On Saturday, August 10, 2019, Da’African Village, a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, in partnership with Africa Love, hosted its 2nd annual A Touch of Africa Las Vegas (ATOALV).
The two-day celebration of African culture included a meet & greet welcome reception, a drum/dance showcase, an African fashion show, an African after-party, African drum & dance workshops, and many vendors that highlighted African food, clothing, and art. Over 300 people were in attendance this year.
The doors to Clark County Library Theatre opened at 6 p.m. with the meet & greet welcome reception and vendor bazaar. The halls were filled with merchants showcasing African clothing and art. The room was buzzing with energy as the audience filled the halls, excited for the show which began promptly at 7 p.m.
The celebration commenced with Las Vegas’ own West African dance group, Olabisi African Dance & Drum Ensemble. Their energetic performance included storytelling filled with cultural details.
Next, was an African Fashion Show which truly highlighted the diversity of the African culture with Afrocentric styles and collections from Africa Love, MUYI, ZDDL Accessories & Apparel, UNLV’s African Students Association, and OMI4.
Following the fashion show was a powerful drum and dance showcase featuring Le Ballet Dembaya, a professional West African drum, and dance company based in Los Angeles, California. With Guinea being their primary country of study, they practice traditional percussive rhythms, typically played on djembe and dundun drums, accompanied by intricate, polyrhythmic dances from various regions throughout West Africa.
During intermission, Mara Diakhate, Africa Love and Da'African Village honored community members who shared in the mission and vision of promoting, educating and bringing the cultural traditions of Africa and its people to our local community and beyond.
The show was closed with another rich drum and dance showcase featuring Thiossane West African Dance Institute. Thiossane was formed with the express purpose of bringing authentic West African cultural representation to the world.
After the show ended, audience members attended an African After-Party at Soul of Afrika Nigerian Restaurant.
On Sunday, August 11, 2019, the celebration continued with African Drum and Dance Workshops held at UNLV‘s Alta Ham Fine Arts Dance Department. Performers from Le Ballet Dembaya, Thiossane West African Dance Institute and master dancers from Africa and the diaspora led the classes.
The Africa Love team would like to thank our sponsors, donors, partners, performers, vendors, volunteers and all those who attended and contributed the two-day event. We would specifically like to thank the Nevada Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts for their financial contributions. Funds received by both agencies helped offset costs, allowing us to put on the best African show Vegas has ever seen - A Touch of Africa Las Vegas!