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Multi-National Dance Company Baker & Tarpaga Performs at Middlebury Sept. 29–30

September 15, 2017

West African Band Dafra Kura Gives Associated Concert September 26

Middlebury, VT—The transnational performance group Baker & Tarpaga Dance Project (BTDP)—based in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania—will draw from Africanist and postmodernist aesthetics to present Declassified Memory Fragment on Friday and Saturday, September 29 and 30 at the Mahaney Center for the Arts. This dance theatre work with live music is inspired by memory, history, and images of the political and cultural realities currently affecting the continent of Africa.

The Dafra Kura Band is an integral part of BTDP, performing live for the dance performances. The band will also give a separate concert of West African music, several days earlier, on Tuesday, September 26 at McCullough Student Center. Dafra Kura fuses the high energy of the griot ancestral tradition and the contemporary sounds of modern African cities sourced from Manding tradition, nomad desert blues, and Afrobeat.

Middlebury Performing Arts Series Director Allison Coyne Carroll points out BTDP’s special connection to Middlebury: “BTDP’s willingness to do outreach with students in dance, world music, and international studies made this residency richer, and they even had a local connection: co-founders Olivier Tarpaga and Esther Baker- Tarpaga are brother-in-law and sister to Middlebury Associate Professor of Environmental Studies Mez Baker-Medard.”

About Baker & Tarpaga Dance Project

Lester Horton Award-winning dance company BTDP was founded in 2004 by Esther Baker-Tarpaga and Olivier Tarpaga, and is currently based in Philadelphia, PA and Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. BTDP’s members are border-crossing ethno-choreographers investigating the beauty and dissonance of the human condition. They have performed throughout the US, at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre in Los Angeles; the Kelly Strayhorn Theater in Pittsburgh; BAAD in the Bronx; at Cornell and Denison Universities; on the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival’s Inside/Out stage; at Center Stage in Santa Barbara; and the King Arts Complex in Ohio. Internationally, BTDP has appeared at countless prestigious venues including the Bali Spirit Festival; Dance Bridge International in Tokyo; Natanda International Dance Festival in Sri Lanka; Tamadi Art Festival in France; Morocco’s Action Danse; Burkina Faso’s Dialogue De Corps; Maitisong Festival in Botswana; Abok I Ngoma Festival in Cameroon; and at the French Cultural Center of Senegal.

Declassified Memory Fragment is a recipient of the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project Touring Award, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Performance Details

Baker & Tarpaga will perform on Friday and Saturday, September 29 and 30, 2017 at 8:00 P.M. at the Kevin P. Mahaney ’84 Center for the Arts’ Dance Theatre. Dafra Kura will perform three days earlier, on Tuesday, September 26, 2017 at 7:30 PM at McCullough Student Center’s Wilson Hall. The Mahaney Center is located at 72 Porter Field Road in Middlebury; McCullough is located in the heart of Middlebury’s campus at 14 Old Chapel Road in Middlebury. Free parking is available curbside on Route 30 or in the Center for the Arts parking lot, in rows marked faculty/staff/visitors. Tickets for Baker & Tarpaga are $22 for adults; $16 for Middlebury College faculty, staff, emeriti, and alumni; and $6 for Middlebury College students. Tickets for Dafra Kura are $10 for all adults and $6 for Middlebury College students. Tickets are available at the Middlebury College box office at 802-443-MIDD (6433) or



Image captions:

Baker & Tarpaga Dance Project, photo Mark Simpson

Dafra Kura Band, photo Bernice Lee

Mahaney Arts Center
Middlebury College
South Main St./Route 30 South
72 Porter Field Rd.
Middlebury, VT 05753
(802) 443-3168 phone
(802) 443-2834 fax