others.

Néné’s company “A Lady in the House Dance Co” is inspired by women and delves into social issues through dance. Desardouin’s company “Passion Fruit Dance Company” will invite the audience to connect with the techniques, rhythms and essence of hip-hop and house dance.






Wednesday, May 2

7:30 PM

Thursday, May 3

7:30 PM

Friday, May 4

7:30 PM

Saturday, May 5

7:30 PM



150 Convent Avenue (at West 135th Street)

Tickets: $20


Box Office Location: Harlem Stage Gatehouse (150 Convent Avenue at West 135th Street, Manhattan).

Box Office Hours:  Regular box office hours are 10AM–3PM Monday through Friday, except on performance days when the box office remains open until one hour after the start of the performance.

By Phone: 212.281.9240 ext. 19


About the Author

New York Trend is a weekly news publication that focuses on issues and lifestyles of the African & Caribbean American communities throughout the New York metropolitan area and Nassau and Suffolk Counties of Long Island. It is a respected and well recognized news publication that has been in existence since 1989. Owner, Publisher and Executive Director, Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams has been at the helm of this award-winning publication since its inception. New York Trend continues to be the only black woman-owned, metropolitan newspaper in New York and Long island. New York Trend is the largest black-owned newspaper throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.

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