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Saturday and Sunday
All of the drummers of Farafina Kan started playing at young ages—as 2-, 6-, and 8-year-olds. The dancers of the D.C. professional performing arts company also started early, studying movement before reaching their double-digit birthdays. But then, the members of Farafina Kan had an edge on other children their age—the men and women in the troupe were reared in companies dedicated to preserving traditional African dance and music. Their parents and elders immersed them in the Sankofa Dance Theatre, Kankouran West African Dance Company, and the Maimouna Keita West African Dance Company, among others. By mixing the styles of the companies in which its members were reared with their own generational influences, Farafina Kan melds reggae, blues, jazz, and hip-hop with the movement and sounds of West Africa’s Mande people. Because the company is so heavily influenced by the work of those who came before, it is dedicating an entire weekend of festivities to the parents and the communities “who have equipped us with the tools necessary to continue the mission of preserving African culture through music and dance.” In its last D.C. performance of the year, before heading to Guinea, Farafina Kan performs a show that is suitable for all ages yet still defers to the old folks. Farafina Kan performs at 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, and 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 3, at Dance Place, 3225 8th St. NE. $7–$20; free for one child 12 and under with a paying adult for the Sunday show. (202) 269-1600. (Sarah Godfrey)