Nanigo is the name of an Afro-Cuban rhythm brought to Cuba by enslaved Nigerians. In Nigeria, the rhythm was used for religious ceremonies for the Yoruba Orishas. In Cuba, the ceremonies extended to male secret societies. Characterized by a circle within a circle, Nanigo takes on a slightly different role in Umfundalai studio practice. In a dance class, participants use Nanigo as a ritual to acknowledge each other as members of a spiritual, cultural, and temporal dance community. Nanigo is a “coming together,” an opportunity for its members to atone, to enter the dancing ground with a collective understanding.
Much like the Nanigo observed in Umfundalai dance classes, Dancing Our Africa brings African dance practitioners together to deepen their knowledge of African dance. NAAADT calls this initiative to Nanigo to underscore the collective will required to offer quality African dance instruction in the U. S. More than a fusion of various movement vocabularies, Dancing Our Africa uses Umfundalai to herald a multi-faceted approach to teaching and learning the dances of African people. Join us as we use Umfundalai dances to commune with the ancestors through rhythm, movement, and song.
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