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Howard University's Department of Theatre and Dance &

Djole Arts Association Presents...

The Nankama African Dance Conference
*February 9-10, 2019
Dr. Ofosuwa Abiola performing, 2002.

No sentiment can accentuate the significance and centrality of dance and performance in Africa and the African Diaspora better than the word "Nankama," (which means "born for it" in Mandinka).  

The Nankama African Dance Conference is a two-day engagement in Africana performance scholarship and African dance and drumming workshops.

February 9, 2019

A full day of scholarship

On the first day of the Nankama Conference, scholars from diverse disciplines and institutions, and independent  scholars,  will  present their scholarly research  on African and African Diaspora dance, and other representations of Africana performance.


Authors of exceptional papers/presentations will be invited to submit their completed manuscript to the peer reviewed digital journal published by digitalHoward, Evoke: A Historical,   Theoretical   and   Cultural Analysis of Africana Dance and  Theatre, for consideration. (*acceptance to the conference is not a guarantee of manuscript acceptance for the journal). Times and locations on campus are forthcoming.



February 10, 2019

8 dance workshops and 4 drum workshops for a total of 12 African dance and drum classes.

The second day of the Nankama Conference is packed with African dance and drum workshops and master classes. 

Featured Master Teachers:

Moustapha Bangoura - world renowned, over 30 years of performance and teaching experience, and former principle dancer of the illustrious Les Ballets Africains. Moustapha Bangoura will teach two master classes. For more information on Moustapha Bangoura, please visit his website:














Assane Konte - World renowned and Howard University's own, co-founder of the celebrated Kankouran West African Dance Company for over 35 years. For more information on Assane Konte, please visit his website:















All dance and drum workshops will occur on Howard University's main campus.  Dance workshops will be held in the historic Ira Aldridge Theatre and the Howard University dance studio in Childers Hall. Drum workshops will occur in smart-rooms located in Childers Hall. Workshop times TBA.


Dancing Identity


Identity has historically been an elusive phenomenon to define. It is both static and dynamic, and is constructed, deconstructed, preserved and appropriated, by individuals, groups, and nations. Elusiveness notwithstanding, Africana dance displays and defines identity in ways that words cannot. The conference theme, “Dancing Identity,” seeks to foster critical analysis and rigorous discourse regarding identity and the performance of dance in Africa and the African Diaspora. Papers that highlight the performance of African dance and/or dances with African foundations are welcome. Research on Africana dance in the media (film/video, internet and print), on stage, in ritualistic or ceremonial context, and in non-theatrical social settings are also encouraged. Paper topics can include but should not be limited to:

  • Underrepresented Portrayals of Africa in Screendance

  • African Dance in Diasporic Experience

  • Hip Hop, the Language of Africana Activism  

  • Krumping: Narratives of Protest

  • The Internet and Africana Dance, Curse or Blessing? 

  • Global Appropriation of Africana Dance

  • The Position of African Dance in the 21st Century

  • Code Switching and Africana Dance



*Africana dance is understood to be African dance and dance with African foundations in Africa, the Americas, and all other locations in the African Diaspora 


The deadline for abstracts has been extended to November 15, 2018. (Closed)


Submit abstracts via email to:

Please include, “Nankama Conference Abstract” in the subject line.


For more information:

Dr. Ofosuwa Abiola

Coordinator, Dance Program

Howard University Department of Theatre and Dance





Master dancer/teacher Moustapha Bangoura
Master dancer/teacher Moustapha Bangoura

Call For Papers (Closed)

Nanakama Logo Final (Gold) copy 2.png
Baba Assane Teaching
Baba Assane performing
**Conference is limited to adults & children 12 and above


Onsite registrations will be on a first come first served basis.

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