Julia Rodriguez graduated from the College of Charleston in 2002 where she majored in Anthropology and Latin American and Caribbean studies. She later pursued a…
Buen Aché Afro-Latino Dance Company
I am amazed to see that this article is suggesting that the dance scene in Charleston is going through a rough patch merely because the ballet scene has taken a hit when there is a thriving non-European style dance scene in Charleston, growing more and more vibrant each year.
This ethnic dance community includes numerous West African dance companies (most of which are not even listed in your poorly researched bottom link column), including Wona Womalan West African Drum and Dance Ensemble, Adande Dance Co, Wose of Charleston, RBM, Djole, and Nia Productions. There are several Latin dance companies (again not listed), including Estilo Seis and Oui Dance, as well as an Afro-Latino dance company (whose link is broken, by the way) called Buen Aché. Beyond these there are Belly dance companies, Indian dance groups, and even a new Brazilian Samba group starting.
Some of these dance companies are at the full fledged professional level. Wona Womalan West African dance and drum ensemble (www.wonawomalan.com) company has performed at numerous nationally acclaimed African dance congresses and brought world famous West African dance instructors to Charleston last September for a 3 day conference that featured these same master dancers.
Buen Aché Afro-Latino Dance Company (www.buenachedance.com) will perform this year at Atlanta's internationally known Hotlanta Salsa Congress and has been performing around the Southeast at festivals and conferences for over 5 years.
Various other companies are doing similarly ground breaking work. Almost all of them have websites as well (that should be listed in your links column).
In a city with a past that is fraught with the harrowing history of slavery, it is truly troubling to see that the City Paper can't do a better job of representing the true diversity of the dance scene in Charleston. It is certainly sad for all of us that the traditional European-based dance scene is struggling, but shame on all of us if we can't see the vibrance of the ethnic dance scene that is springing up around us.
Furthermore, when thinking about concerns about what funding is being misappropriated in the dance community (you were talking about number in the $20, 000 dollar range) it would behoove us to realize that almost none of the above mentioned groups receive funding from anywhere except their own pockets.
Why is it that CBT CEO Jill Bahr, the City of Charleston, the Office of Cultural Affairs in both North Charleston and Charleston, the Coastal Community Foundation, and outside consultants in the dance field who "hope that Charleston will be a role model community for dance" haven't thought to consider some of these groups as appropriate recipients of funds to support the dance scene in Charleston?
Jill Bahr stated in your article that she "envision(s) all dance organizations will be working together to present the best dance for all types of people in all areas of the Lowcountry".
Which organizations, exactly, does she mean?
Has a single one of the ethnic dance companies mentioned in the above comment been consulted about working together?
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