Written by Toby Robboy
On Friday, June 20, Kúkátónón teamed up with Sebe Kan West African Dance Company, and Baramokono Drumming Ensemble for The Village: A West African Rhythm and Dance Collective Performance. The dancers and drummers performed traditional music in this delightful celebration of the history of diverse West African nations.
Anyone who has seen Kúkátónón in action is familiar with the immaculate skill and joyful energy that the troupe brings to each performance. It is always inspiring to watch the children work together in harmony, bringing the spirit of West African dance to the audience before them. These qualities were complemented perfectly by the adult dancers and drummers they performed with in this show. There was a clear connection between all the performers and musicians, and watching them, one could not help but smile for the entire duration of the show.
Of course, the performance would not have been complete without Kúkátónón founder and Artistic Director Rolia Manyongai-Jones taking the stage a few times. It is always moving to watch the woman who starting it all, doing what she loves, surrounded by her students. There is no question that Manyongai-Jones was born to dance and teach.
Overall, Kúkátónón delivered an extremely powerful performance in what was one of the region’s largest African cultural events. It is exciting to watch the troupe enchant and delight an ever-growing audience. I, for one, cannot wait to see what they do next.