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Honoring Black Women Space

Mar 1, 2019

On this page: Overview Performer Bios


Join us for a traditional processional and honoring of Black Women Space as we celebrate the return of Thrival Geographies (In My Mind I See A Line) to Chicago, a work made out of steel and hand-braided cord by Amanda Williams and Andres L. Hernandez in collaboration with Shani Crowe. This festive occasion is highlighted with special performances from Ayodele Drum & Dance and S.P.I.R.I.T.S. Masquerade and Drum Society.

Performer Bios

Shani Crowe is an interdisciplinary artist, who uses cultural coiffure, adornment, and beauty ritual, as a tool for healing and connection among people of African descent. She is most known for creating intricate cornrowed hairstyles, then capturing them as large photographic portraits. Shani received her BFA in film production from Howard University’s John H. Johnson School of Communications. Her work has been featured at the Museum of Contemporary African and Diasporan Art (MoCADA), in Brooklyn, NY, the Urban Institute of Contemporary Art, in Grand Rapids, MI, Columbia University, and Soho House Chicago.

In 2007, seven African dancers came together to learn the art of the drum to enhance and improve their dancing. The sisters were led by Tosha ‘Ayo’ Alston and the seed of Ayodele Drum & Dance was planted. Ayodele, a Yoruba word meaning “Joy in the home”, is now a diverse sister-circle of performing artists committed to studying and performing drum and dance as a healing element. We’ve grown from that circle of seven to over twenty Queens who use African drum and dance to educate and motivate young women and children. We believe the seeds of the future lie within our children, so we’ve begun cultivation with our “Rites of Passage” program. The curriculum encourages confidence and teaches life skills to all children, especially African-American youth, using African music, dance, history and art. In addition to self-producing an annual spring concert since 2010 to sell-out crowds each year, Ayodele Drum & Dance performs throughout the City of Chicago and the surrounding area frequently, at festivals, community events and private parties. Whether we are teaching children, healing the community with classes, producing sold out concerts, studying with female Samba Masters in Brazil, Master Djembe and Dununfolas of West Africa or spreading our healing energy through performances, Ayodele Drum & Dance remains an unending circle firmly rooted in joy.

S.P.I.R.I.T.S. Masquerade and Drum Society is a Chicago based, African arts and research organization whose mission is to bring to life authentic, ancient, and contemporary African masquerades, along with music, magic, and mysticism that surrounds the culture and traditions of masquerade societies in Africa and throughout the Diaspora.

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