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Reaching Across the Globe to Africa and Asia: Kouakou’s Summer Dance Intensive

June 8, 2017

The Department of Theatre Arts & Dance hosts a two-week course taught by lecturer, dancer and director of Daara Dance Michel Kouakou. Global Body Dance Intensive (DNCE 3701, 2 credits) spans June 13-June 23, the first two weeks of the summer term. Afro fusion and the AFASAM Technique will be taught in the morning, and repertoire will be shown in the afternoon. This class provides a physical practice to build an advanced body, brain, and artistic spirit, conceptualizing weight behind each movement.

Winner of the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise - an award honoring foreign-born professionals in the arts and sciences who are living and working in the United States – Michel Kouakou was born in Cote d’Ivoire and has studied and worked all over the world. Daara Dance, the contemporary dance company he founded in 2003, fulfills and expresses this global vision, serving as the “artistic bridge” Mr. Kouakou wished to build between his native and adopted countries.

This course will focus most heavily on the AFASAM Technique. Derived from dance techniques in Africa, Asia, and America (and taking its name from the first two letters of each of those continents), AFASAM weaves West African dance, Butoh, and contemporary Western dance into something altogether new. West African dances are primarily known for their spiritual and percussive orientation; Butoh is a Japanese technique that deals with the energy in the inner part of the body and its conversation with the energy of other bodies; modern Western dance emphasizes the alignment of body and space. Combined, these techniques form the free, flowing, and dynamic movement of the AFASAM Technique. The course itself will feature live drumming by Guei Caph, a master drummer from West Africa.

This workshop introduces dancers to a singular language, emphasizing a unique way to anticipate the flow of their movement. University of Minnesota students should register for this intensive through the regular online registration system. Non-University students should follow the registration instructions for non-degree-seeking students to take part in the course.