On Saturday, leading off the performances at Bloomington’s Black y Brown Festival at Switchyard Park were Baba Stafford & The African American Dance Company.
The dance company, which is an ensemble of Indiana University’s African American Arts Institute, will be celebrating a half century of performances in 2024.
Baba Stafford told the crowd at Switchyard Park that the dance company has been a part of the city of Bloomington’s Black y Brown Festival since the start.
The inaugural Black y Brown Festival was held at the Banneker Community Center in 2018. It’s described by the city as “a celebration and showcase of African, African-American, Hispanic, Latinx, and Native American creative arts and artists…”
Baba Stafford described the dance company like this: “We’re made up of community members. We’re made up of staff. We’re made up of folks who just want to come and share what we do.”
The company’s repertory includes “a little bit of everything,” he said, from the continent of Africa and throughout the diaspora. But there is a core element, he said: “At our base is our African culture, music, dances, chants, stories, aesthetics—handed down to me from my dance mothers and fathers. And handed down to them from their dance mothers and fathers. And then me, handing it down to folks that I teach every day.”
With that introduction, the dance company launched into the first number, which was a meditation on peace.
The dance company was followed with performances by: Teresa Reynolds and the Slicktones, Matixando, Reggae Union, Peyton Womock & Friends, and Ramon Jackson & Bridges. There are more photos below.
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