Dancing Home: (to) Houston is a part of a larger project entitled Dancing Home. Conceptualized by Dr. Lindsay Gary, Artistic and Executive Director of Dance Afrikana, this iteration of the project explores (d)ancestry from the African continent via the larger African Diaspora and ultimately to Houston, and the exchange between these three dynamic cultural ecosystems, with a goal of further developing the infrastructure of Black dance in the city. It includes the Black Dance in Houston Exhibit, an abbreviated exhibition of Gary’s larger project Black Dance in Texas under her role as Scholar-in-Residence with Rice CERCL and the African American History Research Center, Gregory Campus. It will also feature Gary’s Remembering Bamboula | Embodying Home exhibit and solo work along with performances from Dance Afrikana’s company and members of the Houston Black Dance Collective. Additional programming includes Kuumba in July, a dance workshop series celebrating African and Diasporic dance; Dance Afrikana, Dance Podcast Live; Dance Afrikana Youth Academy Intensive; and a curated experience with Houston Black Dance Collective.
Since its inception in 2016, Dance Afrikana’s mission has been to create a world where people of the African Diaspora are empowered and connected through the African dance tradition, and where dancers have the safe space and platform to grow artistically and culturally. Dance Afrikana offers unique programming as the only dance company in the city teaching and offering certain dances of the Diaspora. As such, it is a valuable commodity to the community of Houston and beyond.
Dance Afrikana presents two annual productions that highlight Afro/Black dance to educate the public on important aspects of diasporic culture through dance, including Kuumba: A Celebration of Afro Dance and the Juneteenth Celebration. Both of these productions explore important elements within the African diaspora (culturally and historically), as well as engage world class performers and artists to display the artistry of the diaspora.
As a partner of Houston Metropolitan Dance, Dance Afrikana offers weekly dance classes for adults and teens. Additionally, Dance Afrikana is home to the Houston Black Dance Collective (HBDC). The mission of HBDC is to support Houston-based dance organizations and individual dancers and choreographers that are a part of the African Diaspora, and to foster a space of collaboration amongst Houston’s black dance community.
Dance Afrikana is fiscally sponsored by Fresh Arts and has received numerous awards from the Houston Arts Alliance and Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs including the City’s Initiative Grant (2019), two Cares Act Grants (2020), and the Support for Organizations Grant (2021).
Looking for ways to support this project and Dance Afrikana?? Attend any residency event this July and consider donating to their fundraising campaign!
Dr. Lindsay Gary (PhD, MFA, MA, MPA) is a professor-scholar, conceptual diasporArtist, and Afrocentric entrepreneur whose mission is to educate, connect, and empower the African Diaspora. She graduated from the University of Houston with a BA in History and minors in Dance and Business Administration, and later obtained her Graduate Certificate in African American Studies. She also has an MA in History, an MPA in Public Policy, and an MFA in Dance, and recently obtained her PhD in Africology and African American Studies from Temple University. Gary is an adjunct professor of African American Studies at the University of Houston and of History at Houston Community College, in addition to being the Executive Director of The Re-Education Project (501c3), the Artistic and Executive Director of Dance Afrikana LLC, Co-Director of Ade Ile Properties (Nigeria), and the CEO of Isegun Enterprises LLC. She is the author of The New Red Book: A Guide to 50 of Houston’s Black Historical and Cultural Sites, and the director and creator of “Who Yo’ People?”, a documentary film that explores the African heritage of Louisiana.
Powered by Fresh Arts, the Space Taking Artist Residency is an opportunity for traditionally underrepresented local artists to experiment and “takeover” a public space in new and innovative ways. For 2023, three projects were provided a space for one month, marketing & project support, and a stipend to see their ideas.
The Space Taking Artist Residency is funded in part by a grant from Texas Commission on the Arts, the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance, Houston Endowment, and Brown Foundation. A special thank you to MECA – Multicultural Education & Counseling through the Arts – for supporting and creating space.