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Artist & Scholar Residencies

The Center for World Performance Studies (CWPS) brings international performers and scholars to campus through the Artist Residency program. The program seeks to pair artists from abroad with University of Michigan faculty who share an interest or expertise in the same genre or tradition. Faculty members participate and/or host artists as they present in forums such as class lectures, demonstrations, public presentations, and performances.

Academic Year 2018-2019

JIT Exchange
in residence September 10-14, 2018

The University of Michigan’s Center for World Performance Studies and the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, in collaboration with Zimbabwean Cultural Centre of Detroit, will host five prominent artists and scholars from Detroit and Zimbabwe, in an exchange project that investigates cross-cultural encounters and cultural organizing for political and social change, particularly in dance and film.

The JIT Exchange was initiated through the Zimbabwean Cultural Centre in Detroit (ZCCD) with dancer/choreographers Haleem “Stringz” Rasul (Detroit) and Franco “Slomo” Dakha (Harare). The initial exchange began through a ZCCD “call and response” project where both artists collaborated virtually, dancing to the others music. Though the music was foreign - ghetto techno vs. rumba - they each danced in their own regional “jit” style. The uncanny parallel in historical narrative along with similarity of the footwork in the dance styles, led to the collaborative project, the JIT Exchange.

During the first phase of the project, Rasul spent six weeks in Harare, researching Zimbabwe “jit,” or “jiti” as pronounced in Shona, running workshops throughout the country on Detroit jit, and worked collaboratively with Franco Dakha. To bring the project full circle, ZCCD, in partnership with U-M, invited Dakha, filmmaker Kumbulani Zamuchiya and cultural historian Plot Mhako, to spend an immersive six weeks in Detroit. During this time, Haleem Rasul will serve as a King•Chavéz•Parks Visiting Professor, participating in panel discussions, class visits and dance workshops. Rasul will also spearhead a collaborative project in which dancers will “jam” with musicians from the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance, allowing the cultural exchange to expand even further across disciplines. Drawing inspiration from from post-colonial theorist Homi Bhaba’s Third Space, the JIT Exchange allows for artistic exploration in the liminal territory created in cross-cultural encounter, “which gives rise to something different, something new and unrecognizable, a new area of negotiation of meaning and representation.”  

Full schedule of JIT Exchange events available here.

This residency is co-sponsored by the African Studies Center, King•Chavéz•Parks Visiting Professors Program and the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, U-M Residential College, U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance, and the University of Michigan Museum of Art.


Academic Year 2017-2018

Yissy García & Bandancha
in residence February 8-12, 2018

University of Michigan Center for World Performance Studies hosts the sensational young Cuban drummer, Yissy García and her band Bandancha from February 8-12, 2018. The highlight of this four day residency will be a performance by the band at the Michigan League Ballroom at 8pm on Friday, February 9, followed by a dance set by DJ Jigüe.

Growing up the daughter of famed drummer Bernardo García in Cayo Hueso, a neighborhood in Havana considered the cradle of rumba and Afro Cuban rhythms, Yissy García was already immersed in the tradition when she discovered jazz as a teenager. But the founding of her own band, Bandancha, was rooted in a desire to see people dance to her music. In her words, “The reason I put this band, this fusion, together is because I love to see people dancing, enjoying themselves and ignoring that chip that says that jazz is not for dancing.” To accomplish this task, she recruited well known Cuban DJ El Jigue, accomplished in the hip hop art of scratching, who plays live with the rest of the musicians in the group. Not only do Yissy & Bandancha exemplify the adaptation of traditional music to new forms and younger audiences, but also the adaptation of technology to a new performance environment.

The residency will also  include class visits across several U-M schools and departments, a panel discussion on gender in Cuban performance practices and music workshops open to the entire community. The ensemble will do a more intimate performance and artist Q & A at the Carr Center in Detroit on Sunday, February 11 at 3pm.
All events are free and open to the public.

This residency is co-sponsored by the U-M Residential College, U-M Center for the Education of Women, U-M Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, U-M Vice Provost for Global Engagement & Interdisciplinary Academic Affairs, U-M Department of Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation and U-M Institute for Research on Women & Gender.

