What is Dance Africa Fest?

Developed in 2014 by Tonya Pennie for Austin, TX, Dance Africa Fest is an Austin-based multi-day conference featuring internationally renowned artists in African Diaspora dance, drum, and vocal workshops. Other highlights include special free dance workshops for children and the community, and a vendor marketplace (our fab African Marketplace). We've grown 100% from presenting annually, to an impressive schedule featuring Spring and Fall two-day, all-day, workshop events!

Past festivals have featured Afro Brazilian dance and Symbology of the Orixás; Guinean drum, dance and singing workshops; Congolese dance; Malian dance and drum workshops; Côte d’Ivoire dance; Capoeria Angola movement and history; Qi Gong/Afro-Fusion dance and stillness; Afro Brazilian dance with bateria; and Afro Cuban dance and history.

The Impact / Our Mission

Dance transforms. Dance uplifts, empowers, heals, and provides kool-aid grins. Dance Africa Fest showcases the beauty and uniqueness of African Diaspora dance, while also reinforcing the common threads that remind us of our connection.

Our focus is to amplify an awareness of, and provide a platform for African Diaspora dance. Our mission is to offer artistic and educational activities that celebrate traditional, contemporary, social, imaginative, gestural, pedestrian and physical exploration of dances of the African/Black Diaspora.

What To Expect

  1. Experience a variety of traditional dance instruction to live drumming or music;
  2. Dance, drum and vocal workshops taught by exceptional artists; 
  3. An African Market featuring unique and handmade goods and crafts; 
  4. Performances by teaching faculty, guest artists and arts groups;
  5. Scholarship, community building and networking with artists and peers.
  • CLASSES --- $20 per person/per class, or priced as indicated. As available, workshops are free for children under 10 years old (must have parent or guardian on site).  *See schedule for details, and space availability.
  • AFRICAN MARKETPLACE --- Vendors selling handmade and unique wares. FREE ADMISSION.

What to wear to dance workshops?

Movement workshops are presented indoors, in venues with a sprung dance floor. Because we want to dance a good long while, we take care to present our events in venues with a dance floor. Please note workshops last 90 minutes, and may be scheduled back-to-back. Your body will thank us for making sure the floor is tight. Bare feet, jazz slippers or similar light foot covering are recommended for the workshops.

No street shoes or running shoes during workshops inside the DANCE STUDIO, please.

Workshop participants are encouraged to hydrate regularly (bring and drink your water!), wear comfortable and breathe-able clothing that doesn’t restrict movement and allows a full range of motion (i.e. lappas, sweatpants, shorts, sarongs, dance wear, work-out wear or yoga attire). Summary:

  1. Workshops are presented indoors on a sprung dance floor.
  2. Workshops last 90 minutes.
  3. Participants should hydrate and bring water.
  4. INSIDE THE DANCE STUDIO, no street shoes or running shoes during workshops please. Bare feet, jazz slippers or similar light foot covering recommended. 
  5. INSIDE THE VENDOR MARKET, running shoes, regular athletic shoes, or flat heeled shoes, or dance shoes are appropriate and totally fine for the Capoeira workshop.
  6. Lappas, sweatpants, shorts, sarongs, dance wear, work-out wear or yoga attire recommended. 

Join us!

Dance Africa Fest invites participants of all ages and skill levels to connect with some of the most significant traditional dance forms originating from the continent.

Children ages 10 and under participating in workshops must have a parent or guardian on-site.

With a growing international reputation and local community spirit, this festival has something to offer all generations. Catch a snippet of 2016's programming here.

Dance Africa Fest is committed to compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. We utilize public facilities that ensure access to the built environment for people with different abilities, and meet ADA guidelines and Texas Accessibility Standards. If you require special assistance for participation in our programs please contact us at Tonya@DanceAfricaFest.org.

Can't attend? Donate a ticket back to Dance Africa Fest as a gift for a youth or a senior in the community. 

Your support helps to make this festival accessible to all of Austin, regardless of ability to pay. A portion of class tickets will be made available for free to individuals in need, including youth, families, artists, and seniors. In return for your contribution, we'll add your name to our public list of supporters making it possible for all Central Texans to experience African cultural heritage in Austin, TX.

Dance Africa Fest is deeply committed to sustainability and accessibility. To lend your financial support and help grow the festival, click here.

Dance Africa Fest is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non­profit arts service organization. Contributions for the charitable purposes of Dance Africa Fest must be made payable to “Fractured Atlas” only. Any contribution above the value of the goods and services received by the donor is tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

Thank you!