Black History Month At PAFA

Passport Dance: Kulu Mele

Event Information
Rhoden Arts Center
Samuel M.V. Hamilton Building
Join Us
General Public
Free with museum admission.
Lori Waselchuk
Photo of five dancers in bright orange African print costumes. The troupe is on a stage with three blue stage lights abover their heads.

The Kulu Mele African Dance & Drum Ensemble will present traditional dance and music of Africa and the African diaspora. For this special afternoon performance you will experience dances like the Tansole, a Malian celebration dance, and the Fule Fare, a Guinea dance of the Falani people. Learn about the origin of the drum and take part in a dance that teaches the relation between drummers and dancers. 

Kulu Mele carries the torch for culture. Established in Philadelphia in 1969 by Baba Robert Crowder, Kulu Mele is the fruit of many peoples’ dreams, the nation’s longest-enduring African dance company. For 50+ years, Kulu Mele has embodied excellences in West Africa, Cuban and African Diasporan traditions, including contemporary American hip hop.

Free with museum admission. 

Black and white photograph of John Rhoden and two unidentified men in front of a pyramid. Rhoden is wearing a headscarf and another man is wearing a fez.

Passport Dance is inspired by the American sculpture John Rhoden (1916 - 2001), who was an accomplished, world-traveled artist. John Rhoden made every effort to meet new people anywhere he went. He developed networks with international artists, sharing skills, techniques, and ideas along the way. Rhoden attended the American Academy in Rome from 1951 to 1954 first on a Fulbright Fellowship and then the Prix de Rome. Rhoden was selected by the United States Department of State to serve as an art specialist from 1955 through 1959 as a part of the International Cultural Exchange and Fair Participation Act of 1956 (ambassadors were sent as early as 1954). During this service, he visited over 20 countries [including Iceland, Ireland, Finland, Norway, Italy, Germany, Turkey, Egypt, Kenya, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Uganda, Tanganyika (now Tanzania), Zanzibar (now Tanzania), the USSR, Poland, India, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Korea, Japan, the Philippines, and the Soviet Union] in an official capacity. Learn more about this extraordinary artist in the exhibition, Determined To Be: The Sculpture of John Rhoden, and the John Rhoden Digital Archives.