AGBEDIDI is UF's West African music and dance ensemble. The troupe has become a GATOR institution and it's message means more today than ever. African ingenuity is one of the great heritages of the United States and is embedded in creative processes from fashion to poetry, to jazz to popular music and dance, and more. The more we learn about Africa, the more we know about "American" cultural forms. Inspired by Ewe master musician, Godwin Agbeli, UF’s inaugural African Artist-in-Residence, Larry Crook and Joan Frosch founded AGBEDIDI in fall 1995; and the success of AGBEDIDI inspired Dr. Crook and Dr. Frosch to create the Center for World Arts in spring 1996. AGBEDIDI translates from the Ewe language as “long life” — agbe meaning “life” and didi meaning “long.” In the name AGBEDIDI, we honor Mr. Agbeli (whose name means “there is life”) and foster a long and prosperous life for music and dance of Africa and the Diaspora. Tragically, Mr. Agbeli passed away in the spring of 1998, but his dedication to Africa's living traditions continues to inspire us. Today, AGBEDIDI thrives as a signature outreach ensemble of the Center for World Arts under the direction of Mohamed DaCosta, Senior Lecturer of African Performing Arts since 2001. In fall and spring semesters, theatre, dance, and music students rehearse each week, along with general students of talent who enroll in related preparatory and repertory classes; through music and dance, AGBEDIDI connects our local and global communities as it advances cultural diversity in education, outreach, and performance.
In November of each year as part of the mainstage season of the School of Theatre and Dance, AGBEDIDI celebrates the interactive continuum of traditional and contemporary dance on the stage of the Constans Theater. Because of their high level of training in West African dance and music—along with modern dance—student-performers have compellingly showcased the works of guest luminaries including Béatrice Kombé, Lacina Coulibaly, Faustin Linyekula, Jelón Vieira, Edileusa Dos Santos, Raja Kelly, among others.
Experience the upcoming School of Theatre and Dance mainstage performance of AGBEDIDI November 2018 in the Constans Theatre, Nadine McGuire Theatre and Dance Pavilion directed by Mohamed DaCosta and Trent D. Williams, Jr.
Individual tickets go on sale a minimum of two weeks prior to the first performance.
AGBEDIDI provides priceless hands-on outreach experiences for all interested UF students, beyond the dance studio. Most importantly, AGBEDIDI conducts fun and educational programs for young people of our community who may not otherwise encounter music and dance cultures of Africa. In concert with the Center for African Studies and other local partners, African performing arts enter local classrooms, confirming the Center's ongoing commitment to linking local and global communities through the arts.
Enrollment in West African Dance and Music (fall outreach and spring outreach) is your first step. You will have opportunities to share your growth to advance the cultural awareness of the greater community; and, after the completion of West African Dance and Music, you may take the opportunity to develop further as a performer in World Dance and Intercultural Performance (spring outreach). AGBEDIDI regularly collaborates with visiting artists and performs at community-based festivals and special events. Outreach participation requires considerable time in rehearsal and often necessitates travel to venues off-campus. Students must attend class regularly and will be asked to commit to a number of performances throughout each semester. Those wishing to participate should consider these constraints and opportunities when making a commitment to AGBEDIDI.