After a successful year of collaborations with the Benin International Salsa Festival, Modern Moves is all set to return to the Festival’s third edition (27th-30th January 2016). We are thrilled to facilitate the participation of our Advisory Board member, world-renowned salsa dancer Magna Gopal as the Festival’s Guest of Honour this year. Apart from giving classes focusing on the techniques and philosophy of connection in salsa, Magna will immerse herself in traditional Beninese dance, with a view to extending her repertoire. It will be her first time in West Africa and, as she says, ‘I can’t wait!’ This is an cross-cultural experiment curated by us which extends the work we started at our pioneering event Afro-Latin-Africa involving Festival organiser and dancer Steve Lokonon, Beninese singer Laurent Hounsavi, and London’s best Cuban musicians including Rey Crespo, Nana Aldrin, Oscar Martinez and Emeris Solis. Modern Moves director Ananya Kabir and postdoctoral researcher Elina Djebbari had a wonderful time in Cotonou in February 2015. We look forward to introducing Magna to the historical, spiritual and cultural riches of Benin as well as the exhilaration of the Festival which brings together dancers from all over West Africa and beyond.
Our fifth Moving Group was dedicated to an exploration of tango music and dance, and it involved a double bill. First, we heard Dr Kendra Stepputat, ethnomusicologist from the University…