Afro-Modern Performance Celebrates Heritage through Artistic Expression

Story and Photos by Shawniece Mitchell Data News Weekly Contributor

Artistic Director Kai Knight and the Dancers of “Breathe” a Kai Knight Dance Collective delivered a moving performance of contemporary Afro-modern dance titled “Ori: Journey Within.” The performance also marked the Anniversary for the Silhouette Dance Ensemble, housed through Seasons Center, which hosts a collective of dance and performance groups.

“We’re celebrating 15 years of dancing with Silhouette [Dance Ensemble], so I am very proud, and we have a lot of big things still coming up,” said Knight, the Founder, Executive Director, and Artistic Director of the Seasons Center which provides dance and performing programs across the city.

The performance held at the Andre Cailloux Center for Performing Arts and Cultural Justice on Bayou Road took place on Jan. 20th. with dancers from several colleges and in the community. “Ori: Journey Within” used movement to find one’s spiritual center, incorporating techniques of African dance movement with contemporary and modern dance.

“I didn’t think it was just beautiful, you all showed vulnerability by really going into places of pain, of suffering, of being desperate, of being stuck. I mean I saw the whole human depth in this, and that’s why it was so moving,” said Ina Fandrich, a long-time supporter of the dance company.

The performance showcased the ensemble’s versatility and ability to convey a wide range of emotions through their art. Each routine was carefully choreographed to tell a unique story, leaving the audience captivated and moved.

“As far as tying the words to the movement, everybody had their own personal journey or experience or story to tell but when we came to rehearsal it was figuring out how everybody could stay individuals but also making sure that as a group, we’re interacting with each other and flowing as a unit but still within our personal journeys,” said Aviwe DuBois, a Lead Dancer with the Breathe Collective.

The dancers seamlessly depicted both the struggles and triumphs of self-discovery and moments of vulnerability, strength, and self-acceptance, creating a captivating narrative that resonated with the audience.
“It was kind of spontaneous, whatever we felt in that moment was what we put on the floor and then we later took to putting it on paper,” said Nandipha DuBois, another dancer with the Breathe Collective.

The dance company held a reception before the show, celebrating Knight’s dedication and hard work. Silhouette Dance Ensemble Members reflected on their journey and future performances that will take place for the company.

In addition to being home for Breathe and the Silhouette Dance Ensemble, the Seasons Center’s Dance Programs aim to help young performers connect to their heritage and identity, while developing their sense of confidence through artistic expression.

“I feel like we all connected as a group and as a family with this story,” said Zion Crawford, a Lead Dancer with the center and daughter of the Executive Director, Knight.

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Glenda Bell Data News Weekly Contributor Brandy Galmon has been a registered nurse for 20 years, specializing in patient advocacy and
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