Hollywood dance instructor Nzingha Camara and well known hip hop choreographer Fatima Robinson will be featured at the first annual Pan African dance conference held at the Debbie Allen Dance Academy.
For complete schedule, visit www.nzinghacamara.com/schedule.html
Sunday December 19th
12:00pm - 12:30pm Warm-Up
12:30pm - 2:00pm Ayanna Contreras (Brazil)
2:00pm - 3:30pm Micheline (Haiti)
3:30pm - 5:00pm Mareme Faye (Senegal)
5:00pm - 6:30pm N’Deye Gueye (Senegal)
From Friday, December 17 through Sunday, December 19, 2004, Debbie Allen's Dance Academy will be the site of a series of intensive workshops, consisting of West African dance, history, philosophy and technique, as well as an African inspired hop-hop class.
Master dance instructors include Nzingha Camara, Fatima Robinson, Mareme Faye, NDege Ndeye, Mama Djitta and Awa Badji. Many of these women have been principal dancers with Le Ballet Du Senegal and Le Ballet Africains, the national ballets of Senegal and Guinea as well as appearing in films such as Amistad. This monumental event will bring Senegalese and Guinea dance instructors together for the first time in Los Angeles.
The conference will aim to dispel myths surrounding African dance, while exposing and preserving the beauty and grace of the West African dance culture to the international community. It will give a new heightened awareness and respect to the youth who are well versed, knowledgeable, and talented in hip hop dance movements. The conference will provide the appropriate historical background for Hip-hop, Caribbean, Tap, Jazz and Modern dance.
West African dance will be revered as an ancient classical dance form while the countries of West Africa will be acknowledged as the birthplace of modern day dance. The conference will bring forth a rich culture embodying complex movements and unique rhythms in an attempt to display the magnificence of African dance.
Dance brings people to their feet as does Nzingha Camara, dancer, educator, artist and choreographer whose illustrious career spans across the globe and covers three decades. Her spirit has inspired, motivated, and instilled a sense of grace and pride in individuals from the villages of West Africa to the far shores of the Caribbean over to Europe and, of course, the United States. Branded with the name of a magnificent African queen, Camara's sacred feet and poise live up to her legacy, having converted challenging dance moves into articulate expressions and fluid movements of art.
"Nzingha Camara is one of the most gifted and treasured artists in dance theatre today, I've had the privilege of sharing the stage with her in productions, which range from Motown's 30th Anniversary Special to our annual production of The Chocolate Nutcracker. Her unique background and education in dance makes her an invaluable find, a true resource for authenticity. I am pleased to say that Nzingha teaches her own class within The Debbie Allen Dance Academy (DADA). She has an amazing following and her artistry deserves to be supported by those who embrace the arts as a way to stimulate creativity and humanity and beyond her expertise, she is a kind patient and loving human being.". --Debbie Allen
Camara has graced the cover of Dance Teacher Magazine and has appeared in publications such as Dance Spirit, Fierce, Upscale and The Los Angeles Times.
"Having taught the tenets and history of West African dance for more than 20 years, Nzingha Camara has become one of the world's foremost instructors of the dance genre. Nzingha Camara is teaching more than just movement-she's passing on the ancient traditions of West Africa dance." --Dance Teacher Magazine
Well known students of Camara's include celebrities such as Maia Campbell, Phyllis Yvonne Stickney, Fatima Robinson, Debbie Allen, Wendy Raquel-Robinson, Jasmine Guy, Siedah Garrett, Jada Pinkett and Cree Summers.
"Nzingha is a great, energetic teacher. She educates you on the origin of the dance and what it means, which makes it feel really good; I infuse all of these different types of dance into my choreography." --Fatima Robinson
Fatima Robinson is best known as the woman behind dance moves from artists including The Backstreet Boys, Will Smith, Mary J. Blige and Aaliyah. Fatima will teach an intensive African inspired hip-hop class at the conference while demonstrating the marriage she has created in Hollywood between African and hip hop dance.
It is thanks to the work of Nzingha and Fatima that Hollywood has witnessed more African inspired moves in nationally directed music videos such as Wyclef and Canibus' "How Come," LSG's "My Body," Erykah Badu's "Next Lifetime," TLC's "Girl's Talk," Busta Rhymes' "Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See," Truth Hurt's "Addictive," Beyonce's "Crazy in Love," and even Destiny's Child's stage performances. Most recently Fatima incorporated African dance into a sequence within the nationally directed film Ali.
Camara has become a pioneer, forcing Hollywood to utilize genuine African dance moves within the choreography of their on-screen productions. She has performed, appeared, and choreographed movies and televisions shows such as Poetic Justice, The Color Purple, Roots II The Next Generation, King Kong, A Different World, Martin, etc. Her roster of music videos includes Quincy Jones and Siedah Garrett, Barry White, Earth Wind and Fire, and Lionel Ritchie. Additionally Camara co-choreographed and performed in the African dance segments of the 1983 American Music Awards, the 1984 Olympic Black Dance Festival, the 1990 Motown 30 Special and a handful of others.
After years of dedicated work in the community, Camara was nominated for the Lester Horton Distinguished Teacher Award in both 2000 and 2001. In 2003 she received the Soka Gakkai International USA Liberty Award and has obtained numerous other accolades for her contributions within the field of dance.
"Ms. Camara's classes are among the most exciting we have had during my six years at UCLA. She imparts a wide range of kinetic and cultural knowledge to her students and has a keen ability to match this knowledge with West African phrase material that is challenging and exciting. From student response, her classes were tremendously inspiring. Her communicative skills were great; easily transcending any divides between she and her students." --David Rousseve, Professor of Choreography, UCLA
UPN News sums up her significance best by saying, "A professional dancer and choreographer for many years, Camara's work has been recognized all over the world; it gives her special joy to bring the African world home to her students."
Debbie Allen has been a pioneer in the genres of African, Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Hip Hop and Modern dance. She is excited to be a part of the upcoming West African dance conference as she recognizes the need for dance originating throughout the African Diaspora and has been a fan of Camara's for years.
Information provided by:
Heliocentric Public Relations
7097 Alvern Street #304 Los Angeles, California 90045
Tel (310) 645-4246 Fax (310) 943-1416 E-mail Sasha Brookner at SashaB310@aol.com
PRE-REGISTER at www.nzinghacamara.com
Date: Sunday, December 19, 2004
Time: 12:00 PM - 6:30 PM
Debbie Allen Dance Academy
3631 Hayden Ave.
(cross street Rodeo)
Culver City, CA 90232
Cost: $15 each class; classes are $12 when you pre-register at www.nzinghacamara.com - $5 observation fee.
For complete schedule visit www.nzinghacamara.com/schedule.html
Sponsor(s): Dance Teacher Magazine and Dance Spirit Magazine. Information on non-JSCASC events are posted for informational purposes only and do not reflect opinions of or endorsements by African Studies Center personnel.