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October 11, 2014

Yerba Buena Night

A free festival of live music, dance, art, and performance under the stars.

Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014, 4-10 p.m.

Yerba Buena Night is a free outdoor arts festival in the heart of San Francisco’s most exciting district. Come out and see, hear, and experience the Yerba Buena district come alive with music, video, art, and dance. Enjoy over 40 performances on 5 stages throughout Jessie Square, Yerba Buena Lane, the Yerba Buena Center of the Arts, Annie Street Plaza, and surprises around every corner.

More info at ybnight.org.

November 1, 2014

Taiko for Tomorrow: A Benefit Concert for SF Taiko Dojo

Featuring Grandmaster Tanaka & the San Francisco Taiko Dojo, Shogo Yamada & Yamasho Kai, Sacramento Taiko Dan, Maikaze Daiko, Duniya Dance and Drum Company, Philip Gelb, Dance Brigade’s Grrrl Brigade, Rachel Ebora, Llano Shi and more!

Dance Mission Theater, SF
10/31 – 8 p.m., 11/1 – 8 p.m., 11/2 – 6 p.m.

Purchase tickets at http://taikofortomorrow.brownpapertickets.com/

April 10-11, 2015

Half and Halves

An exploration in dance of the little-known cultural and artistic legacies of Punjabi-Mexican communities founded in California in the early 20th century inspires the collaboration of Duniya Dance and Drum Company and Ensambles Ballet Folklórico de San Francisco in “Half and Halves: A Dance Exploration of the Punjabi-Mexican Communities of California.”

The production, featuring new original material, returns to San Francisco for two nights, April 10-11, 2015, at the Jewish Community Center’s Kanbar Hall. “Half and Halves” is presented in association with Arts & Ideas at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco.

In the early 20th century, men from Punjab, India arrived in California to work on farms. Discriminatory immigration laws prevented them from bringing their wives from India, so many married Mexican women. This exciting performance, featuring 25 dancers and live music, brings together vibrant Punjabi Bhangra and Mexican Folklorico dances to explore themes related to farming life, marriage, immigration, and racial and ethnic discrimination. Choreographers Joti Singh and Zenon Barron also explore dance in this performance that does not neatly fit into one genre or another, drawing inspiration from the complex cultural identities of these communities and the issues and challenges they faced.

This performance is made possible by the generosity of the Zellerbach Family Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Fleishhacker Foundation, and the San Francisco Grants for the Arts Hotel Tax Fund.

Yerba Buena Gardens Festival: FREE!

Join us for a FREE set on Saturday, May 14, at noon! We are thrilled to be part of the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival again this year — and on the day that the SFMOMA reopens, too! 

We will be performing Bollywood, Bhangra, and West African dance, including three new pieces. Bring your family, bring your lunch, and enjoy the day! 

Saturday, May 14 
12:00-1:15 p.m. 
Esplanade, Yerba Buena Gardens 
773 Mission St., SF 
More info 

DDDC presents: The Madness of the Elephant

April 5-6, 2013

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Duniya Dance and Drum Company, The African Advocacy Network and Arts and Ideas at the JCCSF present:

The Madness of the Elephant
A West African Dance performance exploring the reign of Guinea’s first president, Sekou Touré

Buy tickets here

Directed by Bongo Sidibe
Featuring: Alseny Soumah, Fadima Soumah, Marietou Camara, M’mah Toure, Mariama Bangoura, Joti Singh, Karamba Diabate, Mohammed Kouyate, Moise Bangoura, Jamil Diop, Ousseynou Kouyate, Kahlil Cummings, Kara Mack Cummings

Friday, April 5 and Saturday April 6, 2013, 8pm
Kanbar Hall at the Jewish Community Center, San Francisco
3200 California St., San Francisco, CA 94118
415.292.1200
Buy tickets here

Made possible by the generous funding of the Creative Work Fund, the San Francisco Arts Commision, and donors like you!


October 23rd Sunday 12-4pm African Arts Festival 2016 – FREE

Inspired by the diversity and vibrancy of the Bay Area’s African arts scene, Duniya Dance and Drum Company is presenting its second African Arts Festival!

Featuring performance by:
* Alayo Dance Company (Cuban/Modern)
* Chinyakare Ensemble (Zimbabwean)
* Fua Dia Congo (Congolese)
* Rara Tou Limen (Haitian)
* Shabbal Dance (Sudanese)
* The West African Dance Ensemble (Ghanaian)
* Duniya Dance and Drum Company (Guinean)
* Domou Africa (Senegalese)
* Students from the World Music and Dance department of the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts.
Plus dance lessons with a couple of the performing groups.

For more information, click here.

Why Dance

Here I am, finally writing a blog. It’s not the writing that has kept me from doing this sooner but rather the commitment. So here I will state to my blog: I will do my best not to neglect you, not to put everything and everybody else above you and to always be truthful and sincere.

Duniya has a new Marketing and Communications Intern. Welcome Nitya! Having an intern is some dope stuff. When I asked her what I should write about in my first blog entry, she wanted to know why dance is important to me. Why dance? Why the heck would anyone give up luxury,  money, fancy job titles, and above all laziness and give everything to dance? Why dance? My answer, in short: Danceformation.

Dance is transformation. I am in the lucky position to see this on a daily basis. Dance makes a sad kid happy, dance makes an insecure woman feel like the bomb, dance turns violent youth into peaceful dance-makers, it turns ignorance into cross-cultural understanding and appreciation, it makes a dull life suddenly interesting. Dance turns a party you were invited to into a party you stayed at until 3 a.m.

When we created “Half and Halves,” our performance about the Punjabi-Mexican communities of California, as dancers we transformed ourselves into: devastated Punjabi women whose husbands were leaving us to come to America; Mexican and Punjabi farmers laboring in the scorching sun; subdued yet joyous guests at a wedding party; and feisty schoolgirls battling in the playground. The theater  transformed from the Brava in San Francisco’s Mission District in 2010 to the Imperial Valley fields in 1906. Some audience members were so moved by the performance that they cried. Many approached me afterwards and told me they were so proud to learn of this history, or that they wanted their Punjabi parents and Mexican friends to see this important show. They were transformed.

On a personal level, I metamorphosized completely, from being insecure about my ability to pull off the show and unclear about my voice as a director and choreographer, to confident with not only my own capability but also my responsibility to do important work. I delved more deeply into compromise (which doesn’t always come easy for me) and collaboration. This experience made me more empathetic, more experimental, and more clear about direction in my career and in my life.

Dance can communicate the beauties and the cracks of the world I live in, and help create the ideal world that I hope to experience. Dance transforms everyone who touches it. So, Nitya, that’s why I dance.

CounterPULSE

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3 nights of Artist in Residence Joti Singh and Duniya Dance and Drum Company at CounterPULSE.

Balandougou Kan Connection

“Lanyee” (Peace and Unity) An exciting evening of West African music and dance, featuring a collaboration of artists from West Africa, the Bay Area and Los Angeles“Lanyee” (Peace and Unity) An exciting evening of West African music and dance, featuring a collaboration of artists from West Africa, the Bay Area and Los Angeles, including drummers Bongo Sidibe and Kahlil Cummings, balafon player Mohamed Kouyate, and kora player Karamo Sissoko.

In response to recent political unrest in Guinea, these artists present their visions for a peaceful outcome to current turmoil and their hopes for the unification of the population.

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Contact Us

Artistic Director Joti Singh 510.213.1537 joti@duniyadance.com