Dance has been an important part of ceremony, rituals, celebrations, and entertainment since before the earliest human civilizations. The origins of the dance are difficult to determine because it does not leave identifiable artifacts, such as stone tools or cave paintings.
Throughout civilizations, however, dance has been a means of social communication, celebration, ritual, healing and further methods of expression. Each culture developed their own dance styles, but with every migration and intercultural exchange, dances evolved and adapted to one another.
UNGANISHA highlights the interaction of cultures that created today’s dance styles influenced by African traditions. By demystifying the origins of each style, UNGANISHA hopes to create an inclusive space where participants are invited to feel connected to the story, either through their own cultural heritage or simply as active agents in the modern world.
To celebrate Black History Month in Calgary, UNGANISHA explores the historical circumstances around the origins of these styles closely tied to colonialism and slavery. This project purposely takes a more inclusive, multicultural position, focusing on the creative possibilities that emerge when different peoples, cultures and artistic traditions intermingle.