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African Dance Comes to New Rochelle Library

Dancers from the Bokandeye African-American Dance Theater returned to the New Rochelle Public Library for their 17th annual performance.

To celebrate African-American Heritage Month, families and friends of all ages gathered in the New Rochelle Public Library's Ossie Davis Theater Saturday to get a taste of African culture.

The dancers performed lively music accompanied with vibrant outfits led by Director Anthony Wooden.

This New Rochelle Downtown Business Improvement District Family Days event attracted a huge audience, as with every year. Normally, this event is combined with a separate African dance lesson, but this was the first year in which no dance lessons were offered because the Ossie Davis Theater was being remodeled. However, there are plans for a make-up lesson this summer, organizers said.  

Barbara Davis, community relations coordinator for the library, admired the dancers ability to top each yearly performance.

“I say every year that they are never going to be able to top their last performance,” she said. “But they always end up proving me wrong.” 

Wooden and his dance team were able to connect with all ages from the audience. Kids and adults had the opportunity to go on stage and participate in the performances. The adults even had a man versus woman dance off, but Wooden claims there was no winner because “in unity we all win,” he said.

Feb. 2014 will be the 20th anniversary of the Bokandeye African-American Dance Theater, and Wooden is grateful to the community for allowing the growth of his company, which started as only an African dance and drum class. 

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