Stills from Sankofa Danzafro’s “The City of Others”
On Saturday, December 1, 2018, I had the privilege of attending a performance by the Afro-Colombian dance company, Sankofa Danzafro. The extremely talented individuals performed a piece in Duke Family Performance Hall entitled “The City of Others” and the hour-long experience was something truly entrancing. The dance took me through a myriad of emotions, starting with excitement-filled anticipation at its exposition to awed familiarity towards its conclusion. What remained constant for me throughout the show, however, was this recognition of myself in almost every scene.
The lively, communal atmosphere of the barbershop, the leaps into the air only to be dragged back down by the ankles, and the multiple attempts to climb the wall resonated with my mental in a way that left me speechless and uncomfortable. While I was sucked into the trance of rhythmic dance, I also found myself trying not to exoticize the group. I found myself wanting to congratulate them for bringing their culture to the stage, knowing it must’ve taken some modicum of courage and finesse. I was upset for feeling that way. It was my culture also on that stage and I wasn’t merely a spectator, I was an involuntary participant in the production. The realization sent chills up my spine, rejoicing in the shared community.
Promo for Sankofa Danzafro’s “The City of Others” at The Joyce Theatre in New York