We had the good fortune of connecting with Audrey Davis-Dunning and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Audrey, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I pursued a creative career simply for the JOY OF IT! AFRICAN DANCE GIVES ME LIFE! From the cultural connection to the music, to the movement, I feel driven to share these ancient steps. People find African Dance incredibly healing, fun, and empowering. I consider it an honor and privilege to be continuing this dance tradition.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’ve been teaching and performing traditional West African Dance for over twenty years, and it never gets old! It still brings me endless delight! I ABSOLUTELY LOVE being an entry point to this phenomenal art form for so many people. I am thrilled to watch them fall in love with African Dance! I pride myself on ushering them in with warmth and patience. I create a safe space for them to explore their personal artistry and let African Dance work its magic on them.
Currently, I’m super excited about MY TWINS! That’s what I call my book and corresponding online video course! The book I authored is called, KUCHEZA! The Basics, Beauty & Power of African Dance. It’s an introductory book to the wonderful world of African Dance! The terms, common movements, history, costumes, and more! People say they love my personal stories and how accessible I make the information. It’s a quick, fun, and informative read!
My online video course is also called “KUCHEZA” and in it, I teach my students Lamba (Lamban). The KUCHEZA Online African Dance Course is an opportunity for you to begin or continue your African Dance studies ANY TIME YOU WANT. It’s an easy-to-follow, informative video series. It has everything you need! I break everything down in bite-sized pieces so you can successfully jump in and dance!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If I had a week in L.A. I would love to visit the following locations with a friend:
The California African American Museum https://caamuseum.org/
The Lula Washington Dance Theater https://www.lulawashington.org/performances-tickets/events/
The Debbie Allen Dance Academy https://www.debbieallendanceacademy.com/
The Fowler Museum https://fowler.ucla.edu/africa/
Eso Won Books https://www.esowonbookstore.com/
I want to go to the museums and bookstores because I adore being immersed in African American History! I have my Master’s in African American History from Cornell University and I simply can’t get enough of this historical exploration. There are so many layers and fascinating stories to discover.
As an African Dancer, going to the Lula Washington Dance Theater and the Debbie Allen Academy would be a dream come true! Both of these women are dance pioneers, and I would love to be in their studios, attend a class and meet them (literally swooning at the thought).
I would like to eat at the following locations:
Sky Tacos https://skystacos.com/ – I think good tacos are a little bit of heaven on earth!
Earle’s Restaurant https://www.earlesrestaurant.com/ – Legendary hot dogs with several culinary twists! Count me in!
Little Kingston Jamaican Restaurant https://littlekingstonjamaicanrestaurantlosangeles.cafecityguide.website/ – My parents are from Jamaica! Let the childhood memories begin!
Meals by Genet http://mealsbygenetla.com/ – I LOVE Ethiopian food! The spices are out of this world!
Simply Wholesome https://www.simplywholesome.com/ – Good vegetarian fare is good for your body and soul!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d love to take this space to dedicate finding my passion to MY PARENTS! My brother and I always say, “WE HIT THE PARENT LOTTERY!” Their love and support have been foundational for me living courageously!