National Theatre of Ghana
in residence September 12-17, 2017

University of Michigan Center for World Performance Studies (CWPS) hosted the National Theatre of Ghana in residence from September 12-17, including a series of open air performances of 10 Blocks on the Camino Real, by Tennessee Williams. In this one-act play, the company-better known by the name “Abibigromma” in Ghana- integrated song, dialogue and dance to tell the story of how the American hero Kilroy enters the pantheon of heroes by losing his innocence. In addition to outdoor performances in the Diag, Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market, Ypsilanti Depot Town Farmer’s Market and CMAP Detroit, the members of the ensemble visited classes in the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, Rackham and the Residential College. They also conducted two public master classes, and workshops with high school aged students at Ann Arbor Community High School and Mosaic Youth Theater Detroit.

This residency was co-sponsored by the African Studies Center, Carrie Morris Arts Production, International Institute, Residential College, and the School of Music, Theatre & Dance.

Academic Year 2016 - 2017

Winter 2017


Maha-Laya ft. T H Subash Chandran & Ganesh Kumar
in residence April 11-13, 2017

Master percussionists T H Subash Chandran and his former student Ganesh Kumar traveled to Ann Arbor with their five-piece ensemble for a three day residency at the University of Michigan, including a final performance at Rackham Auditorium, which also featured performers from the U-M Department of Jazz & Contemporary Improvisation in a transcultural collaborative performance. While on campus, the artists attended classes in the fields of Performance Studies, Art History and Asian Culture, and also conducted a percussion master class at the Residential College.

Watch the concert at Rackham Auditorium here.

Academic Year 2015 - 2016

Fall 2015

Janusz Prusinowski Kompania “Wild Music from the Heart of Poland”
Thursday, November 12, 2015
Rackham Auditorium

The Janusz Prusinowski Kompania visited the University of Michigan for one week during November of 2015. The Janusz Prusinowski Kompania is comprised of seven musicians and dancers who specialize in Mazurka music and Polish folk dance. While in Ann Arbor the group promoted it’s new album, "Knee-deep in Heaven,” which was produced in 2014 and inspired after a year of international music exploration. While on campus, the group delivered a lecture, facilitated instrumental and dance workshops, and performed two concerts. The final concert was a CWPS Signature Event.

About the concert: Anyone who has ever been to a village wedding in Poland will remember the intensity of the music, singing and dancing. Swinging songs, melodies and rhythms, simple but sophisticated in its polyrhythms, become visible and clear through the steps and movements of the dancers. This "wild music" carries both the experience of something really ancient yet authentically rooted in the here and now. We would like to share the music we learned from our Village Masters that we love with all our hearts: mazureks, obereks, kujawiaks, wiwats and polonaises - played, sung and danced.

Wild Music from the Heart of Poland is part of the Campus Project organized by This residency was also co-sponsored by CPPS and the Department of Dance.


Winter 2016


Yamakiya Taiko Ensemble 
in residence March 20 - 25, 2016

Organized by Erik Santos (U-M Associate Professor of Composition and Performing Arts & Technology), Toko Shiiki-Santos (Video Director), and Brian Sole (Director, Raion Taiko, Great Lakes Taiko Center), and co-sponsored by the Center for World Performance Studies and the Center for Japanese Studies, we welcomde the Yamakiya Taiko Ensemble to the University of Michigan between March 20 - 25, 2016. During their stay, the Yamakiya Ensemble will conducted taiko workshops at the School of Music, Theatre and Dance. The Yamakiya Ensemble are also performed a free concert on Tuesday, March 22, 2016 at 7:00 pm at the Power Center. In addition to the concert, there was a free film screening of the movie "Threshold: Whispers of Fukushima" at Stamps Auditorium on Thursday, March 24, 2016, followed by a brief post-concert by Yamakiya Taiko.


