DFWC is without doubt the most inclusive dance event of the year, with teachers, dancers, performers, vendors, and social advocates all coming together for the collective good of Massachusetts’ communities and residents. José Mateo, founder and Artistic Director of José Matéo’s Ballet Theatre, located at the Old Baptist Church in Harvard Square, Cambridge, created ‘Dance for World Community’ dance festival in order to “harnesses the vastly underutilized power of dance to improve the social and environmental health of our communities locally and beyond.” (http://www.ballettheatre.org/outreach).
His vision for private, public and nonprofit sectors working synergistically, engaging and empowering youth, families, and entire communities, is evident throughout the very full eight hours of the event, which hosts:
Multi-genre dance performances on four stages (three outdoor, one indoor) from noon through 7:00 pm, assorted open dance classes from noon through 7:00 pm in three (indoor) studios, and a fully participated street dance party from 7:00 through 10:00 pm.
A total of seventy companies performed with professional elocution and passion for their respective genre, earning standing ovations, collective audience roars, foot stomping, whistles, and strobe-like flashes from photographers and videographers who were so captivated they just couldn’t stop clicking. Here is a small listing of companies:
- Agbekor Drum and Dance
- Hip Hop Mamas
- Iranian Dance Arts
- Jean Appolon Expressions
- JenLin Dance
- Jo-Mé Dance
- Johara and Snake Dance Company
- José Mateo Ballet Theatre
- Navarasa Dance Theater
- Neena Gulati & the Triveni Ensemble
- OrigiNation, Inc.
- Peanut Butter & Jelly Dance Company
- Salsa y Control Dance Company
- Sokolow Now! The Anna Sokolow Contemporary Dance Company
- SPUNK and Company
- Urbanity Dance
- Wilmington Dance Academy
- Xuchipilli Mexican Folkloric Ballet
- Zoe Dance Company
Twenty-seven classes were hosted for ages four years through all ages of adults, with Haitian, Belly Dance, Dance Fusion, Cuban Salsa, Brazilian Samba, Tap, Jazz, Funk, Hip Hop, Ballroom, Bachata, Merengue, Cha-Cha, Contemporary, Creative, Modern, Korean, Iranian, Chinese, Martial Arts, West African, Swing, Lindy Hop, Yoga, and Dance for People With Parkinson’s Disease genres taught with the same incredible energy and dedication as the performers! Many audience members spent time running from stage to stage and classroom to classroom with exhilaration because there was simply too much great energy between the groups and teachers to be missed.
Of my favorites for the day were: Agbekor Drum and Dance Society; Navarasa Dance Theatre, José Mateo’s Ballet Theatre; Jo-Mé Dance; Xuchipilli Mexican Folkloric Ballet, Hip Hop Mamas; Chu Ling Dance Academy; Jean Appolon Expressions; Iranian Dance Artists (IDA), Etnia Fusion by Nefertiti & Friends. Each had specific costuming, storyline, movement, stage space and line, and music that complemented the meanings and/or cultural significance of the dances performed. I love that there was live music for West African and Haitian performances, and the costuming for Xuchipilli Mexican Folkoric and Iranian Dance Artists pelted the standards for Boston Dance completely out of the ballpark.
As a dance educator, performer, marketer, and advocate, I can only pray that these festivals continue, not only in Boston, but across the nation, as if to honor it’s founders hope that it may bring people together “to work and celebrate for a better world.” (http://www.danceforworldcommunity.org) Maybe next year you can join us? Contact: José Mateo Ballet Theatre, 400 Harvard Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 (http://www.ballettheatre.org/contactus).