In spring 2009 and summer 2013, Ama Oforiwaa Aduonum, a professor in the School of Music at Illinois State University, walked through several slaveholding dungeons—the wombs in which enslaved Africans were born—on Gorée Island, Senegal, and Elmina and Cape Coast, Ghana. She sat in those cells, and listened to and reflected on the past and present. Interacting with her surroundings imaginatively, these spaces and objects—the women’s dungeons, men’s dungeons, governor’s balcony, condemn cell, door of no return, branding irons—spoke, cried, sang, and “talked back” to her. She conversed with spirits of her ancestors and began a creative dialogue in the form of a diary, poetry, music, and dance(s) with the ghosts that haunt those holding cells.

“Walking With My Ancestors” is a performance art piece that addresses longing, loss, identity, memory, separation, violence, death, and more.

This piece will receive its world premiere November 6, 2014, in a production directed by Professor Kim Pereira of the School of Theatre and Dance at Illinois State University. The production will be at New Route Theatre in Normal, November 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, and 15 at 7:30 p.m., and November 9 and 16 at 2:30 p.m. For more information, contact

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