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Mimoda Studio Theatre
Los Angeles, CA
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Choreographed, written, and directed by Kara Mack, The Essence is a unique approach to the retelling of the multiple realities of Africa.  For the first time on a Los Angeles stage, dancers and drummers from West Africa, Brazil, Cuba, and the United States will unite for a single purpose.  The Essence utilizes traditional African performance genres to convey the historical, cultural, and spiritual connections between the three distinct pieces, appropriately titled "Essence," "Breakthrough," and "Liberation."

Showcasing song and percussion, "Essence" tells the story of the Mali Empire, starting from the rule of Sundiata Keita through the trajectory of his legacy of what is now preserved in the Diaspora - particularly in Cuba and Brazil.  Though innumerable religions are practiced in the Diaspora, Africans' spiritual conviction is the point on which this piece pivots.  With a strong belief that reality and spirituality are inextricably bound "Essence" emphasizes this experience for Africans in the Diaspora.

"The Breakthrough," the second piece, is a transcendent, personal narrative of a man facing the eventuality of becoming a slave in the New World.  Picking up on the thread from the previous piece, "The Breakthough" demonstrates how deep the strong belief in spiritual protection runs in African cultures.  Captivating Orisha dances help the man understand his role in the destiny of his progeny.

The culminating performance, "Liberation," presents an innovative fusion of traditional rhythms to highlight how religious music and dance was secularized into popular culture.  The people in the Caribbean hybridized the music and dances of the Orixas resulting in the creation of rumba, samba, salsa, merengue, and so many more!  All of the traditional rhythms from the performance will be played in harmony producing a new, cathartic sound.  "Liberation" challenges the audience to answer the question: Where do we go from here?

The Essence is necessary for the Los Angeles community because it reveals a universal message of Unity through Spirit. The Essence is a first step on a bridge of hope  a performance whose spirit begins to heal the rift and declare that we will always have a common ground.


Kara Mack

Musical Director
Kahlil Cummings

Co-Producer/Assistant Choreographer
Dani Lunn

Dance Ensemble/Cast
Kara Mack
Dani Lunn
Marjorie Jean
Amber Suitt George
Nagode Simpson
Jahanna Blunt
Juresha Maples
Claudio Henrique
Barron Lightner
Special Guests....

Drum Ensemble/Singers
Kahlil Cummings
Nikki Campbell
Andrew Kemble
Alberto Lopez
Jelani Blunt
Evan Greer
Mestre Amen Santo
Dana Maman
Special Guests...


Mimoda Studio Theatre (View)
5774 W. Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90019
United States


Arts > Dance
Arts > Performance
Arts > Theatre
Arts > Visual
Music > Folk
Music > Global
Music > World
Other > Family-Friendly
Other > Spiritual

Minimum Age: 13
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!


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