Bringing Africa to America, one dancer at a time
About the Organization
Founded in 2014 and based in Watsonville, Gâta Bantu is a dance company comprised of Congolese dancers and drummers. Through teaching, performing, and organizing cultural conferences throughout the Santa Cruz and Bay area, Gata Bantu seeks to not only share the rich tradition of Congolese dance and drumming, but to also provide opportunities for master artists to share their talents with the local communities. It was created by Arnaud Loubayi and Arnold Balekita with the belief that dance is a powerful medium that allows people from different backgrounds to connect and reach greater understanding.
Living Cultures Grant
Ha Mbongui African Dance and Drum Conference
In 2020 and 2021, grants from ACTA’s Living Cultures Grant Program supported Gâta Bantu’s annual Ha Mbongui African Dance and Drum Conference, a three-day conference in Santa Cruz featuring master artists in traditional dance, drum, and song, from Congo, Haiti, Guinea, and Senegal. Since 2017, the Ha Mbongui African Dance and Drum Conference has provided a platform for African master teachers to share their deep knowledge of African Diaspora dance traditions with approximately 350 annual participants from Santa Cruz and the Bay Area.