Prof. Kofi Opoku (Africa University College of Communications-Ghana)
in residence April 4 - 6, 2016

Prof. Kofi Opoku presented the lecture, "Water to Swallow the Pill of Wisdom: Humour in African Proverbs" for the DAAS Africa Workshop in April 2016. Professor Kofi Asare Opoku was a Research Fellow in Religion and Ethics at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana (1967-1994), when he retired. He is the author of Speak to the Winds: Proverbs from Africa (1975); West African Traditional Religion(1978); Healing for God’s World: Remedies from Three Continents, with Kim Yong Bock & Antoinette Wire (1990); Hearing and Keeping: Akan Proverbs (1997); Togbi Adawuso Dofe: Mami Water in the Eve Tradition,with Kathleen O’Brien Wicker (2007); Healing and Prophecy at Mehu: The Life and Work of Prophet Jenasman Kwadwo Amoaforo, with Kathleen O’Brien Wicker and Margaret Naiandrina Streetor (2012), and many articles in learned journals.

Seprewa (Akan Harp) Master, Osei Korankye
in residence April 4 - 7, 2016

CWPS welcomed Osei Korankye to the University of Michigan for multiple class visits across campus. Osei Korankye is the captivating flag bearer of Ghana’s seperewa tradition. The seperewa is the harp of the Akan people of Ghana and has its roots  in the Sahelian north. The instrument prospered for centuries, beginning as a court instrument for Asante kings from where it diffused into village life among various Akan groups. As guitar playing spread from the coast in the early 1900s, it took on the musical style of the seperewa while replacing its role in performances. These days, the seperewa is a fading voice in Ghana’s vibrant musical landscape. 

Academic Year 2014-2015

Winter 2015

Dobet Gnahoré
Friday, January 16, 2015
Michigan Theater, 603 E Liberty St

The Center for World Performance Studies presented a concert by Dobet Gnahoré, a singer, dancer and percussionist from the Ivory Coast for this year's CWPS Signature event. Dobet inherited the force of the “Bété“ tradition from her father, Boni Gnahoré, a master percussionist who plays with the Abidjan-based Ki-Yi Mbock Company, directed by Werewere Liking. In this artistic collective, Dobet learned music, dance, and theatre for several years. Eventually, she met French guitarist Colin Laroche de Féline, who went to the Ivory Coast to immerse himself in African melodies and rhythms. In 1999 and having spent some time in the well-known Tché Tché dance company, Dobet and Colin decided to form the duo, Ano Neko, which means “Let’s create together“ in Bété language. Dobet’s powerful and lovely voice, her charisma, and her energetic performances continue to captivate audiences all over the world.

Dobet also performed in a CWPS Signature event in the Winter of 2013.

Academic Year 2013-2014

 Fall 2013

Dr. Rajeeb Chakraborty and Pandit Samar Saha "An Evening of Hindustani Classical Music"
Monday, September 30, 2013
Stamps Auditorium, 1226 Murfin Ave.

An authentic Indian musical performance with sarod player Dr. Rajeeb Chakraborty and tabla player Pandit Samar Saha, two renowned visiting artists from Kolkata, India. 

The concert was co-sponsored by the School of Music, Theatre and Dance; Patient and Family Support Services at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center; Center for South Asian Studies; Medical Arts Program at the U-M Medical School; King Chavez Parks Visiting Professors Program; and the Office of the Senior Vice Provost. 

Watch the video HERE. 


Winter 2014

Pandit Sanjoy Bandopadhyay "An Evening of Hindustani Classical Music"
Thursday, February 13, 2014
UMMA, 525 South State St. 

The Center for World Performance Studies presented a concert of Hindustani classical music with Pandit Sanjoy Bandopadhyay, an internationally recognized sitar player known for his exceptional spontaneity in musical expressions. As a top-grade artist of All India Radio, Pandit Sanjoy Bandopadhyay is frequently featured in national TV and radio channels in India and other countries. Sanjoy is also the Ustad Alauddin Khan Professor of Instrumental Music at the Rabindra Bharati University in Kolkata, India, and is involved in a number of national and international research projects. 

