Wednesday, July 18, 2018

New York New Year's African Dance Festival

by Afrika Abney (writer), , November 09, 2007


New York New Year's African Dance Festival will take place from Dec 29 - Jan 1, 2008 and is presented by TAZIA Inc.. " It is known to be the BIGGEST celebration in African dance history! "

New York New Year's African Dance Festival will include 18 African Dance Workshops (learn the latest moves from world renowned African dance instructors at the spacious New York City Center studios) and African Dance Concert.

For further information about the festival or register, visit or contact them at

About the Festival Participants

Our Festival participants are "considered consumers in the pan-African arts industry. These consumers are a mixture of individuals from diverse ethnic backgrounds, nationalities and geographic regions, who are uniquely tied together by their interest and love for
the culture and spirit that is cultivated by art forms having an African origin. As a prominent subset of this industry, the African dance community in North America consists of individuals of all ages from diverse national backgrounds who reside in the United States and Canada. Historically, African dance festivals/conferences in New York have attracted enthusiasts from all over the
country and a few Canadian provinces. Having already sponsored the launch of an overwhelmingly successful annual African dance festival in Boston, MA in the summer of 2007, enthusiasm for our current festival has been building for 4 months, with attendance expected to run in the thousands! "

About the Festival Artists

Some of the festival artists include Karen Love,Amina Heckstall,Sandella Malloy,Assane Konte,Marietou Camara, Pape N’Diaye,Mariama Basse, Babacar N’Diaye,Ismael Kouyate,Rich Baba Faye, Marie Basse-Wiles, Djeneba Sako, Tenenfig Dioubate, and Assane and Ousseynou Kouyate "The Twins". For further information about the festival artists or updated information regarding
the festival artists, visit

Karen Love - (Montclair, New Jersey)
Karen Love earned her Master of Fine Arts degree in Dance from the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU, and is an award-winning teacher and choreographer of African Dance. Karen Love is currently the director of the Dance Department at Hillside High School, NJ and the director of the After School Dance Program for Hillside Public Schools District. She is also the founder and
artistic director of Umoja Dance Company, which was founded in New Jersey in 1993, and is the host of Wofabe! New Jersey’s annual African Drum and Dance Festival.

Amina Heckstall - (Jamaica, New York)

Dancer, choreographer, and songwriter, Amina Heckstall has been a performing artist for most of her life. She has an amazing dedication to the teachings of the history of African dance, and she also celebrates the innovations that African-Americans have contributed to the dance through her Gang-Gang African-American dance classes. Amina Heckstall is the founder and director of
the 13-year old dance company, Ballet International Africans, which is based in Jamaica, NY. She also she teaches regular weekly children and adult dance classes in Queens, NY.

Sandella Malloy - (Charleston, South Carolina)
Sandella Malloy is a fenomenal choreographer and dancer who enjoys giving back to her community. In addition to teaching free children and adult dance classes in Harlem, she is the co-founder and artistic director of Harambee Dance Company, a non-profit organization originally founded in Charleston, South Carolina more 15 years ago. When her company relocated to Manhattan in
1996, Sandella Malloy maintained her vision of celebrating and expanding the traditional uses of the dance, through masterful and high energy choreography that weaves African-based movement, modern dance forms, live percussion, and vibrant costumes into
captivating performances.

Assane Konte - (Senegal)

A former dancer for Senegal’s Ballet Africaine de Diebel Guee, Assane Konte is one of America’s most celebrated dance artists.

Since his arrival in the US in 1978, he has set standards of excellence in African dance performance and instruction. Assane Konte currently serves on the faculty at Howard University and hosts the nation’s largest African dance conference through his 24-year-old non-profit, KanKouran West African Dance Company in Washington, DC.

Marietou Camara - (Guinea)

Marietou Camara is a former dancer for Les Merveilles d'Afrique, and the National Ballet of Guinea, Les Ballets Africains. She has an amazing style of dance that mesmerizes students and audiences everywhere. Her late husband, Papa Kemoko Sano once described her movements as "fexible", "natural", and "gazelle-like". In addition to traveling extensively as an instructor and guest
artist, Marietou Camara currently lives and teaches regular classes in the San Francisco Bay area.

