Executive Artistic Director/Choreographer Abdel R. Salaam and Executive Managing Director Olabamidele Husbands co-founded the Forces of Nature Dance Theatre Company in 1981. Forces of Nature has produced professional ballets, conducted dance classes and presented concerts and educational programs in New York City, the United States and throughout the world for over 32 years.
Within its first two decades, the company received funding from various federal and state agencies including the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council for the Arts. In recent years, Forces of Nature has received two National Dance Project grants from the New England Foundation for the Arts, including funding for creation and touring in over 22 cities during their 2002-03 touring season. The Company’s NDP-funded project Eclipse: Visions of the Crescent and the Cross is toured nationally during the 2007-08 and 208-09 seasons. Force’s of Nature’s cultural matrix is centered in an African and an American intelligence that is global and environmental. Its aesthetic has been critically acclaimed as visceral, thought provoking and creatively brilliant. Forces of Nature utilizes a unique blend of performing arts, which includes contemporary modern dance, traditional West African dance, ballet, house and hip-hop forms as well as live and recorded music and the martial arts.
The company has performed and toured widely throughout the U.S. and abroad. In addition to annual appearances at Aaron Davis Hall, the Apollo Theater in Harlem, and The Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Forces of Nature Dance Theatre Company has been presented by the Joyce Theater, the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s DanceAfrica Festival, the American Dance Festival, and the International Association of Blacks in Dance (IABD) conference, among many other venues.
Forces of Nature has also been presented as part of the First International Black Dance Festival (UK); the International Dance Festival in Aruba; the 2nd International Grand Festival of Mexico, receiving the National Critics and Theater Award for Best Dance Company and Most Outstanding New Choreographer; and the 12th Annual Festival for Peace in Moscow, as engaged in historic cultural exchange with members of the Bolshoi Ballet. Forces of Nature led the historical procession for Nelson Mandela during his first appearance in the United States in 1990.
In 2002, Forces of Nature was featured in the 3part PBS “Great Performances” special on the history of Black dance in the 20th Century entitled “Free to Dance”. Forces of Nature was also the featured dance company in a film project with the National Association of Black Museums on the influence of African American dance in Western culture entitled, “When the Spirit Moves”, culminating in an exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.
In addition to performing and touring widely throughout the U.S. and abroad, Forces of Nature has gained national and international recognition for its work with youth of all ages through workshops, master classes and training seminars. Through the development of ongoing programs offered to schools, community service organizations and cultural art institutions, the company currently in partnership with the Harlem Children Zone, has found that the arts coupled with informative, stimulating academic presentations and creative participation, serve as one of the best tools in educating our young and redirecting them toward a progressive alternative path.