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E. Fields-Black

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Review for Balafon West African Dance Ensemble Inc, Virginia Bch, VA, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

Have you ever seen Balafon perform? Once the drummers begin to beat and the dancers begin to jump--and I mean JUMP--you are hooked! I was.

In the past year, we filed and received our 501c3 status, began a strategic plan, a fundraising plan, and building our board, steadily transforming the organization from a performance troupe to an arts organization. We received our first grants from the Pittsburgh Foundation and the greater Pittsburgh Arts Council and participated in Pittsburgh is ART: Day of Giving. And, the dance company continues to perform throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania and the entire Mid-Atlantic region.

Currently, we are planning our first African dance conference, "Welcome to the Black River," for Memorial Day Weekend 2012. It will bring internationally renowned Guinean and Senegalese Master drummers and dancers to Pittsburgh to conduct residencies in local schools and senior centers, conduct classes (for all ages skill levels) in drumming, dancing, and singing, perform in a concert finale, and train Balafon dancers and drummers. Pittsburgh has never seen this caliber and conglomeration of talent. It will be VERY exciting!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

As President of the Board, I try to find the resources and provide the oversight to realize Artistic Director, Kadiatou Conte-Forte's, artistic vision a reality. Then, I get out of the way and let Mama Kadiatou and the superb Balafon dancers and drummers work their magic.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Like all small non-profits, Balafon needs more money, particularly to pay our staff (Artistic Director and Executive Director). We also want to continue expanding our board with a few committed individuals willing to donate their time and talents.

Role:  Board Member & Almost two years ago, I took the helm as President of the Board of Directors for Balafon West African Dance Ensemble. We are a working board. The entire organization has been working to make Balafon the premier African arts organization in the Mid-Atla.