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Artistic Director / Choreographer

ABDEL R. SALAAM

Abdel R. Salaam is the Executive Artistic Director/Co-Founder of Forces of Nature Dance Theatre (FONDT) founded in 1981. Born in Harlem, New York, Abdel, is a critically acclaimed choreographer and in the past, served as a dancer, teacher and/or performing artist in five continents throughout his 49 year career in the Dance World. He has received numerous awards and fellowships for excellence in Dance including the National Endowment for the Arts, The New England Foundation on the Arts, Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York Foundation for the Arts, The New York State Council for Arts, The National Council for Arts and Culture and Herbert H. Lehman College. He and his company received the 2013 Audelco Award for Dance Company of the Year. He has served as a choreographer and/or director for the New York Shakespeare Festival, The Billie Holiday Theater, The Apollo Theater, The Winter Solstice at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, The New York Musical Theater Festival, BAM, Black Dance USA and The Tennessee Performing Arts Festival. Some of his specific commercial credits in theater , film and television include: “Measure for Measure,” New York Shakespeare Festival (Choreographer ) ; “Pecong”, Newark Symphony Hall (Choreographer); “TUT”, New York Musical Theatre Festival, (Director /Choreographer); ”Ebony Magic: The Life and Legend of Marie Laveau”, Aaronow Theater, (Director/Choreographer); “JuJu Man“ , Billie holiday Theater (Director/ Choreographer); “ The Liberation of Mother Goose”, Billie Holiday Theater ( Director Choreographer); “Eclipse; Visions of the Crescent and the Cross”, Tennessee Performing Arts Center (Director/Choreographer); “Free to Dance “, PBS Channel 13 (Choreographer); “ Expressions in Black; The Story of a People, ABC ( Choreographer); “ The Richard Pryor Show”, NBC ( Dancer); and “ Black Nativity” Fox Searchlight Films ( Performing Artist). Abdel has created ballets for Philadanco , Joan Miller Chamber Arts/ Dance Players, The Chuck Davis Dance Company , Union Dance Theater (London), Ballet Islenos ( Puerto Rico), Sakoba Dance Theater (London), Muntu Dance Theater, The Nashville Ballet, The African American Dance Ensemble and Gywa Maten. Mr. Salaam has served on the faculties of the American Dance Festivals in the United States and Seoul, Korea, Herbert H. Lehman College , The Alvin Ailey American Dance Center , The Restoration Youth Arts Academy and The Harlem Children’s Zone. Mr. Salaam is the creator of the Kwanzaa Regeneration Night Celebration in Harlem, now 38 years old, which was inspired by the teachings of its visionary creator and founder of Kwanzaa, Dr. Maulana Karenga. Mr. Salaam is also the Artistic Director of Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Dance Africa, originally founded by the late Chuck Davis in 1977 and is the recipient of the 2017 Bessie Award for Outstanding Production of “The Healings Sevens” and the 2019 American Dance Guild Award for Excellence in Dance.