The 2022/2023 Etherredge Center Cultural series will end with a bang.
African Soul International, a nonprofit dance troupe specializing in drumming, storytelling and movement from West African culture, will close out the series with a performance at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 30.
West African dance is a way for people to express themselves spiritually and socially during life events such as birth, death, hardship, war and times of celebration. African Soul International’s mission is to preserve the best of this African culture through its art. African Soul does not create its dances; instead, the troupe preserves the African traditions shared for generations.
The group is comprised of a professional artistic team based in Los Angeles, along with master artists from Guinea, Senegal, Mali, Congo, Liberia and The Gambia. African Soul has toured worldwide, presenting high-class performances, interactive school workshops and corporate conferences.
African Soul has also broken into the film industry and has been featured in commercials for Adidas and Toyota and even a music video with Beyoncé. They boast of having touched over 100,000 lives, bringing communities together wherever they go.
Established in 1998 by Dr. Adama Jewel Jackson, African Soul International was created to help the young people in her Cleveland, Ohio, community learn about their authentic culture. She said this history was not available to her when she was a child and she wanted others to know there were more than just stereotypes.
Jackson has been studying West African dance since the age of 18, amassing over 25 years of experience, which she described as life-changing. She has worked with the National Ballet of Senegal, the Ballet Merveilles and Les Ballets Africains dance companies in Guinea. Jackson has won several congressional awards for her work, the most recent being in 2019 for community service.
Tickets to the performance range from $25 to $50 for adults, with discounts for seniors. Student tickets are $5. For more information or to purchase tickets, call the Etherredge Center box office at 803-641-3305 or visit etherredgecenter.universitytickets.com. Tickets can also be purchased in person at 340 Scholar Loop.