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CHICAGO — Chicago’s Muntu Dance Theatre is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Regina Perry-Carr has been connected to Muntu Dance Theatre since childhood. Now, she’s the theater’s artistic director.

“Muntu Dance Theatre within the city of Chicago has a 50-year track record of preserving and representing the African diaspora and keeping and holding traditions of West African dance,” Perry-Carr said.

Muntu started in Chicago in 1972 and the artists continue to draw from their training and travel, sharing the spirit and joy of West African dance. 

“That’s what’s so overjoying about the Muntu experience because there’s always room for that self-expression even though there are years and years of training and you never stop training, there’s always that moment for that artistic expression and that artistic sharing,” Perry-Carr said.

This year, Muntu is celebrating its 50th anniversary season, which includes the return of DanceAfrica Chicago events. Later this year, the company will embark on its first international tour since the start of the pandemic. 

“Muntu resides in the spirit of humanity, so celebrating the human experiences,” Perry-Carr said.

Sekou Conde’s experience with Muntu also dates back to childhood. His father performed with the group in the early years.

“I was always around all of the rehearsals as a child and began to perform with them at the young age of four,” said Conde, who revealed his passion is the drum. “It is the foundation for which their movement moves.”

Conde also serves as Muntu’s executive director.

“To be in this position I’m in now is a very honoring and humbling experience because I understand I am actually standing on the shoulders of those who came before me,” Conde said.

Conde and others are carrying the torch and sharing Muntu’s rich cultural legacy for years to come. 

“For over 50 years, Muntu has been a beacon of light in the city and my purpose is to keep that beacon of light just as bright and make it brighter,” Conde said.

NEXT PERFORMANCE: Saturday, June 25th for “DanceAfrica Chicago: Roots” at the Harris Theater.