Sankofa Danzafro, “Accommodating Lie” promo

Sankofa Danzafro, “Behind the South: Dances for Manuel” promo

2023/2024 Tour Dates

April 2, 2024
The City of Others
Annemasse, France
Fri & Sat,
April 5 & 6, 2024
Le Pavillion noir
The City of Others
Aix-en-Provence, France
April 13, 2024
Auditorio de Tenerife
The City of Others
Tenerife, Spain
April 14, 2024
Auditorio de Tenerife
Accommodating Lie
Tenerife, Spain
April 19, 2024
DRAMA at SA State Theatre
The City of Others
Pretoria, South Africa
Fri - Sun,
April 26 - 28, 2024
Abril Pra Dança
Behind the South: Dances for Manuel
São Paulo, Brasil
Wed & Th,
July 24 & 25, 2024
Venice Dance Biennale
Behind the South: Dances for Manuel
Venice, Italy

Please check back soon for newly announced tour dates!

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The evening’s revelation was Sankofa’s ‘La Ciudad de los Otros’ (‘The City of Others’), an episodic work about urban struggle and resilience combining elements of hip-hop and Afro-Colombian dance.

-Siobhan Burke, The New York Times

Director Rafael Palacios’ “La Ciudad de los Otros” (“The City of Others”) was judicious in form, resonant with meaning, and delivered in dance languages that ran the gamut from diasporic African to Latinised hip-hop

-Apollinaire Scherr, Financial Times


Sankofa Danzafro hails from Colombia, the country with the second largest Afro-descent population found in Latin America. The company’s “The City of Others”, is a work showcasing powerful Afro-Colombian and Afro-contemporary dance performed by 12 dancers & musicians with live drumming and singing.

The city in “The City of Others” is populated by people with diverse backgrounds from different places with varying cultures, and different ways to understand the world. These dissimilar people coexist in a limited space, and despite the forward march of progress, the city at times can become a place of discrimination, resulting in hostility and solitude for Afro-Colombians.

“The City of Others” denounces the lack of opportunities for minority communities and other marginalized populations who, for generations, have suffered social inequity. “The City of Others” demands the city be a place of coexistence; a place for everybody, not only the few.

One hour in length, Accommodating Lie showcases 7 dancers with live music performed by 3 musicians (drums, native flute, marimba, and voice). A powerful work examining what it means to be of African descent, Accommodating Lie denounces the clichés and falsehoods around the Black body. It looks to dismantle stereotypes that continue to be perpetuated. In a series of emotional solos, duets, and group dances, the company embodies decades of slavery and overt racism while claiming ownership to their identity. I know this all sounds super intense, and I can promise you, Sankofa’s performances are ultimately a celebratory experience from the lens of the African diaspora.

Through their performances, Rafael Palacios’ dances for Sankofa Danzafro reaffirm the need for self-representation of Afro-descendant communities, rewriting history from the perspective of colonized Colombians. In Accommodating Lie, he utilizes a catwalk to exhibit a parade of black bodies on display. The staging includes an interactive auction with the musicians and the audience – a direct reference to slavery and human trafficking. The set design includes a wall hung of straw ropes hung upstage – the kind of ropes used in the straw skirts worn by Afro-Colombian dancers in (racist) dance displays. The Sankofa dancers emerge from within this wall, and they too wear straw skirts in parts of the dance.

Behind the South: Dances for Manuel (Detrás del Sur: Danzas para Manuel), is a tribute to the distinguished Colombian writer Manuel Zapata Olivella’s most acclaimed work Changó, el Gran Putas (Changó, the big badass), documenting the African Diaspora to the American continents.

Behind the South: Dances for Manuel is composed of five acts, following the structure of Zapata’s novel. Through choreography and dramaturgy, the performance references omens, miraculous births, rebellion, and liberation, the pain of the mass abductions and the effort to maintain connection with the motherland of Africa. During the Middle Passage, the enslaved men and women are accompanied by their ancestors, the dead, and the orishas: Yemayá, Elegua, and Changó (Changó is the son of Yemayá, the mother goddess, protector of birth in the Yoruba tradition and religion). Behind the South: Dances for Manuel celebrates the vital force of the muntu (the chosen African people) and their use of the dancing body and music in ritual as a means of survival in the Americas.

Behind the South: Dances for Manuel (60 minutes) was premiered in May, 2021 as a co-production with the Teatro Mayor Julio Mario Santo Domingo in Bogotá. It tours with a total of 18 people: 12 dancers; 3 musicians; and 3 staff/crew.


We dance to be heard, not to be seen!

In Akan, a Ghanaian language, Sankofa means “to return to the root.” More than a word, it is an African philosophy that proposes to know the past as a condition to understand the present; as a way to see the future. This thought has guided the path of the Afro-Colombian dance and music company Sankofa Danzafro. Founded by Rafael Palacios in 1997 with its home in Medellín, Colombia, Sankofa Danzafro is dedicated to training and creation in dance as well as interacting with the community. Through the practice of dance, Sankofa’s mission is to bridge the gaps between the many African diaspora communities in Colombia – along with other populations whose human rights have be violated. Sankofa’s choreographic language searches for the poetics that are at the root of Afro dance, experienced through the frame of today. In this way, Sankofa honors both the traditional and the contemporary. Through its programs, the company nurtures community mentorship, social awareness, personal growth, and supports the sustainability of local cultures inside of the national dynamics of Colombia.

Sankofa Danzafro made its “electrifying New York debut” (NY Times) in the US invited by the Battery Dance Festival in 2015. The company was first presented at The Joyce Theater in October, 2018. In North America, it has been presented by USC’s Voices & Visions; the Kravis Center; Boston’s Celebrity Series; and the Hopkins Center at Dartmouth, among others. The current tour includes the company’s debut in Montreal with performances presented by Danse Danse before a five-week tour in Europe with performances in Paris and Barcelona, among other cities.

Choreographer and Colombian dancer dedicated to the exploration of Afro-traditional, contemporary and urban dance languages. His experience as a dancer in Africa and Europe has been the basis for the foundation of the Sankofa Company, with which he has created a wide repertoire of works that have been presented in Colombia and other countries such as Jamaica, France, Spain, Canada, Brazil, Burkina Faso. He has developed training processes aimed at teachers and dancers as well as seedlings of young people and children. National Councilor of Dance and Counselor of Black Communities (2009-2011). Master teacher of the Training Program for Trainers of the Ministry of Culture in the Pacific region 2007- 2013. Palacios received the National Dance Award of the Ministry of Culture 2008, with the work San Pacho … Blessed !; In 2009, he held an internship with the Company in Burkina Faso, Africa. Director of the project Steps in the Earth that in 2010 receives the recognition of the UN as Good Practice of Afrodescendent Social Inclusion in Latin America. He is invited as artistic director for the Colombian dance show held in the framework of the Summit of the Americas Cartagena 2012. Choreographer for the production of the 2013 Cali World Games.

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