The 20th Anniversary celebration of Giwayen Mata, an award-winning, soul-stirring, all-sistah, dance, percussion, and vocal ensemble, will take place in Atlanta June 13 through 16 showcasing an array of experiences that embrace songs, rhythms, instruments, and dances celebrating the beauty and richness of African cultures.

DanceAfrica Atlanta, hosted by Giwayen Mata [which means Elephant Women] in collaboration with the Atlanta University Center Consortium, is a weekend of festival events that includes workshops, symposia, concerts, presentations, the African Marketplace, topped off with the Elephant Leaders Awards Gala honoring some of the masters of dance.

A children’s lecture-demonstration will be presented on Thursday, June 13, from 10:30 a.m. through noon, at Morehouse College’s King Chapel featuring Dr. Chuck Davis of the African American Dance Ensemble and Brother Assane Konte of KanKouran West African Dance Company.

The highlight of DanceAfrica Atlanta will be concerts at Morehouse’s King Chapel on Friday and Saturday evenings, June 14 & 15. Festivities open on Friday with a tribute to Baba Atu Murray, longstanding griot and drummer recognized both nationally and internationally.

The concert line-up offers the Chuck Davis African American Dance Ensemble, DC-based KanKouran West African Dance Company, Soweto Street Beat, Uhuru Dancers, Manga Dance Company, Giwayen Mata, and many others. A full day of dance and drum workshops will be held in Read Hall at Spelman College on Saturday, June 15. On Saturday night, following the concert, artists and guests will enjoy a “Midnight Class” taught by Dr. Davis; and party to the sounds of DJ Kemit at Dance 411 Studios on Moreland AVE.

The culminating events of DanceAfrica Atlanta will take place at the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel, on Sunday, June 16. The Africa Marketplace takes place from 10:00 a.m. through 6:00 p.m. with vendors providing goods and services.

A symposium featuring dance educators, historians, pioneering artistic directors, including lunch, is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. On Sunday evening, the Elephant Leaders Awards Gala offers a salute to several masters of dance and its culture. Entertainment for the evening includes a performance by the Nimbaya percussionist’s ensemble with all-female dancers from Guinea.

Ticket prices for the various events during DanceAfrica Atlanta range from $5.00 for the children’s lecture-demonstration program to $100 for the Sunday evening Awards Gala. For more details and information, and to purchase tickets online, visit the festival website

Admission to the Sunday Marketplace is free.

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