Center for World Arts

Letter from the Director

Welcome to the Center for World Arts, College of Fine Arts, at the University of Florida! Explore this site for classes, outreach events, performances, and stories about our intercultural projects at UF and around the world!

UF ethnomusicologist Larry Crook and I founded the Center for World Arts inspired by our first artist-residency in collaboration with the Center for African Studies, in the 1995-1996 school year. In 2018, the Center for World Arts fosters diversity and internationalism through the lens of the highest quality arts traditions and innovations from around the globe. Creating and fostering international research symposia, cross-cultural artistic collaborations, new media and performance are our signature activities.

Dance Magazine, the major international publication in the field of dance, recently noted the impact of the Center for World Arts in distinguishing UF’s dance degrees. Since creating UF’s premier West African performance ensemble AGBEDIDI AFRICA in the School of Theatre and Dance, College of the Arts, the Center has fostered community outreach in concert with the Center for African Studies, the Harn Museum of Art, the Florida Natural History Museum, the Warrington College of Business, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and multiple community partners.

In addition to our decades-long commitment to building excellence and opportunity in West African dance, the CWA has also enhanced students’ curriculum, performance, research, and training opportunities, to include Capoeira, Brazilian dance, Bharata Natyam, Odissi, Flamenco, Argentine Tango, Hip-hop, Chinese traditional dance, QiGong, T’ai Chi, and contemporary dance in a global view, among others.To date the Center has hosted more than 25 residencies, 200 artists from Latin America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the USA. The Center has convened or contributed to 12 major symposia/conferences, notably "Movement (R)Evolution Dialogues," and "Staging Identity: Latin American Music and Dance." and co-presented over 50 concerts of its affiliated student ensembles, Jacaré Brazil and Agbedidi Africa. The Center has produced two prize winning films: NORA and Movement (R)Evolution Africa: a story of an art form in four acts which have been officially selected for over 220 festivals around the world and broadcast on PBS, ARTE, NRK, and ZDF, among many others.

To foster democracy in a truly global sense, it is imperative to recognize and nurture the individual voice. The Center rededicates its efforts to exploring global arts and citizenship with the residencies of provocative choreographers, such as  Faustin Linyekula of Studios Kabako, who has charmed and challenged students and audiences with each visit to us since 2005. The global artist "pave[s] the way for a qualitative practice of the imagination—a practice without which we will have no name, no face and no voice in history" (Mbembe 2007) thus we invite you to visit to learn about the contributions of global artist-citizens such as Boyzie Cekwana (South Africa), Opiyo Okach (Kenya), and Panaibra Gabriel (Mozambi)—to name but a few—to the Equitable Partnership Project with the Africa Contemporary Arts Consortium (TACAC), of which the Center for World Arts is a founding member. We also invite you to be moved by the profound power of women's individual voices in the U.S. tour of Nadia Beugré, Kettly Noel, Nelisiwe Xaba, Maria Helena Pinto, and Bouchra Ouiguen and Voices of Strength in Huffington Post Arts & Culture and CultureBot. The July 2015 issue of Dance Magazine brings our West African dance program and residencies into the spotlight. 

You are invited to attend the exciting annual performances and workshops of the Brazilian Music Institute and Jacaré Brazil. and AGBEDIDI AFRICA, presented in collaboration with the UF School of Theatre and Dance and the UF Center for African Studies! AND....the Harn Museum of Dance, Gainesville's biggest and most unique dance event held annually in March.

Joan Frosch
Director, Center for World Arts
Specialization: Dance