Explore the African dance technique through a variety of movements
based on traditional practices on the continent of Mother Africa.
Learn movements that reflect the lives of a people, the culture
of a society, and songs, stories, and drum patterns that uplift
the soul of an identity.
Many roots, many colors, one vision.
“Having been dancing from my mother’s womb
through the breath of life, today, I come with ADE, to share
with you what has kept the African tradition alive to date…African
dance, drum and songs.”
Thanks to the teachers who have taught thousands of people
who have kept the knowledge alive. Thank a teacher today, thank
the traditional people who have kept something unique for us
to come and meet today. Our teachers are the reason why we live.
The African Dance Ensemble (ADE) is unique group that researches
and teaches the roots of African traditional practice as
an embodiment of social and ethnological phenomena. We practice
dances from across the motherland of Africa. The sharing
of African art forms is accomplished through the scope of
performance, workshops, residencies, and lectures. ADE is
an old concept in new shoes, in that an old practice of cultural
understanding has been a part of the African social fabric
since time immemorial. This is evident in the hospitality
of Africans to go the extra mile in keeping their traditions
alive and preserving it appropriately without canonizing
it. This act of maintaining tradition helps the ADE team
to present African traditional music, dance and song, as
well as to create new works in African traditional idioms.
We preserve these art forms through education: both as oral
and academic transmissions.
There are many songs, dances and regalia that reflect specific
ethnic groups. Each ethnic group has more than five different
songs and dances. These performances mimic the experiences
of farming, fishing, hunting, festivals, funerals, and puberty
rites. This art form has a lot to offer humankind on this
earth. We have music that heals the soul.
These idioms of tradition range from dancing and singing,
costumes, body paint, hair braiding, and the making of drums
and instruments. Those who are passionate about playing African
indigenous instruments are given the opportunity to learn.
The significance and social functions of traditional practices
are explored through field trips to different parts of Africa.
Our doors are open to all humans: all ethnicities, beliefs,
and ages: whoever you are, ‘Mother Africa loves you’.
As we stand in the limelight of cultural responsibility we
deem the importance of humanity first because ‘art’ is
about humans. Our lives are reflected in our dances and our
dances and songs reflect our visions. Our visions and inspirations
connect us to our ancestors.
The Meaning of ADE
Ade (pronounced “AA-day”) is a Ga-Adangbe
word signifying “telling,” “as told,” or “as
said.” The word refers to legends of the past or what is foretold
for the future. Ade is also a male name in the Ga-Adangbe
language. The Ga people are found in Accra, on the costal belt of
Ghana, West Africa. This word was chosen after considering the nature
of humanity. Humans have history, they have presence and they have
future. All these cycles are linked together by Ade, “as
told.” Another sphere of meaning can be decoded from the acronym
of A.D.E. – African Dance Ensemble.
The Roots of ADE
The African Dance Ensemble was
founded in September 2001. The founder and Artistic Director,
Isaac Akrong, envisioned a small world of cultures blending to learn
more about African culture through the arts and related disciplines.
Having being choreographing over a decade, presenting ethnographic/ethnomusicological
works on African culture, dance, music, songs, drumming, flutes,
and xylophones, he is blessed now with a wonderful team of performers
with whom to share this holistic art form of an all-inclusive
African theatre experience. This is something that no text can represent
but the experience of interaction between our performers and
the world is what tells (“ade”)
our story better. After this experience you will have your own
version of this story to tell the world.
We deem it human to share what Africa has to offer – a
smile on your face and goodness in your hearts. We are only servants
of the tradition.
There are many repertories but we share not less than 60 ethnic
dances from Ghana and the West African subregion, East, Central,
and South Africa. We also create new choreography and songs within
the African idioms. We create these within the traditional idioms
in order to keep the tradition of the people alive.
To uphold the diverse indigenous cultures of Africa, of over
500 million people with thousands of ethnic groupings from the
continent and the Diaspora.
To research and look at ways of development, thereby maintaining
the appreciable hue of the unique cultures of many ethnicities
across Africa, looking at the categories of West Africa, East Africa,
Central and Southern Africa.
We tell our story through movement that connects nature to songs
that unfold the spirits of the universe, rhythms, melodies, and
ululations that touch the very fabric of humanity.
To serve as a window into the ethnology of the land and its people,
to uphold the culture and tradition with integrity.
To promote, educate and put something in place for posterity.
We tell our story because it is good to tell your story.
To promote diversity within the single vision of African Performance.
We perform our art forms with passions; passions of happiness,
joy, the sweat of life, and the rhythms that make your heart jump.
This is fueled by love, peace, harmony, truthfulness, honesty,
and team effort.
We use music and dance as a medium to discourage society from
violence or anything that leads to disharmony, and thereby fostering
anti-bullying in schools and any organization, and generally to
educate the consciousness of human thinking to respect and honour
all humans on earth without any taxonomy.
It is inherent that the resource of oral tradition sharing is
very important and paramount to our modes of teaching, which is
lively and very spontaneous. Individuals are spontaneously taught
many elements of the music and dance, which is one phenomenon,
from a traditional perspective without being compartmentalized.
We create contemporary works as well, on a different level and
context, to push the boundaries of today’s generation within
the idioms of the Motherland performance.
To document existing and to create new children’s and teenagers’ games
and songs, as well as the adult versions.
To tour the world with the art forms, thereby educating and exploring
what is meant by African performance performed by a diverse group
of people from around the world. In effect, ADE represents
the world, and it could be called World Dance Ensemble. If it is
true that the source of humanity comes from Africa, then when we
call it African Dance Ensemble, it implies World Dance Ensemble.
Anyone from any part of the world, any age, any orientation, is
welcome to partake in ADE activities, because we serve the human
needs, not one specific ethnic group, no theoretical perspective,
just humans is the key.
We aim at retrieving the oral tradition. In the course of doing
that, we are still in process. Tradition is dynamic, it is growing.
What you are reading today is not blocked in stone. We do not canonize
our artform. As of the time of typing, it is still growing, because
it is a living art. The life of the people is the artform. In an attempt
to do research, we welcome any comments and suggestions that will champion
the expansion of this database among others, as a contribution to the
creation of awareness of African performing arts.