What is Dance Africa Fest?
Developed in 2014, Dance Africa Fest is an annual event, offering Austin residents artistic and educational activities that celebrate and delve into physical exploration of dances and music 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 provides the opportunity to experience, explore and engage in music and movement of the African diaspora -- right here at home! Programming features engaging dance and music workshops, an African marketplace and diverse evening performance featuring local, national, and international artists.
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!
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. Children under 10 participating in workshops must bring a guardian. Expect community, intricate dance moves featuring fast and fun footwork, and the thunderous beat of live drumming to provide the heartbeat of energetic, poly-rhythmic movement!
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!!! Catch 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 (i.e. lappas, sweatpants, shorts or sarongs.) Dances highlighted will be taught barefoot, so there’s no need to worry about special shoes.