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African and Diaspora Dance Center finds new home

African Dance Class

Cumbe: Center for African and Diaspora Dance will return to Brooklyn to resume its well-loved classes on September 25. After being pushed out of its prior location in downtown Brooklyn two years ago, Cumbe found a new home via its partnership with RestorationART at Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation’s dynamic new 21st Century Complex. This thrilling and diverse dance studio championing African Diaspora dance and music will host a community day opening on Saturday, September 23. Classes will be offered for only $5.

African Dance Class Brooklyn

Dancing girl for Kwanzaa at Cumbe. Photo by Inna Penek.

“The opening of Cumbe’s studio at RestorationART will be like a ‘homecoming’ for its students,” says Cumbe’s Executive Director Jimena Martinez. “By continuing classes during its own period of ‘diaspora,’ Cumbe has shown that it fully embodies the resilience and vibrancy present in African culture.”

During its displacement, Cumbe continued offering a streamlined selection of classes with support from various dance organizations throughout NYC.

Brooklyn dance class

Cumbe students. Photo by Dominique Taylor.

Starting September 25, Cumbe will begin daily adult classes ranging from traditional to contemporary styles–including West African, Afro-Haitian and Brazilian, Soca Dancehall/Reggae, House and more. Classes for toddlers ages 1–4 will teach creative movement and rhythm through a combination of games, songs, story-telling, drumming and tumbling.

RestorationART’s long-standing support of communities in Brooklyn, and the re-launch of its Center for Arts and Culture, made it a natural choice for Cumbe when searching for its new home. For RestorationART, the partnership was equally fitting, according to its leaders.

Dance at El Museo del Barrio

Cumbe’s Stevie Insua at the El Museo del Barrio for the Super Sabado Carnival. Photo by Tom Stoelker.

RestorationART and Billie Holiday Theatre Executive Director Indira Etwaroo says, “We are excited to welcome Cumbe as an arts institution-in-residence. It joins a dynamic group of organizations in RestorationART’s creative complex that personify community, perseverance and excellence.”

RestorationART features 5,282 sq. ft. of ground-level studios for performing arts with sprung maple dance floors, mirrored walls and large storefront windows. These versatile spaces will make Cumbe’s classes visible to the over 1.5 million visitors Restoration Plaza receives annually.

Museum of the City of New York event

Cumbe’s La Mora salsa class. Photo by Andrew Kist, courtesy of the Museum of the City of New York.

Cumbe serves students across all five boroughs. Over the past two years, classes have been held at Gibney Dance (Gibney) and Brooklyn Ballet. Due to popular demand, two weekly classes will continue at Gibney’s 280 Broadway location. Cumbe and Gibney will also partner to hold a monthly African Diaspora workshop.

Cumbe Open House Schedule at RestorationART for September 23:

9:45 a.m.–10:30 a.m. Capoeira (Instructor: Pena Verde)

10:45 a.m.–11:45 a.m. SOCA’N Wet (Instructor: Bajanalla Cann)

12 p.m.–1 p.m. KongoBeat (Instructor: Eto’o Tsana)

1:15 p.m.–2:15 p.m. West African (Instructor: Lamine Thiam)

2:30 p.m.–3:30 p.m. Samba (Instructor: Danielle Lima)

3:45 p.m.–4:45 p.m. Afro House Fusion (Instructor: Kim Holmes)

5 p.m.–6 p.m. Rumba (Instructor: Stevie Insua)

For more information, visit www.cumbedance.org.

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