africaforthefuture

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West& Emancipation Day 2014 Guyana w/ Batoto Yetu

On Friday August 1, 2014, Batoto Yetu took the National Park Stage for Emancipation Day 2014 in Guyana. Guyana specifically highlighted Angola where our founder and Artistic Director Julio T Leitão is from. It was exactly 180 years ago August 1, 1834, 83,545 slaves (according to one source) were declared “free”. Emancipation day is widely celebrated in Caribbean countries following the Slavery Abolition Act 1833.  There is nothing like performing for a purpose. There were a few thousands of beautiful faces there celebrating this remarkable event.

Another reason why the performance was so special is because we had to represent for our guardian Angel Mrs. Lorraine Nelson while in her home country. Mrs. Nelson was B.Y late manager/ mother of the group. She truly was the backbone of the company and such a genuine spirit. We love you Mrs. Nelson and your spirit will continue to live on through us. We were able to reconnect with Mr. Nelson and his granddaughter who came to the big show. We came with a mission and gave it our all. Let’s just say I am a proud rehearsal director. This was for you Mrs. Nelson! 

As the headlining dance act of Emancipation day we had a few television interviews and facilitated a dance workshop at the ACDA Headquarters. The participants were great. They brought so much energy and that Guyanese flava. That experience teaching them is a memory that I will definitely hold dearly. At Emancipation Day performance we saw several of our students from the workshop before they competed representing their villages in the parade. I had to capture those moments. They all looked gorgeous with their spin on traditional African attire. Until next time, Guyana was beautiful and necessary to help me put things in perspective. We represented like true headliners for a day that essentially represents the tenacious spirit of our people and tradition of resistance, perseverance and overcoming. Until next time Africa4theFuture.

-J.West

Three nights, four shows with @fon_dance_theatre. It was such a pleasure sharing the stage with the dance fam for Paul Winter’s 35 Annual Winter Solstice Celebration. I’m forever inspired by you guys and work of Abdel R. Salaam. I hope you’re ready for Apollo on the 27th?! #FONDT #Dancelife #Maledancer #Postshow #StJohnsthedivine #StJohnsthedivinecathedral #Wintersolstice #Africandance #NYC #Africaforthefuture #JerijahWest (at Cathedral of St. John the Divine, NYC)