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UAlbany’s Performing Arts Center Celebrates 50th Year with African Dance, Music

The Saakumu Dance and Drum Ensemble From Ghana to Give a Free Performance at the PAC on April 16

The April 16 performance begins at 7p.m. at the PAC. (Photo courtesy of the Saakumu Dance Troupe)

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 9, 2019) – An evening of African dance and music will take place to celebrate the Performing Arts Center’s 50th anniversary this month. 

Saakumu, a dance and drum ensemble from Ghana, West Africa, will give a free performance at the PAC on Tuesday, April 16 at 7p.m.

The troupe’s diverse repertoire of spiritual, ceremonial, traditional and contemporary dance and music styles made Saakumu an ideal choice to celebrate PAC’s golden anniversary, said Kim Engel, associate director of the center.

She said the PAC opened its doors to the public at UAlbany on April 16, 1969.

“We wanted to hold this celebration on the exact day that our building became such a vibrant part of UAlbany,” Engel said.

Since opening, the center has drawn around 2 million audience members, according to Patrick Ferlo, director of the PAC. He said the PAC has sought to provide experiences that are “educational, thought-provoking and entertaining” for the 12,000 events that the center has hosted so far.

Ferlo cited partnerships with the Department of Music and Theatre, the PAC’s academic resident, UAlbany faculty from a range of disciplines and performing groups such as the Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company have helped fulfill the center’s commitment to providing high-quality facilities and staffing while supporting innovative artistic expression.

“We invite the campus to join us for this time of reflection and celebration as we commemorate the PAC as a vital part of UAlbany and the Capital Region, and we look forward to what the future will hold,” Ferlo said.

The PAC has also collaborated with area performing arts venues, schools and colleges, and other educational institutions to host local, national and international artists, according to Engel.

She said in the past 12 years, the PAC has hosted artists from China, Israel, Canada, India, Spain, Morocco, Argentina, Turkey, Zimbabwe and the Czech Republic.

A reception for audience members and the artists will take place in the PAC’s lounge following the Saakumu Dance Troupe's performance.

No tickets are required. For more information, contact PAC’s Box Office at (518) 442-3997 or visit the Performing Arts Center website.

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