Brenau, community members showcase culture in two-day dance concert

Brenau students dance during a dance concert
(AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Brenau University will host two community dance concerts in May thanks to a $5,000 grant from the Georgia Council for the Arts.

The Vibrant Communities grant supports costuming, production needs, rehearsals and guest artist fees to make Under the Bao Bao Tree: A Celebration of Dance Culture a reality. The two-day concert will promote different cultures to Gainesville and Hall County’s diverse community.

“We are elated to present a concert dedicated to showcasing dances from around the world in our great diverse city of Gainesville,” Brenau Dance Department Chair Madia Cooper-Ashirifi said. “The concert will feature cultural dance groups, community members and members of the Brenau community performing dances and drumming from countries such as Ghana, Brazil, Mexico, Panama, and the Dominican Republic.”

The program also included bi-monthly workshops and activities for participants to learn different dances and songs, 12 drumming sessions and lessons with master Ghanaian drummer, Kofi Mawuko, two community-based demonstrations, and two facilitated lecture-demonstrations and conversations with the community.

The intention for the rehearsal and community demonstration activities is for all to engage in meaningful exchange by sharing cultural practices in the form of music and dance. 

“The process presents an opportunity for a cultural exchange where informative and historical dialogue will take place,” Brenau Grants Director Stefan Schulze said. “We envision that the project turns into a highly anticipated event that grows every year.”

The project culminates with the two-day concert featuring Brenau dance students, faculty, staff, members of the Boys & Girls’ Club of Lanier, students from various schools, and community members.

The concert is open to the public, with two performances scheduled at 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 11, and 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 12. Tickets are $5.