AGBEDIDI is UF's West African music and dance ensemble. The troupe has become a great GATOR tradition and it is easy to see that it's message means more today than ever. African heritage is one of the great heritages of the United States. African ingenuity is embedded in American creative processes from fashion to poetry and from jazz to popular music and dance, and more. The more we learn about Africa, the more we know about our own 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” — abge meaning “life” and didi meaning “long.” In adopting the name AGBEDIDI, we honor Mr. Abgeli (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 ensemble of the Center for World Arts under the direction of Mohamed DaCosta, Senior Lecturer of African Performing Arts since 2001. Under Mohamed DaCosta's leadership, theatre, dance, and music students rehearse each week, along with general students of talent who enroll in the related preparatory and repertory classes; through music and dance, AGBEDIDI connects local and global communities as it advances cultural diversity in education, outreach, and performance.
Join us for the next performance of Agbedidi! November 19-22, 2018 in the Constans Theatre, Nadine McGuire Theatre and Dance Pavillion.
Individual tickets go on sale a minimum of two weeks prior to the first performance.
Using the dynamic processes of practice and performance, students embody cultural diversity. Through outreach, students share their growth to advance the cultural awareness of the greater community. Dance majors or minors register for the dance section of Agbedidi (DAA 2381 World Dance and Intecultural Performance/DaCosta) through the School of Theatre + Dance. Those not enrolled as dance students are encouraged to audition. Musicians can register for the music section of AGBEDIDI (MUN 2491 World Music Ensemble) by permission of the instructor through the School of Music. Though previous musical experience is helpful, it is not required. AGBEDIDI regularly collaborates with visiting artists and gives performances throughout the immediate community, the state of Florida, and beyond. Such a schedule requires considerable time in rehearsal and often necessitates travel to venues off campus. Ensemble members work directly with master musicians and dancers on a weekly basis, thus it is necessary for students to attend class regularly and be available for a number of performances throughout each semester. Those wishing to participate should consider these constraints when making a commitment to AGBEDIDI.
AGBEDIDI Africa provides priceless hands-on experience for UF students, beyond the dance studio. AGBEDIDI regularly performs at community-based festivals and special events. 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. AGBEDIDI AFRICA also works in conjunction with Artists-in-Residence to bring masters of the performing arts into local classrooms, confirming the Center's ongoing commitment to linking local and global communities through the arts.