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Asase Yaa African American Dance Theater Celebrates 17th Anniversary with Presentation of "An Ananse Tale"

Posted December 19, 2017

Dance Company Celebrates 17th Anniversary at the Peter

Norton Symphony Space on February 3, 2018 (NYC)

The Asase Yaa Cultural Arts Foundation  will celebrate the 17th anniversary of its signature branch, the Asase Yaa African American Dance Theater (AYAADT), with an innovative, revitalized dance production to premiere at Peter Norton Symphony Space on Saturday, February 3, 2017 (located at 2537 Broadway at 95th Street in Manhattan, New York). The full length performance, entitled An Ananse Tale, will be the highlight of the evening and will follow a closed reception for VIP guests and a special pre-show event billed as #AsaseYaaJourney, a festival-like experience for all ticketed guests that will take place in the foyer of the venue. General admission for the evening ranges from $30 to $50. Tickets are on sale now at the Peter Norton box office, at the Asase Yaa Center for the Arts, and online at www.symphonyspace.org. For general information or sponsorship inquiries, contact R. Inez Williams at --- or via email at rwilliams@asaseyaaent.org

 

This season's production is a narrative musical "An Ananse Tale" taken from a folktale from Ghana, West Africa. Asase Yaa will present this folktale through music, dance, song, and narration. Ghanaians used these stories for generations as metaphors for real life events as a way of teaching their culture, morals, and traditions. This is an explosive performance, showing the richness of African culture. Asase Yaa African-American Dance Theatre will show the beauty of the connection to God through animals. The story is about Ananse the spider trying to receive all of Nyame's (the sky God) stories. Ananse stories show how the smallest creature can overcome adversity with preparation, determination, and focus. In this show Asase Yaa represents classical African cultures that had very dynamic and diverse traditions that will be presented and enjoyed on this stage during this performance.

 

An Ananse Tale: The Background                                  

According to Yao Ababio, Founder and Artistic Director of AYAADT, the concept for An Ananse Tale originated over 10 years ago as a direct reflection of the company’s view of arts and culture.  “This concept came from AYAADT wanting to teach African culture through a method of storytelling used amongst the Akan of Ghana West Africa for centuries. These Ananse stories teach cultural and ethical values to the community at large. While telling our story we used a wide range of African dance and music styles from all over the Diaspora including Ghana, Guinea, Congo, Haiti, Cuba, Nigeria, Senegal, and African American art forms. We used these many cultures to show the connection of the many African cultures throughout the world.” 

 

 

K. Osei Williams, Founder and Executive Director of the company’s parent non-profit organization, explains further: “Ananse stories are now famous all over the world. This full length evening work was AYAADT’s first self-produced concert. Yao and I conceptualized this performance in 2006 and finished the full concept in 2008. The full concert was performed at Kumble Theater November 2008. Since then, we have toured this show throughout the country. It has been seen at Dance Africa Chicago, Dusable Museum, Arizona State University, Bucknell University, Thelma Hill Performing Arts, York College and Khemit fest”. 

 

This performance shows Ananse as a trickster, manipulator, and divisive figure. The community with the help of Nyame (Sky God) and Asase Yaa (Mother Earth) show Ananse these divisive antics could never gain him respect or power.

 

#AnAnanseTale- The Performance

Zakiya Harris is the artistic director for the Asase Yaa School of the Arts (AYSA) and explains that their youth component will be an integral part of the 17th anniversary show. “Over the years when the dance company does one of its public performances, it’s the adults that people are coming to see. But for our concert, we’re going to incorporate the children. And we’re not using the children as gimmicks. They are an integral part of the performance just like children are an integral part of our everyday lives.”

 

Ababio’s artistic vision is one that reflects African dance from all corners of the world during different period of global history. “We’re going to have elements of many expressions of African dance and music. We’re the heirs to the legacy of Asadata Dafora, Nana Yao Opare Dinizulu, Chief Bey, Olukuse Wiles, Baba Kwame Ishangi, Katherine Dunham, Pearl Primus, Nana Kimiti Dinizulu and can’t help incorporate their genius into our work.

 

More Program Highlights

“We have created spectacular evening for our guests layered with the richness of African arts and culture,” says R. Inez Williams, director of operations for the organization.  “We want our guests to feel uplifted and educated at the same time during the performance.”

 

In addition to the 17th Anniversary production, the parent non-profit organization has double billed the show as a fundraiser as well. Guests can support the organization by purchasing CD’s and tee-shirts which will be on sale that evening.

 

#AnanseTale At-A-Glance

Performance Date:                                       Saturday, February 3, 2018

Time:                                                              7:00pm (RT: 150 minutes 15 min intermission)

Venue:                                                                        Peter Norton Symphony Space

Venue Address:                                             2537 Broadway, New York, NY 10025

General Admission:                                     $30 - $50 in advance

Performers:                                                   Asase Yaa African American Dance Theater + Asase Yaa School of the Arts

Executive Producer:                                     K. Osei Williams

Event Sponsors:                                            TBD

 

 

The Asase Yaa African American Dance Theater (AYAADT) was founded in the summer of 2001. Artistic Director Yao Ababio created the esteemed company based on his love for African traditions and his extensive performing arts experience. Under his leadership, the company has distinguished itself in the dance and drum world for its dynamic and high energy performances as well as for its commitment to excellence and discipline. Where ever they perform, the Asase Yaa African American Dance Theater becomes the audience’s favorite African dance and drum company, a reputation that AYAADT works diligently to maintain.

 

Asase Yaa School of the Arts (AYSA) was founded in 2010 with the mission to provide quality dance and drum instruction to boys and girls students ages 3 to 18. Through intensive study and technical training in various dance forms that include tap, jazz, ballet, hip hop, modern, and African, students become well versed in their genre over the course of the 37 week program (which typically runs from October to June).

For more event information, call or send an email to info@asaseyaaent.org. Media inquiries are directed to Theresa O’Neal at theresa@globalspectrumgroup.com or 917-445-7495.
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