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Professional African drum and dance show on June 21

Bi-Okoto Drum and Dance Theatre is set to perform in Park Rapids on Wednesday, June 21. Their mission is to preserve, promote and share the cultural heritage of Africa and Africans using drums, music, dance, food, languages and other arts. (Submitted photo)

An evening performance will bring the audience on an interactive journey from the U.S. to West Africa.

The Bi-Okoto Drum and Dance Theatre, a professional African dance company, will perform at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 21 at the Century School gymnasium.

Park Rapids Community Education, the Park Rapids Area Library and Park Rapids Lakes Area Arts Council are sponsoring the event. There is no admission charge.

The troupe performs a broad range of dance dialects and styles, showcasing excerpts from various tribes from Nigeria, Ghana, Guinea and Senegal using authentic costumes, props and instruments.

With a focus on interactivity, the audience also may engage with drummers and dancers to learn common greetings in various languages, historical facts, geographic locations, science and environment conditions as well as folk stories to compare and contrast their citizenship, cultural morals and values to different types of people.

Bi-Okoto envisions a world where individuals, families and communities take pride in their cultural heritage while appreciating the cultural expression of others. The mission of Bi-Okoto is to preserve, promote and share the cultural heritage of Africa and Africans using drums, music, dance, food, languages and other arts.

Bi-Okoto currently tours and performs in 48 states and the artists also tour internationally.

Established in 1994, Bi-Okoto was incorporated in August 1996 as a non-profit multicultural performing arts organization. It is based in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The performers also will be giving an afternoon workshop for students enrolled in the Century Adventures program.

This activity is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Region 2 Arts Council funded by an appropriation from the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the State's general fund.

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