DanceAfrica, part of the Winter/Spring Season, is BAM's longest running program and America's largest celebration of African and African-American dance, music, and culture. Founded in 1977 by artistic director Chuck Davis with the aim of heightening awareness of African culture, the festival has evolved into a beloved annual Memorial Day weekend event that brings together the community. Over the years, the festival has expanded to several major cities, and in 2015, the leadership baton was passed to Abdel R. Salaam.
Each year DanceAfrica welcomes artists from the African diaspora at the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House. The performances include other traditional and contemporary dance companies, including students of BAM/Restoration DanceAfrica Ensemble, plus live music. The weekend-long festival also includes master classes, community events, film screenings, an art exhibition, and the one-and-only DanceAfrica outdoor bazaar, a global marketplace of African, African-American, and Caribbean arts, crafts, and food featuring over 200 vendors and attracting up to 30,000 visitors per year.