Agbedidi is UF's West African music and dance ensemble. 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 Professor of Dance Joan Frosch founded Agbedidi in fall 1995. Agbedidi translates from the Ewe language as “long life” — agbe meaning “life” and didi meaning “long.” The ensemble's name honors 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.
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.
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 Theatre. 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.