Flame of Waa, a benefit concert for stove projects in West Africa, featured 18 award-winning performers from Ghana. This 2011 performance in Dougherty Dance Theater showcased dancers and drummers from the Ghana Dance Ensemble, international touring companies, and professional performance groups. They also set a new piece on Dance Africa. Proceeds from the concert went to the Tomodachi Foundation, an organization established by Habib Iddrisu and Jessica Sprick, which aims to reduce deforestation and health concerns connected to open wood-burning cookstoves throughout West Africa. Dance Africa was honored to be part of such an important event.
Les Ballets Africains have visited the University twice, for a Master class in 1995 and in 2004 as part of their Jubilee tour, celebrating the company's 50 year history. The national ensemble of the Republic of Guinea, Les Ballets Africains is recognized as Africa's most accomplished touring company, thrilling audiences worldwide. The 50 Years Golden ‘Jubilee' performance featured 26 performers, traditional masks from the four principal cultural groups of Guinea, and a backdrop of a painted village scene, all of which made hosting the company in the Dougherty Dance Theatre a once in a lifetime experience.
Conjunto Folklorico Omo Oddara brought Cuban dance and drumming to the University in 2002 with classes, lecture/demonstrations, and a performance in Dougherty Dance Theatre. The group included many accomplished Cuban artists, such as founder Miguel Bernal Nodal, a master folkloric percussionist, singer, and dancer; Jesus Alfonso, the musical director of Grammy-nominated Cuban group Los Munequitos de Matanzas; and members of Afro-Cuba de Matanzas and Raices Profundas.
Chief Makungula, also known as Tione Mwera, came to the University in 2002. A Malawian musician and painter, the late Chief Makungula worked to preserve artistic traditions of Southern Africa. While in Eugene, he gave a lecture on democracy in southern Africa, and appeared in a performance with Dance Africa.
Zimbabwean Lucky Moyo spent a week in-residence in Eugene in 2004 sponsored by Kutsinhira Cultural Arts Center and, in part, by a grant from the Lane Arts Council. Moyo, who works around the world teaching and performing, uses music and art as a means for change, dialogue, healing and problem solving. While in Eugene, he set Muchongoyo Zingili on Dance Africa, taught workshops at Irving Elementary and The Village School, and performed with these and other groups in the Dougherty Dance Theatre.
In 2004 the ground-breaking percussion ensemble Amazones-The Women Master Drummers of Guinea visited the Department of Dance. They offered master classes in dance and drumming, bringing inspiration to UO students and community members alike. The company was formed only after founder Mamoudou Conde received permission from the Elders, the Griots, and the Guinean Director of Culture to train women percussionists on the Djembe and other traditional instruments. Before this, women were forbidden to touch these instruments. This example of art as a means for social change was as inspiring as the opportunity to take class from the company members.
Julien Babinga is a Master Congolese drummer, teacher, and the founder of Walla Percussions. Babinga has been to the University several times, often to teach dance and drumming classes. His visits have also included a workshop at Irving Elementary, the gift of an original dance work entitled ‘Rita's Birthday Dance,' and a performance with Dance Africa.
Vado Diomande, former artistic director from National Ivory Coast Ballet, and lead dancers Sogbety Diomande and Bi Lizie Tra taught master dance and drum workshops.
Titos Sampa, Congolese dancer, with drummers Massengo Constant and A. Mampouya visited the UO many times giving dance and drum workshops.
Alseny Soumah, member of Les Mervilles D'Afrique and Le Ballet du Guinea and Karamba Diabate, a Guinean Griot, have regularly taught drum and dance workshops.
Sekou Soumah, member of the Northwest Afrikan American Ballet gave a master class in dance.
Djibi Camara and Lansana Kouyate, from Guinea have visited and taught dance and drum classes many times.
Malian dancer Jeneba Sako and drummer Rusty Eklund taught a dance and drum workshop.
Thione Diop, a Griot from Senegal and Mupathe Diop taught master classes in dance and drum.
Fana Bangora, a soloist with Percussions de Guinee and Les Ballets Africains and the 2008 Guinea Ministry of Culture "Master Drummer" and Manimou Camara from Ballet Saamato and Merveille de Guinee taught master classes in drum and dance.