The African American Dance Company performed Oct. 20 at Switchyard Park to pay homage to traditional African dances, taking the audience through a series of dances from a variety of African cultures.
The title of this performance was “Shosholoza Train: A performance of embodied research.” This performance was not like a typical dance performance because research was a common theme within it. While the AADC opened up performances during First Thursdays earlier this month, this past performance was more in-depth.
Throughout the performance, AADC director Baba Stafford gave details on the dances before they were performed. The performance’s movement of dances from country to country was referred to as the Shosholoza Train, which is the name of a South African railway.
The Mande is a dance originating in Zimbabwe, which the AADC performed toward the beginning of its performance. From there, the train traveled to the Mali Empire where it performed the Lamban dance, then to South Africa to the tribe of the Zulus. This dance was titled “the gumboot dance” where it was performed in rubber boots to pay homage to the rubber shoes the Zulus wore.
Stafford said African people needed dance to help ease the horrors of the realities they faced. He also said these dances helped them move toward freedom.
AADC wrapped up its performance by traveling to Ghana to perform the celebration dance of the harvest. This modern-day dance is performed mainly in social settings.
During the AADC’s productions, the audience performs alongside them. The members of AADC brought some of the audience members on stage to join in dance with them, adding a greater level of community involvement.
The AADC makes the audience feel at home during performances. AADC is home to many people, alongside the entirety of the African American Arts Institute. The Dance Company is one of three ensembles within the African American Arts Institute with the other two ensembles being the African American Choral Ensemble and the IU Soul Revue.
IU senior and AADC member Chardae’ Craig said he has a home within the ensemble.
“My experience as a member is one of my top memorable moments of being at IUB,” Craig said. “The best part of being a member of AADC was the journey of becoming more confident in myself and gaining confidence in my movement.”
Craig said she joined the ensemble because she was looking for something to take her to another level of development in dancing.
IU sophomore Cicely Samuel said this is the second time she has attended an AADC performance.
“I loved the energy the performance gave off,” Samuel said. “It was an amazing performance, and I will consider trying out.”
AADC is open to everyone, and auditions will be held at the end of this semester. No routine is required for auditions.
All three ensembles perform throughout the year and come together for the Potpourri of the Arts, which will be at 3 p.m. Nov. 14 at the IU Auditorium.