MDI Merseyside Dance Initiative
Inspiring people through dance

African People’s Dance

From dance hall and jazz to capoeira and street dance, many modern dance forms owe their existence to the movement of African people and their cultures across the globe.

Many dance artists continue to be inspired by African dance, practising different forms, exploring the meeting of traditional and contemporary and creating new styles that reflect their own journeys around culture and identity.

Due to its history as a major port and trading city both during and after the slave trade, Liverpool naturally has strong links with Africa and the Caribbean and has large communities of refugees, asylum seekers and migrant workers from these areas. MDI has a history of working with communities from the African diaspora both directly and indirectly. The vast majority of work with target communities and individuals has taken place under the banner of African Peoples’ Dance (APD).

MDI is committed to promoting equality in the arts and to improve access to and participation in the arts in order to broaden arts audiences, and since it started in 1993 has worked to develop African People’s Dance (APD). Our main aims are to support artists and companies creating and performing APD work; to promote cultural understanding and present a positive image of African culture by taking African dance into areas where it wouldn’t normally be seen; and to foster community cohesion by encouraging participation, especially by young people, in African dance.

In 1994 MDI held its first African dance workshops in Liverpool, including a summer school and performance project with Badejo Arts. Since the appointment of APD dance worker Maxine Brown in 2002, MDI has produced regular summer schools of African dance and drumming, sharing of work and residencies such as A Boys’ Project led by Francis Angol as part of the MDI Artist in Residence Scheme. 

Currently MDI offers African dance classes for adults. For details go to What’s On.