Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago returns to GSU
October 10, 2012 2:24PM
Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago is a colorful and energetic company that brings audiences out of their seats and into the aisles with its synthesis of dance, rhythm and song. | Marc Monaghan photo
MUNTU DANCE THEATRE OF CHICAGO’S REGENERATION
◆ 8 p.m. Oct. 12
◆ The Center for Performing Arts at Governors State University, off University Parkway east of Governors Highway, University Park
◆ Tickets, $15 for rear balcony; $30 for mid-balcony; $38 for main floor, mezzanine and front balcony; $45 for platinum and $52 for box seating
— Group tickets can be purchased by calling the box office at (708) 235-2222
— Multibuy and Megabuy packages are currently only available through the box office. Choose any three or four shows and receive the Multibuyer discount, or choose any five or more shows and receive the Megabuy discount. Package-holders receive ticket exchange privileges with 72-hour notice or more, priority seating and more.
◆ There also will be a 10 a.m. performance for school, community and senior groups, with tickets for $10.50 (front balcony, mid-balcony, rear balcony, mezzanine and main floor) and $11.50 (platinum)
Updated: November 13, 2012 6:12AM
Billed as the United States’ oldest company focused on preserving and presenting African and African-American dance, music and folklore, Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago will return to the Southland.
Regeneration, which officials called another dynamic and energetic concert, will feature a mix of traditional and contemporary African dance and music that should appeal to a range of audiences.
The performance will take place Oct. 12 at the Center for Performing Arts at Governors State University in University Park.
The show will feature traditional and contemporary works that are functional — served a purpose in African culture — and entertaining because of the flair that Muntu brings to its performances.
With this concert Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago will take attendees on a journey to West Africa with high-energy rhythm and dance pieces such as:
“ROFF”: This is a flashier and fierier version of the traditional djembe (drum), sabar, koutero and bougarabou performed in the Senegambia region of West Africa.
This piece is named after the combination of spices used to make ceebu jen, a spicy Senegalese fish and rice dish.
“Roff” has been nominated for a 2012 Black Theater Alliance Award in the best choreography in a production category.
“SINTE”: A traditional rhythm (drum) and dance composition from the Nalu people of Guinea in West Africa.
“Sinte” is performed in celebration of a child’s passage from boy or girl into adulthood.
“TRIBA”: A dance of welcome performed by the Baga people of Northwest Guinea.
“Triba” was presented to visitors when they arrived at the village.
Performing authentic and progressive interpretations, Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago was founded in 1972.
The company is known for bringing audiences out of their seats and into the aisles with its unique synthesis of dance, rhythm and song.
Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago is regarded for its innovative repertory, which preserve traditional African dance while creating new works that build on African, Caribbean and African-American cultural traditions.
The company recently performed for first lady Michelle Obama and representatives of NATO.
A bit of background
In the Bantu language, “muntu” means “the essence of humanity.” It’s what the company seeks to express in its work and to touch in its audiences.
“We carefully research the cultural and historical significance of the dances and the societies from which they originate,” officials said.
“As a result, Muntu is more than just a performing company. We are also a company of teachers: an essential element to the perpetuation of our art form and its accurate transmittal to our audiences.
“Muntu’s core programs include professional performances both at home and abroad; comprehensive community arts programs; classes for the public; and professional training for emerging new young artists.
“We understand that there is merit in all cultures. We seek to appreciate the differences in order to amplify the similarities.”
The mission of Muntu Dance Theatre is to preserve and perpetuate the African aesthetic and its influence on world cultures through the education and professional presentation of dance, music and folklore.
“Our goal is to share these important works with the broadest possible audience,” officials said.
Muntu’s core programs include professional performances both at home and abroad, comprehensive community arts programs, classes for the public, and professional training for emerging new young artists.
Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago, which is commemorating its 40th anniversary, focuses on four core values. Here’s a look at those values and what officials had to say about them.
“Our dance and art will always be an authentic and genuine representation of the cultural forms we present,” officials said.
“Our organizational and people management will be sound and responsible to ensure institutional credibility and viability and to maximize individual contribution,” officials said.
“Our relationships with audiences, communities, supporters and business partners will be forthright and of the highest integrity.”
“Our productions, performances, programs and services will be developed for the collective good of Muntu and the diverse communities we serve,” officials said.
“We will engage in continuous improvement and development to ensure that we provide the highest quality product for our communities and audiences.”