Asase Yaa African-American Dance Theatre to tell uplifting story in ‘Drum Love’

Photo courtesy of Asase Yaa African-American Dance Theatre
Photo courtesy of Asase Yaa African-American Dance Theatre

By Steve Sucato

Song, music, dance and the richness of the African diaspora come together in Asase Yaa African-American Dance Theatre‘s ballet of Drum Love, presented by Kente Arts Alliance, at the North Side’s New Hazlett Theater. With Drum Love, the Brooklyn-based troupe will make its Pittsburgh debut, having performed around the world including in Japan, Korea, France, Iceland, Ghana, Guinea and the Netherlands. Asase Yaa has also appeared at VH1’s Hip Hop HonorsStars of New York Dance and at the premiere of the HBO documentary film Sing Your Song, with Harry Belafonte. Drum Love brings together nine dancers, seven musicians and singer/historian Mandingue Djelimuso to tell the uplifting story of a young naïve girl who finds herself in love with two handsome big-city artists. Though she is warned by friends and family to avoid these men, she creates a situation that will bring shame to her family. By ballet’s end, however, she recognizes her mistakes and embraces the support of her family and friends. The 90-minute production features colorful costumes, traditional music, including a balafon player, and dance from Guinea, West Africa. Its energy and excitement, says Asase Yaa co-director Kofi Osei Williams, “will keep you on the edge of your seat.” Steve Sucato 8 p.m. New Hazlett Theater, 6 Allegheny Square East, North Side. $20. 1-888-71-TICKETS or www.kentearts.org.

This article first appeared in Pittsburgh City Paper on January 29, 2014. Copyright Steve Sucato.

Photo courtesy of Asase Yaa African-American Dance Theatre.
Photo courtesy of Asase Yaa African-American Dance Theatre.