The Joyce Master Class: Sankofa Danzafro - Gibney
Week of August 7, 2020
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The Joyce Master Class: Sankofa Danzafro

The Joyce Master Class: Sankofa Danzafro


10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
FEE: $20

This class will be an “Afro-Contemporary” dance class. Afro-Contemporary is a dance technique created in Senegal at the Mudra-Afrique school, and is an exploration of contemporary dance supported by traditional dance. Class will be accompanied by a percussionist.

Rafael Palacios is a Colombian choreographer, teacher and dancer, researcher of traditional afro contemporary and urban dance. His experience as a dancer in Africa and Europe has been the basis for the founding of the Sankofa Corporation. His creations express poetics of ancestral and contemporary dance as an option of social bond and positioning of Afro-Colombian culture. With a trajectory of more than twenty years, the works of Sankofa have been presented in various cities and national festivals and have shown the diversity of Colombian dance in countries such as Jamaica, Brazil, Peru, Canada, United States, Spain, Uruguay, France and China; they stand out among others: Sun no blessing (2000), San Pacho … Blessed! (2005), La Puerta (2006), Internship to Burkina Faso – work Short eternity (2009), Bunde for a little Black Angel (2011) and Dirty in the eye (2012).He has been a guest choreographer for the Celebration of the one hundred and fifty nine years of abolition of slavery, with the work The City of Others (Mayor of Medellín 2010), The Summit of the Americas (Cartagena 2012), Inauguration of the World Games (Cali, 2013), First International Dance Biennial of Cali with the work The other hundred years (2013), and the 2015 Choreographic Laboratory with the work The Silence of the Drum.  He has also served as choreographer for the film We are hot (2016), as well as being in charge of the Choreographic Direction of the Zarzuela Cecilia Valdés, production of the Teatro Colón, Bogotá 2017. Palacios was the artistic director of the Silleteros Parade of the Flower Fair (2014 – 2016), Festiafro and the Carnival of Lights, Myths and Legends (2014 – 2015). In 2008 he received the National Dance Award from the Ministry of Culture with the work San Pacho … Blessed !. His project, Steps on Earth, received mention of the UN as a good practice of Afro-descendant social inclusion in Latin America (Cali, 2010). In 2018 he received the National Prize for the Arts with his work The City of Others awarded by the Universidad de Antioquia.

“Sankofa”, meaning, “to return to the root”, is more than a word, it’s an African philosophy that proposes that the past is a keyhole through which to view the present, and to be able to consider the future. This thought has guided the Afro-Colombian Sankofa Danzafro, founded by Rafael Palacios in 1997, as a space dedicated to training and creation in dance.

See SANKOFA DANZAFRO at The Joyce Theater – October 17-21  

The Joyce Master Class Series is supported by a grant award from the National Endowment for the Arts, and made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Special support has been provided by the May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation, Inc. Community Connections is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council with special thanks to Council Speaker Corey Johnson.

Photo by Sergio González Alvarez


The accessible entrance for this location is located at 280 Broadway. Please note that this is a shared entrance with the New York City Department of Buildings. To access the elevator, attendees may be asked to provide a valid photo ID and go through building security, including a metal detector.

Requests for reasonable accommodation or for access to the 280 Broadway entrance after 5:00 pm or on the weekend should be made three days in advance by contacting Elyse Desmond at 646.837.6809 (Voice only), or by e-mailing

280 Broadway
Gibney Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center
Enter at 53A Chambers Street
New York, NY 10007
646 837 6809

890 Broadway
Fifth Floor
New York, NY 10003
212 677 8560