Archive for the ‘Cross-cultural exchange’ Category

Part of the Shifting Centers experience is focused on contemporary African dance; yet, in conjunction with this objective, the project is also focused on issues of accessibility, technology, and overall resources available to choreographers and artists in Senegal, Mali, Kenya, and Morocco. Here is a short clip that addresses some of the cultural context we have experienced in Dakar, Senegal.

Photography and post by Kristen Jeppsen Groves


Dakar, Senegal:

Video from Ateliers Aex Corps in Dakar, Senegal. This video highlights interviews with choreographers and workshop director Andreya Ouamba in addition to footage with dancer participants in the workshop. This is the fourth edition of Ateliers Aex Corps.

Coming soon is a video of dancers interviews/footage and what types of Internet communication many of the dancers are using.

Written Quote from Andreya Ouamba Atelier Aex Corps Goals:

“Atelier Aex Corps is a project which aims at strengthening the training of the dancer by inviting him to open his mind at new ways of dance expressions. This initiative, which is not new for certain artistic circles in Senegal (Toubab dialaw with l’Ecole des sables), is on the other hand new for the dance community of the city of Dakar. Artists who want to experiment, dancers who have questions such as: understanding how to move their body for a better use, and how to place their body into the space or how their moves and use of the space could be understood…

This project is a journey which is going to take place over three years. A group of 10 dancers is selected to follow each workshop. The duration of the program as well as the restricted numbers of participants will allow a good follow up of the evolution of the dancers. The previous dancers will be first and foremost invited to participate to the following sessions. At the end of every session, the participants are encouraged
to present a personal project. This project can be the beginning of a choreographic construction, a works in progress or an accomplished piece.”

June 19, 2010 at 1400h

This is a Lab Based project that highlights collaborations and networks of support.

This is a Process Based exploration.

Working Goals (in dvpt)

  • Raise visibility and awareness of Baker & Tarpaga Dance Project, whose work is focused on socially relevant dance theatre with a contemporary African influence.
  • Raise visibility and awareness of emerging and established African choreographers working in and outside of Africa.
  • Educate, expose, and discuss socially relevant issues in Africa and the globe.
  • Source and learn from ideas, physical practices, and theoretical concepts in contemporary Africa.
  • Increase understanding and awareness of cultures that are not ours/yours.
  • Have a transparent process


Why is it important for the others to know about contemporary performance and life in Africa? Why do Americans need to care? What is it that we can learn from contemporary performance in and out of African?

We are living in a globalized world where exchange needs to continue to happen, not just one-way exchanges based on prior economic and colonial relationships, but on collaborative partnerships.

To keep learning as an artist, a teacher, a cultural worker.
To create a better world for my daughter
To promote cross cultural understanding
To engage in physical, written, oral, aural conversations that are new, challenging, messy, and enlightening
To create opportunities for exchange between artists and audiences across borders
To create opportunities for dialogue during the current economic and environmental crises

Border Policies
This project will be a chance to have a space to create with awareness of cultural differences, of creating ideas, mining, and sourcing opportunities…

Any of the formal or understood policies that prevent understanding or exchanges
(related to government policy, economic policies, class policies, social policies.)

Breaking down border policies is one way to enable exchange and educate dance audiences.

What are the existing cultural, written, physical policies in practice in each country (USA, Madagascar, Kenya, South Africa, Senegal, Morocco, Mali)?

Think Tank #1: ACCAD Lab The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA  June 21, 2010
Face to face: Norah Zuniga-Shaw, Vita Berezina-Blackburn, Matt, Lewis Rashana Smith, Nicole Bauguss, and Esther Baker-Tarpaga
Streaming: Olivier Tarpaga and Wilfried Souly

Future Think Tank TBD:
Out of Dance USA Conference in Washington DC this past weekend…connections to
Natacha Melo of REDSD
Ella Cooper of EAP

Photography by Charles Kang

Shifting Centers Cyber Dance Project

Over the course of seven months, we’ll go to seven countries: Senegal, Mali, Morocco, Kenya, South Africa, Burkina Faso, and Madagascar.  The American and African transnational traveling team will meet established African-based choreographers in their home cities and document the conversations and movement dialogues in a blog and video journal.  The subject of the dialogue will be centered on how to connect artists through digital spaces as a way to develop artistic exchange and innovation by shifting centers physically and digitally.  How can cyberlearning and ubiquitous technologies be utilized to tap into collaborative engagement across geographical distance?

Eliminating a center leaves reality in the form of experienced traces…erasable traces that are made permanent through web-based interactions and digital communities. Shifting Centers Cyber Dance project will create traces of artistic experience through performance, collaborative choreography and artistic exchange and innovation by creating digital spaces and web-based forums…

Project Director: Esther Baker-Tarpaga

Cultural and Travel Consultant: Olivier Tarpaga

Media Manager: Kristen Jeppsen, graduate research assistant

Creative Technology Consultant: Norah Zuniga-Shaw

Visual Designer: Nicole Bauguss

Artist Consultants and Collaborators (subject to shift during project): Opiyo Okach (Kenya), Hind Benali (Morocco), Andreya Ouamba (Senegal), Gregory Maquoma (South Africa), Gaby Saranouffi (Madagascar).

Photography by Steven A. Gunther