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AUGUST 29-SEPTEMBER 1
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In late June, the city informed KanKouran West African Dance Company that the building that housed its studios was being condemned for structural damage. The company only had a few hours to evacuate everything, and its annual fund-raising performance was just weeks away. But with years of experience and an indefatigable creative spirit, the company has managed to overcome this latest crisis. This year’s concert, “Kounou,” which means “yesterday” in Wolof, explores the links between African, Caribbean, and African-American forms of spiritual expression and healing. Artistic director Assane Konte consistently combines dance, music, and theater to great effect, but the spectacle begins well before the curtain rises. Regular patrons of this annual gala pull out their best African regalia and turn the lobby of Lisner into an international fashion runway. In conjunction with the performance, the 14th Annual African Dance and Drum Conference—the largest of its kind in the country—brings together master artists from the U.S. and Africa for several days of open workshops running from 6-9:15 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-8:15 p.m. Sunday, and 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Monday at Howard University Men’s Gym, 6th & Girard Sts. NW. $12-15. The “Kounou” performance is at 8 p.m. Saturday at George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium, 730 21st St. NW. $18. For reservations call (202) 396-0841. (Holly Bass)