Pape N’Diaye - (Senegal)

A multi-talented artist, Pape N’Diaye is a seasoned performer, instructor and choreographer in djembe, kutiro, sabar, modern and African contemporary dance forms. He has been a member of numerous acclaimed Senegalese traditional and contemporary dance companies, including the National Ballet of Senegal, Cinquihme Dimension, Ballet Sinomew, Forêt Sacrée, and Manhattan
Dance School. Pape N’Diaye is also a former lead dancer for Jant-Bi, where he choreographed pieces for the award-winning

FAGAALA, Jant-Bi’s most recently toured production. In the US, he has choreographed and performed with Kinodance
Company, Maimouna Keita School of African Dance, and the Harvard University Pan-African Dance and Music Ensemble, to name a few. Pape N’Diaye is the founder of the Ndaje Festival, Boston’s annual African dance and drum celebration, and he currently maintains regular weekly classes in Boston and in New York City.

Mariama Basse - (Senegal)

Mariama Basse is a former dancer for the Senegalese dance companies Gorée Mon Histoire, Forêt Sacrée, and the National Ballet of Senegal. A new favorite at dance conferences across the US, Mariama Basse brings a fresh, young and purely feminine flavor to her djembe, kutiro and sabar dance classes. She is presently the assistant choreographer for the Maimouna Keita School of
African Dance in New York City.

Babacar N’Diaye - (Senegal)

Babacar N’Diaye is a former lead dancer for the National Ballet of Senegal and Diamono African Ballet. With his dynamic energy, creativity, and powerful movements, he entertains crowds and inspires his dance students. Babacar N’Diaye is now the artistic director of Return to Gorée African Dance Company, and he teaches regular classes in Baltimore, MD.

Ismael Kouyate - (Guinea)

Born in Conakry, Guinea into a family of griots and musicians, Ismael Kouyaté is an extraordinary dancer, choreographer, and singer. He has toured internationally as a former principal dancer of Les Percussions de Guinea, and the national company, Les Ballets Africains. Ismael Kouyaté currently lives in New York and teaches regular djembe dance classes in Manhattan and

Rich Baba Faye - (Senegal)

Rich Baba Faye has a crisp and unique style of dance that is attributed to his deep family roots in Sabar music and dance. As a young boy he was a premier performer in Ballet Sing Sing Rhythms, and he has toured internationally with many world renowned
mbalax bands such as Youssou N’Dour, Fallou Dieng, Baaba Maal, Ismael Lo, Doudou N’Diaye Rose and Mbaye Gueye Faye.

Rich Baba Faye currently teaches and performs at festivals and conferences across the US, and has regular weekly classes in the San Francisco Bay area.

Marie Basse-Wiles - (Senegal)

Born in Dakar, Senegal, with family ties in Mali, Marie Basse-Wiles is known for her graceful moves and keen wisdom of the traditions of djembe, kutiro and sabar dances. In her career she has toured world-wide with renowned dance companies including Ballet National of Senegal and Koumpo Dance Company. In 1983, Marie Basse-Wiles founded the Maimouna Keita School of
African Dance, which hosts the largest and longest-running African dance conference in New York City.

Djeneba Sako - (Mali)

Djeneba Sako, from the Malian Troupe Baden'ya, is a graceful yet powerful master dancer with a unique style that has allowed her to capitalize on the US Malian dance scene as one of the most sought-after dance instructors at conferences and festivals across the nation. She currently holds regular classes in Colorado.

Tenenfig Dioubate - (Guinea)

As a griot and former principal dancer from Guinea’s Les Ballets Africains and Les Merveilles d’Afrique, and Senegal’s Ballet Silimbo D’Adeane, Tenenfig Dioubate is well versed in Guinean and Senegalese dance. In addition to traveling internationally for performances and workshops, she currently serves as the resident dance instructor for Camden, New Jersey’s Universal African
Dance and Drum Ensemble, one of the largest African dance ensembles in the country.

Assane and Ousseynou Kouyate "The Twins" - (Senegal)

Born in Mali to a griot family, Assane and Ousseynou Kouyate grew up in Dakar, Senegal and are former members of the National Ballet of Senegal. Affectionately called, "The Twins," these dynamic master dancers moved to the states in 1997 and currently teach regular classes in the San Francisco Bay area. Also singers, they perform regularly with their music band, Djialy Kunda

About the presenters, TAZIA Inc.

TAZIA Inc was "incorporated in February 2006 and is a for-profit pan-African arts marketing and entertainment firm dedicated to unifying the global pan-African arts industry, and providing consumers with authentic pan-African experiences." For further informatino about TAZIA Inc, visit or contact them at

About the Writer

Afrika Abney is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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