On Saturday, December 9, Flushing Town Hall presents Vado Diomande & Kotchegna Dance Company. The group’s powerful African rhythms, drumming, and dancing from the Ivory Coast will inspire and delight audience members of all ages.
The New York Times praises the drumming of the Kotchegna Dance Company as “nonstop, high-speed, feverishly intricate rhythms.” On December 9, Flushing Town Hall is bringing this dynamic and exhilarating dance and music group to Queens for a workshop and family performance.
Colorful clothing, exuberant song, vibrant dancing, and the exciting rhythms of djembe and doundoun drums will sweep the audience into a powerful experience of West African village life, with dancing, call-and-response, drum solos, and a finale with audience participation.
Master Dancer Vado Diomande was born into the stilt-dancing tradition of the Mahouka people in the northwest Ivory Coast. He learned the sacred dances of his people at an early age and was recruited by talent scouts to join the Ballet National de Cote D’Ivoire, where he was trained in the traditional dances of over 60 ethnic groups. After 15 years as a principal dancer in the Ballet, Vado established his own dance company, L’Ensemble Kokiegna d’Abidjan, and later re-established his company in New York in 1994 as the Kotchegna Dance Company. As a master dance teacher, he inspires his students to pursue both dancing and drumming in true African tradition.
Dancing is at the heart of Ivory Coast culture, expressing everything from the joys and grief of marriages, births, and deaths, to the shared communal life after long days of work. Dancing and drumming creates a beautiful web of community and caring. Mask dances add another layer of meaningful expression and connote protection, blessings, warnings, and ancestral messages.
Prior to the show, Vado Diomande will lead an all-ages dance workshop. Participants will follow Vado as he calls out the rhythm that accompanies each movement. Live drumming is introduced, and participants learn to hear the bass drum, which is the foundational rhythm, along with the lead djembe drum rhythms on top, which are “singing” and “talking” to the dancers. The workshop ends with participants invited to do “solo” steps – improvised movements – to show their appreciation to the drummers and the rhythms that have inspired the dance.
The interactive workshop starts at 1 PM, followed by a mesmerizing performance at 2:15 PM Tickets for the workshop are $7/$4 Children/FREE for members with tickets to 2:15 PM show. Tickets for the performance are $13/$10 Members/$8 Children/$6 Member Children.
For more information, please visit http://www.flushingtownhall.org.
Flushing Town Hall is accessible by car, bus, train and foot – located a short distance from the 7 train – at 137-35 Northern Blvd., in Flushing, Queens. Access for wheelchair users and individuals with limited mobility is available.
This season, Flushing Town Hall is opening its doors to teenagers – for FREE. Under the “Teen Access Program”, all 13- to 19-year- old boys and girls (whether a member or not) will be welcomed to attend any performance for free with student I.D. The program is designed to appeal to students and help foster a greater love in the arts and culture. College students can take advantage of $10 student tickets as well.