Upcoming show displays African heritage

When African, house and jazz music combine with dynamic choreography a “must-see” dance show emerges.

The production, “Rhythm Legacy”, presented by FAMU’s Orchesis Dance Theatre, explores various dance and musical styles with African origins.

“It explores the relationships between traditional dances and music of Africa and how that rhythm and dance and music transformed and evolved into African-American forms,” said Abdel Salaam, the show’s choreographer.

Salaam is also the founder of Forces of Nature, a New York-based dance company founded in 1981, which will perform Rhythm Legacy.

Rhythm Legacy has chosen Tallahassee as the first stop on its 17-city tour.

“We’re working hard to make sure we give Tallahassee our best,” Salaam said.

A supporter of the show is Orchesis director, Joan Burroughs.

“I wanted the students at FAMU to see this, to create another realm of involvement,” said Burroughs.

This realm includes being exposed to different types of art that portray the African-American experience. One example is a dance/music style called African-House.

Salaam said, this dance/music style was popular in the 1990’s club section in New York. It took house music and fused it with Cuban and West African and it developed into a genre.

Rhythm Legacy will also feature dances like, “Terrestrial Womb,” a West African-inspired piece that looks at the feminine character and the oceans, rivers, lakes and seas as being the womb of life on earth. The show will explore the diversity of sensuality in “Passion Fruit.”

“They will like the new look at our history as black Americans,” said Tara-Lynne Pixley, a philosophy student from Atlanta who is a member of Orchesis.

Salaam agreed the program will be beneficial.

“They can see connections between what is African and African American that they did not know,” said Salaam.

Tickets are available at the FAMU’s Athletics Ticket Booth, Crystal Connection, Allure Beauty Salon and Private Quarters Beauty Salons. Tickets are also available at the door. The show is free for FAMU students.