Wayne State University

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News and Announcements

Recent African Dance Guest Artist Amaniyea Payne

September 20, 2013

The Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance at Wayne State welcomes Amaniyea Payne as the 2013-14 Guest Artist for To Sangana - the Dance Program's African Dance company. She will be in residence September 25-28 teaching classes and setting a new dance on the To Sangana company.  A public showing of this new dance work will be held Saturday, September 28th at 12:00pm in the Allesee Dance Theatre.  For more information, click here.

Additionally, Ms. Payne will be teaching a Community Master Class on Friday, September 27th from 6:30-8:00pm
The class is held on the 3rd floor of Old Main, 4841 Cass Avenue, Detroit. Class fee: $10

A viable artistic force in dance communities around the world, recognized for her many talents as a dancer, director, producer, choreographer, arts educator, costume designer, and humanitarian. Known to many in the African dance genre as a “National Treasure”, Amaniyea has been the recipient of many awards, which speaks to my career achievements.  Her style of dance evolves from natural rhythmic movements based and informed by dances and cultures of the African Diasporas.

She’s studied, performed and toured globally with prominent companies, and well known music and dance legends such as Stevie Wonder, Cab Calloway, Ben Harper, Bunny Wailers and Lindy-hop innovators, Norma Miller, Frankie Manning, Mama Lou Parks to name a few. She studied extensively with groups including National Dance Company of Senegal, International Afrikan-American Ballet, Ballet D’Afrique Noire De Toubacouta and Djolibah & Les Ballet Africains from Guinea, and Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago, where she presently serves as artistic director.

Ms. Payne has collaborated with artists and arts organizations throughout the diasporas, focusing on finding new ways to translate dance for the stage while also preserving and respecting the traditional parameters for performance. Having a deep sense of responsibility to honor the legacy of great expressions of dance Amaniyea respectfully continues to aid in the development of the future generations of dancers who will carry the aesthetic and spiritual base of black dance.

Ms. Payne began her tenure as Muntu’s Artistic Director in 1987, after serving as guest choreographer, setting the work “African Swing” on the company. Since that time she has been the principal architect of the company’s technical growth, expanded repertory and national reception. Her style is centered in natural rhythmic movements based in and informed by traditional African dance and movement of the African Diaspora, with an emphasis on the Caribbean, as well as traditional jazz and dance theater.