Hearst Choreographer-in-Residence Olivier Tarpaga, artistic director of Nomad Express International MultiArts Festival in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, presents this new work that uses a soundtrack created by the choreographer’s father’s band to visually connect the 1960s Sub-Saharan African independence movements to the painful fight for Civil Rights in the United States.


Tickets are $12 in advance of show dates, $12 seniors/$10 students (or FREE for Princeton students using Tiger Tickets through Passport to the Arts), and $17 purchased the day of performances at the box office. Purchase tickets online through University Ticketing, by calling 609-258-9220, or in person at the Frist Campus Center Ticket Office. NOTE: Ticket sales are going quickly; a stand-by line will form starting 30 min. before each performance.


The presentation of “When Birds Refused to Fly” was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Also presented by the Lewis Center for the Art’s Program in Dance and Princeton University’s Department of Music.



Photo courtesy of Olivier Tarpaga

OLIVIER TARPAGA is artistic director of Nomad Express International MultiArts Festival in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso; founder and artistic director of the internationally-acclaimed Dafra Drum and Dafra Kura Band; and co-founder of Baker + Tarpaga Dance Project. He danced with David Rousseve/Reality from 2006 to 2009. In 2008, Tarpaga was commissioned by Zig Zag Ballet to choreograph Visage at the Rich Forum Stanford Center for the Arts in Connecticut. He is currently a senior lecturer at the Department of Dance of the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and has taught in the Program in Dance at Princeton University, the School of Music of The Ohio State University, the Department of Drama and Dance at Kenyon College, Ohio, the Department of Dance at Denison University, Ohio, the University of Iowa, and the World Arts and Cultures Department at University of California Los Angeles. Tarpaga has performed and taught dance in more than 50 countries throughout Africa, Europe, the Americas, Asia and Australia. He performed as part of the Festival of the Arts that opened the Lewis Arts complex in October 2017.




“Baker & Tarpaga Dance Project Takes Flight,” written by Lisa Jo Sagolla for US1, October 9, 2019.

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