Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago

Kwabena Shabu
Artist / Program Description: 
Since 1972, Muntu Dance Theatre’s exuberant performances have warmed the hearts and spirits of audiences throughout the country and abroad. The company is highly regarded for its innovative repertory, preserving traditional African dance while creating new works that build on African, Caribbean, and African-American cultural traditions. Muntu offers a repertory that ranges from ritual dances as they were performed centuries ago to contemporary choreography by Artistic Director Amaniyea Payne and renowned guest artists. Each performance is colorfully costumed and features Muntu’s acclaimed drum orchestra. From the Bantu language, Muntu means the ‘essence of humanity’—what the company seeks to express on stage and in communities.

At home or on tour, Muntu offers a wide-range of artistic services. Full-concerts feature a company of twelve to fifteen performers, with selected works from the repertoire. This repertoire reflects the cultural heritage of African peoples as it is expressed around the world, including works from West Africa, South Africa, and the Caribbean. New works may also be available to tour. The company is pleased to work with presenters to develop activities that respond to the unique needs of communities. Whether on the concert stage or in a classroom or community center, Muntu’s performances create an atmosphere of communal sharing.
Performing artist/company/ensemble