What is Dance Africa Fest?
Since 2014, Austin, Texas residents have grooved and moved during Dance Africa Fest. The festival offers artistic and educational activities that celebrate physical exploration of dances of the African/black Diaspora. With a growing international reputation and local community spirit, this festival has something to offer all generations.
Dance Africa Fest's annual programming features engaging music and dance workshops for all ages and experience levels (children under 10 must bring a guardian), an African marketplace, and a diverse evening performance featuring local, national, and international artistry. This is the first event of its kind and size in Austin.
The festival focuses on preserving the rich traditions found in African dance across the diaspora, and worldwide. At a time when Austin is one of the fastest growing cities in the United States, yet its black population is diminishing at an alarming rate, the preservation of the rich cultural and historical heritage of the black community is imperative.
- CLASSES -- several offerings, 2017 schedule to be announced soon! $20 per person/per class, free for children under 10 years old (must have parent or guardian on site). *FREE community dance class for beginners and children at 9AM.* See schedule for details.
AFRICAN MARKETPLACE -- 2017 schedule to be announced. Vendors selling handmade and unique wares. FREE ADMISSION.
EVENING PERFORMANCE -- 8pm. A showcase of local, national, and international talent. General admission $20 per person.
Dance Africa Fest was developed for Austin, TX in 2014 by Tonya Pennie. As a Texas nonprofit, contributions are tax deductible, where permissible by law.
What to expect
Schedule and venues for 2017's festival will be announced shortly. Please check back to this page periodically for updates, or email us here!
Dance Africa Fest workshops invite participants of all ages and skill levels-–whether they hold ancestral ties to Africa or not-–to connect with some of the most significant traditional dance forms originating from the continent. Expect community, intricate dance moves featuring fast and fun footwork, and the thunderous beat of live drumming -- live drumming provides the heartbeat of many of energetic, poly-rhythmic dances!
Last year's evening performance featured international choreographer Ismael Kouyate, Houston's own KoumanKe’le’ African Drum & Dance Ensemble, Lannaya Drum & Dance, t. negrescoe lyles/Tonya Lyles, Afro Caribbean Soul Collective, as well as a host of local performers.
2017's lineup will be officially announced soon. Stay tuned!!! This is a snippet of 2016's programming: Dance Africa Fest on Vimeo!
Workshops and performances are presented indoors. Workshop attendees are especially encouraged to hydrate (it's Texas and hot y'all), and wear comfortable clothing that doesn’t restrict movement and allows a full range of motion in the workshops (i.e. lappas, sweatpants, shorts or sarongs.) Dances highlighted will be taught barefoot, so there’s no need to worry about special shoes.