Get Cultured — August 11, 2014 at 12:58 pm

Cameroon Dances Its Way to the Heart of New York

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cameroon-ballet

Cameroon took center stage last week at 42nd Street’s Liberty Theater for a cocktail reception to showcase its national ballet.

Hosted by the West African nation’s Minister of Art and Culture, Ama Tutu Muna, in partnership with the country’s Heritage and Arts Foundation, the evening was a cornucopia of dance performances showcasing a wide variety of styles and talent from across the country.

A red carpet played host to a series of celebrities, including German performing artist BB Thomas, Bershan Shaw, star of OWN’s Love In the City, while an open bar kept the crowd lively.

bbthomas                                                                bershan

Less a traditional ballet than a series of rhythmic and high-energy traditional dances and musical performances, the night was all about celebrating Cameroon’s cultural achievements, including a museum and exchange program with the Harlem Dance Theater.

The dancers, 15 of the 35 that make up the troupe, performed with pizzazz and dedication. One of the dances was to a tune by famous Cameroonian saxophonist Manu Dibango, behind the recognizable Soul Makossa riff on Michael Jackson’s Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’. Singer Richard King also delivered a haunting performance on the acoustic guitar.

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A dinner of signature dishes were served up at the end of the night by Cameroonian chef Emile Engoulou but not before the crowd was invited up on stage to take part in the festive frolics.

The focus of the evening was to encourage New Yorkers to consider a visit to Cameroon, which the night’s MC called the “California of Africa” with its variable terrain from forests to savanna, mountains, desert and beaches.

“Africa could be seen in a different way from [getting to know] Cameroon,” Madame Le Ministre, Muna, said. And from the looks of it, it’s a great country to get to know.

Twisted Talk: Have you ever been to Cameroon? What’s top of your travel list? Discuss below!

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