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Two International Dance Masters Visit Meadows

Chuck “Baba” Davis, founder of DanceAfrica, and Brandon “Peace” Albright and his multicultural dance troupe, Illstyle & Peace Productions in Dallas for the Dance Africa weekend festival

Over two consecutive afternoons this past week, the SMU Meadows Division of Dance had the privilege of meeting and working with two internationally-acclaimed names in dance: the legendary Chuck “Baba” Davis, founder of DanceAfrica, and Brandon “Peace” Albright and his multicultural dance troupe, Illstyle & Peace Productions. The artists are in Dallas for the Dance Africa weekend festival, sponsored by the acclaimed Dallas Black Dance Theater.

Chuck Davis, a scholar of all forms of African dance, founded DanceAfrica in 1977 after performing with several premier African dance companies. In addition to DanceAfrica, he founded the African American Dance Ensemble in 1983 and continues to teach, host and participate in African dance festivals around the world. Joined by some of his closest friends and students, Davis, who exudes a captivatingly positive energy, taught an empowering, drum-filled session with SMU dancers on Wednesday afternoon.

Philadelphia-based Illstyle & Peace Productions is a multicultural dance company whose work has been fusing the spirit of old-school hip-hop with various styles of African dance since 2002. With their emphasis on peace, love, and unity through the common movement of dance, they led SMU dancers in a challenging session Thursday that encouraged risk-taking and a strong sense of community among everyone involved.

Both DanceAfrica and Illstyle are performing this weekend in Dallas’s Dance Africa Festival, with dance concerts at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday in the Majestic Theater and a free outdoor festival from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the AT&T Performing Arts Center Annette Strauss Artist Square.

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Allison Beck loves music, the arts and business. The music major and double-minor in arts management and arts entrepreneurship talks about how Meadows faculty and curriculum are helping her prepare for a career in the arts.

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