The concert was part of the LSA Theme Semester, India in the World, and was co-sponsored by UMMA. 

Academic Year 2012-2013

Fall 2012

Grupo Tucandira
Monday, October 8, 2012
Michigan League Ballroom

Columbian vocalists and musicians Nadith Johana Senejoa Cristancho, Rosny Portaccio Fontalvo, Arecio Manjarres Garcia, Yudi Helena Pardo Santamaria, and Yesid Castro Triana comprise the group Grupo Tucandíra, directed by Arecio Manjarres García. On October 8, 2012, they performed music from the Llano region of the Meta province of Columbia. The group performed on a variety of instruments, including the harp specific to the Llano region; the cuatro, a small four-string guitar; the pentola, a five-string guitar; the transversal flute; and percussion instruments such as the maracas.  

The concert was sponsored by CWPS and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies.


Winter 2013

Dobet Gnahore and Acoustic Africa: music and dance, Ivory Coast

Dobet Gnahoré and Acoustic Africa is a unique, one-of-a-kind music group that introduced music and dance from Francophone Africa to the University of Michigan. While in Ann Arbor, they performed the largest event ever organized by CWPS at Hill Auditorium; “Dobet Gnahoré & Acoustic Africa in collaboration with the UMMA Exhibition El-Anatsui: When I Last wrote to you about Africa.” This group also participated in class presentations including Race and Identity in Music by Professor Naomi Andre from the Residential College, African Musics and Culture and Arts in Cultural Contexts by Professor Kwasi Ampene and Naomi Andre, and Introduction to African Studies by Professor Omalade Adunbi, Department of Afroamerican and African Studies. They also held a roundtable discussion titled, “Music and the Experience of Female Performance” with Professor Frieda Ekotto from the Humanities Institute. They also participated in a Balofone Workshop at the School of Music with Professor Jonathan Ovalle.

CWPS and UMMA were co-sponsors.

Dates: 2/18/13 – 2/21/13

Dobet GnahoréWebsite

Academic Year 2011-2012

Winter 2012

Vusi Mahlasela: Singer-songwriter, South Africa

Vusi Mahlasela is a singer-songwriter and poet-activist. While at the University of Michigan, he visited many classes including a combined class: "Performing Arts and Power in Africa" taught by Professor Kwasi Ampene and "Arts in Cultural Contexts" taught  by Professor Naomi Andre, "Introduction to African Studies" taught by Professor Omolade Adunbi, Social Science Seminar on South Africa by Professor Adam Ashforth, and "Introduction to World Music" taught by Professor Meilu Ho. Additional events included film Screening of the “Amandla” documentary with DAAS in the Lemuel Johnson Center.

CWPS and DAAS were co-sponsors.

Dates: 1/10/12 – 1/14/12

Rony Barrak and The Fontomfrom Drum and Dance Ensemble: Percussion and dance, Lebanon and Ghana

Rony Barrak is a Lebanese percussionist best known for his mastery of the darbuka, a goblet-shaped hand drum. He is also a composer and producer who has a leading presence in collaborations in jazz, funk, percussion and classical, as well as Arabic and Latin musical styles. The Fontomfrom Drum & Dance Ensemble are master drummers and dancers and former members of the National Dance Company based at the Center for National Culture in Kumasi, Ghana. While at the University of Michigan, they participated in classes including Performing Arts and Power in Africa by Professor Kwasi Ampene, Africanist Dance History class by Professor Robin Wilson, Introduction to African Studies Class by Professor Adunbi Omolade, Introduction to World Music class by Professor Meilu Ho, a Percussion Studies Master class, and a Dance Class by Professor Biza Sompa. Additionally, they performed a concert at U of M hospital and Carpenter Middle School. Their culminating signature event was a public performance in collaboration with the Creative Arts Orchestra and Percussion Studies Master Class in Palmer Commons.

Co-sponsors were: CWPS, Africanist Dance Traditions (Department of Dance) and Percussion Studies (School of Music, Theater and Dance)

Dates: Residency 3/25/12 – 3/31/12; Concert on March 31, 2012