August 2, 2014 (New York) - The Cameroon National Ballet in association with the Harts Foundation and Dance Theather of Harlem partnered with American choreographer Yaounde for a special African ballet performance and dinner reception which took place on Friday, August 1, 2014. Robert Garland Lloyd, former dancer at the American-based “Dance Theatre of Harlem” (DTH), was commissioned to instruct Yaounde to drill and improve on the skills of Cameroon National Ballet dancers.
The evening kicked off with African dances by the Cameroonian ballet team and a special performance by Manu Dibango. The finale resulted with dancers inviting seated guests to engage in African ballet for a joyous group celebration. Immediately following, guests were guided to a seated dinner where chef Emil Engoulou prepared delectable signature Cameroonian dishes. Minister of Art and Culture, Ama Tutu Mana hosted the intimate dinner attended by entertainment industry veterans Chuck Bone, Mike Muse, Bevy Smith from Bravo’s Fashion Queens, as well as Isoul Harris who serves as Editor-In-Chief at Uptown Magazine, to name a few. During the festivities, Minister Ama Tutu Muna shared her gratitude by presenting Dance Theather of Harlem’s Chairman, Levine Robert, an African drum for the organization as a token of their appreciation.
The overall objective of this collaboration was to foster cultural exchanges between the US and Africa. This will serve as a backdrop to develop stronger ties between the African American Community and the African Community, starting with Cameroon. "We recognize that a number of African Americans have traced their DNA back to Africa with 60% of Cameroonian origin through the Washington D.C based company, African Ancestry. We hope that this collaboration will showcase this heritage" says Amu Tutu Muna.
“Our goal is to develop a performance entitled “Africa in Miniature,” using compositions from famous musicians such as Manu Dibango. Our desire is that this piece will capture key elements of African arts and culture while showcasing the beauty and artistry of DTH and TCNB” states Ama Tutu Muna.
Through the support of the NAACP, “Crisis Magazine”, The HARTS Foundation and the Ministry of Arts and Culture of Cameroon, we hope to light the untapped potential of our understandings of one another’s cultures, lifestyles and dance techniques. The objective is to produce a tour that would be available to audiences nationally and internationally. This would allow DTH and TCNB to be dance pioneers and ambassadors of the Arts.
For more information, visit www.dancetheatherofharlem.org.
About the Cameroon National Ballet
Cameroon’s 20 million people speak 268 different languages, including English, French, Fulfuide as well as Ewando and are divided into more than 200 different ethnic groups consisting of the Bamileke, Fulani and Bassa. Together, the country’s many groups and languages provide a fertile ground for art and literature to flourish. The Cameroon National Ballet is compose of over 20 performers who travel around the world introducing Cameroonian culture through dance and music. The Cameroonian National Ballet has performed at the UNGA in New York City, a 20-city tour in Japan, and at he Shanghai Expo in China. The Ministry of Arts and Culture, H.E. Minister Ama Tutu Muna states that “culture can be a development tool; it stimulates diversity as it involves a series of small and medium-sized industries”.