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SANKOFA: The power of music and ance

Male performer in the SANKOFA performance (Photo Credit Christopher Lewis)

Throughout the year, Brockport has showcased many different forms of music and dance surrounding many different cultures. From April 25 to April 28, Brockport showcased the SANKOFA performance in the Hartwell dance theater.  

The SANKOFA African dance and drum ensemble was there to celebrate all things African. Artistic director Jenise Akilah Anthony oversaw the performance and sat down to talk about what makes this performance one to remember. 

“African dance is not just one style of dance, there are many different countries in Africa and because this event is so big, we had opportunity this year to feature many different countries like Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana and Guinea,” said Anthony.  “We want to give people an idea of the different countries that these dance forms come from as well as how similar and different they are from each other.” 

Because these art forms have distinct similarities and differences, Anthony wanted to showcase something that has never been done at any other SANKOFA performance. 

“This year we were privileged to have at least three male dancers in the company. That never happens. We normally have more female dancers and show the transition into adulthood from their perspective. However, because we have more male-influence we wanted to have dances centered around the male body, the male grooming and growing up, and how boys become men,” said Anthony. 

The last thing the show truly highlighted was the authenticity and the respect for the culture it was representing. Before the show, Anthony gave a speech concerning the influence and importance of the culture the performers were showcasing. 

“We collaborated with many different people across the campus to say where this started, why this is happening, and how to understand the performance in front of you. We like to keep the authenticity up to the audience to understand where we’re coming from and why we do the many things we do it,” said Anthony 

Although the show may be over for the semester, those who would like to see SANKOFA perform will have many opportunities to do so in the upcoming semesters. 

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