Bandan Koro African Drum and Dance Ensemble presents&nbsp;<i>Guinea Fare: Her Story, Her Ipseity</i>

Review: Guinea Fare: Her Story, Her Ipseity | Bandan Koro African Drum & Dance Ensemble | Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House

The Rhythm of Community

Bandan Koro African Drum and Dance Ensemble beautifully shares stories of African culture in AT&T Performing Arts Center's Elevator Project.

published Thursday, March 29, 2018

Photo: Courtesy Bandan Koro
Bandan Koro African Drum and Dance Ensemble presents Guinea Fare: Her Story, Her Ipseity


Dallas- Since 2014, the Elevator Project has carefully selected a handful of Dallas-based artists to represent the myriad of cultures, creative experiments, and avant-garde work happening within the community. For the 2017-2018 season, AT&T Performing Arts Center welcomed Bandan Koro African Drum and Dance Ensemble to participate in this event. Spoiler alert: Their show, Guinea Fare: Her Story, Her Ipseitydid not disappoint.

Held in Hamon Hall, the performance felt intimate from the start. The smaller space allowed an up-close view of the booming drums and encouraged audience participation. In darkness, six drummers entered the stage with steady beats that increased in intensity as they continued to play. Their costumes literally glowed in the dark—creating geometric patches of brightness on their clothes and fierce patterns on their headdresses. Anticipation continued to build as three dancers jumped onstage carrying more glowing instruments. Their forceful steps and sharp rhythms permeated through the black light and created mesmerizing optical illusions.

Photo: Courtesy Bandan Koro
Bandan Koro African Drum and Dance Ensemble presents Guinea Fare: Her Story, Her Ipseity

Fostering a sense of community from the beginning, the drummers walked across the front and invited audience members to try their own rhythms on the instruments. This jovial, playful demeanor followed the performers as they light-heartedly battled back and forth with charismatic beats.

Shifting into the central thread of the program, Aunt Sarah’s Plight served as the first of four solos set to Nina Simone’s “Four Women.” A woman in a white apron held her head in pain and screamed while she slowly stretched her limbs outward. Followed by a poem by Audra Lorde, the solo contrasted the high-energy flurry of movement from the first section and revealed a more intimate picture of struggle, resilience, and determination.

As the lights brightened, a group of children streamed to the center, clothed in peppy blues, greens, and yellows. Their ear-to-ear smiles and animated personalities illuminated the previously heavy tone and caused a surge of applause from the audience. The children cheered for their adult counterparts while they fanned their wrists and stomped fiercely.

Saffronia’s Sensuality returned to Simone’s song with another solo — vastly different from the first. As a woman in a shining, gray dress spun and circled to the ground, a sense of youth, innocence, and hope fell upon the stage. She carried a glittering mirror with her, constantly checking her reflection.

Once the musicians resumed their steady beats, five women emerged in a bold V-formation. The dancers exploded with energy — swirling their hips, accenting the isolations of their centers, and sharply bobbing their heads. Adding three male dancers to the stage only heightened the rooted, weight of their lower bodies and smooth, curved lines of their spines. Swaying in deep plies and flinging their arms sideways, the dancers appeared to rock the entire stage.

Post-intermission, the celebration continued as dancers infiltrated the audience by dancing through the aisles and reaching out to viewers. Now clothed in non-uniform outfits, their individual personalities bubbled to the surface amidst windmill arms and figure-eight hips. This led into the third section of Simone’s song featured a new solo. Sweet Thing’s Suite centered on the soloist’s circling hips and slow, sultry walks.

The last part of Simone’s music portrayed a woman stretching her arms, punching her fists, and reaching upward. She strutted towards the audience with intense focus before sitting in the corner as two other women coated her in glitter and fixed her hair. Breaking from her momentary pause, the soloist began to sing and called the rest of the dancers to the stage. In this final number, the movers carried drumsticks that acted as extensions of their of hands. Their grounded steps and quick turns were even more complicated by the addition of rhythms coming from their sticks. Climbing towards a climactic beat, the dancers merged together with the drummers as they brought the entire cast back for a final goodbye.

Highly entertaining, incredibly powerful, remarkably intense, Bandan Koro’s performance left audience members dancing out of the theater. Guinea Fare: Her Story, Her Ipseity was an innovative presentation of African culture, gender topics, and community. Thanks For Reading

View the Article Slideshow
Click or Swipe to close
The Rhythm of Community
Bandan Koro African Drum and Dance Ensemble beautifully shares stories of African culture in AT&T Performing Arts Center's Elevator Project.
by Emily Sese

Share this article on Facebook
Tweet this article
Share this article on Google+
Share this article via email
Click or Swipe to close
views on theater, dance, classical music, opera and comedy performances
news & notes
reports from the local performing arts scene
features & interviews
who and what are moving and shaking in the performing arts scene
season announcements
keep up with the arts groups' upcoming seasons
listen to interviews with people in the local performing arts scene
media reviews
reviews and stories on performing arts-related film, TV, recordings and books
arts organizations
learn more about the local producing and presenting arts groups
performance venues
learn more about the theaters and spaces where the arts happen
keep up with fabulous ticket giveaways and other promotions
connect to local arts crowdfunding campaigns
post or view auditions and performing arts-related classes, services, jobs and more
about us
info on TheaterJones, our staff, what we do and how to contact us
Click or Swipe to close
First Name:
Last Name:
Date of Birth:
ZIP Code:
Your Email Address:
Click or Swipe to close
Join TheaterJones Around the Web

Follow Us on Twitter

Subscribe to our Youtube Channel

Click or Swipe to close
Search the TheaterJones Archives
Use any or all of the options below to search through all of reviews, interviews, features and special sections. If you are looking for a an event, use the calendar section of this website. This search will not search through the calendar.
Article Title Search:

Description Search:
TheaterJones Contributor:

TheaterJones Section:

Showing on or after:      Showing on or before:  
Click or Swipe to close
We welcome your comments

I am discussing:  

Your Name:
Your Email Adress:

please enter the text below and then click or tap SUBMIT :