On Nov. 1, AMPD will be hosting a screening of the biographical documentary MABOUNGO: Being in the World. A discussion moderated by Collette ‘Coco’ Murray, a PhD student in dance, will follow the screening and feature the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award-winner and respected dance pioneer, Zab Maboungo, along withIsaac Akrong, Florent Nikiéma, and Pulga Muchochoma, all internationally renowned dance artists.
This event is a collaboration between the dance department and the Harriet Tubman Institute. Murray says that, “It is an intentional conversation to address the artistic experiences and discourses in Africanist dance practices and I am happy to be a part of this conversation with my colleagues.”
“We timely discuss about each of my colleagues’ experience being African-based artists navigating their craft under the tensions of what is contemporary dance.”
The Harriet Tubman Institute is a York organization dedicated to sharing the diverse experiences and cultures of Africans and members of the African diaspora, and exploring and appreciating what Blackness means in Canada.
“I held a 2020 Harriet Tubman talk about the climate of the Black dance creative and I would state that, in the past three years, we are still grappling with a dance hierarchy but African diasporic artists are taking up space, creating and presenting who they are. We need training centers for our practices and techniques,” explains Murray.
Pulga Muchochoma is a Mozambique-born choreographer and dancer based in Toronto, and founded Pulga Dance in 2015. Muchochoma adds that in the African culture and art world, mentorship needs to improve. “It’s very hard to find traditional art happening on a regular basis and, for that, we need more exposure and education,” he says.
“Decolonization starts within our own community. If we don’t know the history, then we can’t argue or educate,” continues Muchochoma.
While there is a lack of recent data, according to Yes I Dance, a survey from Canada Council in 2014, only two per cent of dancers participate and study traditional and contemporary African dance in Canada.
Murray adds, “I am fortunate to be a contributor of African diasporic dance scholarship from a Canadian perspective through my publications, panels and international conference talks. The erasure has been glaring and it is long overdue.”
To learn more about this event and to register for a free ticket, click here.