African Horizons

Assembly Description


Explore the fascinating traditions of  West Africa and discover how its people use music, dance and song to dramatize the stories of their lives- from birth to initiation, to marriage and eventually death. Enjoying a rich display of colorful African costuming, vibrant rhythms, lively dances, harmonious songs and traditional storytelling, students visit African communities throughout the Americas. They travel through the African Diaspora (the relocation of peoples dispersed during the Transatlantic Slave Trade) and, through audience participation, learn how African Arts influence life throughout the world.

Assembly Information

Grades: K-12
Curriculum links: Social Studies and Cultural Awareness
Price: Single performance $1,075
2 back to back $1,570
Program length: 45 minutes
*Artist travel fees may apply
The performances are tailored to the particular age level and special needs of the audience.
Related residencies and workshops available

About the Artist

African Horizons is made up of talented, accomplished and versatile performers. Several members are founders of Ujima Images, an ensemble of musicians who create tonal images of the Afri-Carib cultures while tracing the routes of the music from its African origins. They have taught photography, drums, and dances from all cultures including Guinea, Gambia, Senegal and Brazil. Members of the group have appeared in films such as The Preacher’s Wife and Malcolm X and on television shows such as New York Undercover and The Arsenio Hall Show. In addition to the skills you will see on stage, group members are also trained in fencing, boxing, karate, Tai Chi, stage combat, flute, songwriting, photography, graphic design, storytelling and poetry!

Paula Yaa McCoy-Franklin (Dancer and Choreographer), better known as Mama Yaa studied dance and movement at the University of Ghana and currently teaches at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, the Newark Community School of the Arts and the New York Housing Authority Performing Arts Program. She also has her own dance company, Pyramid, and is on NJPAC’s Dance Academy faculty. As an actress, she has appeared in several theatrical productions, including Footprints in Time, For Colored Girls..., and films including Strictly Business and Jungle Fever. Her primary thrust is the promotion and understanding of the African-American culture, and she presents lectures on Africa throughout the tri-state area.