BAM Affiliation Abdel R. Salaam became DanceAfrica’s artistic director in 2016. He is also the executive artistic director/co-founder of Forces of Nature Dance Theatre (FONDT) founded in 1981. Born in Harlem, Salaam is a critically acclaimed choreographer and has served as a dancer, teacher, and performing artist on five continents throughout his career in the dance world. He has received numerous awards and fellowships for excellence in dance, including the National Endowment for the Arts, New England Foundation on the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, New York State Council for Arts, National Council for Arts and Culture, and Herbert H. Lehman College. Salaam and Forces of Nature Dance Theatre were honored with a 2017 Bessie Award for Outstanding Production for DanceAfrica’s centerpiece performance, Healing Sevens. In 2019, he received the American Dance Guild Lifetime Achievement Award in dance.
The company also received the 2013 Audelco Award for Dance Company of the Year. Salaam has served on the faculties of the American Dance Festival in the US and Seoul, Korea; Herbert H. Lehman College; Alvin Ailey American Dance Center; Restoration Youth Arts Academy; and Harlem Children’s Zone. Inspired by Dr. Maulana Karenga, Salaam created Kwanzaa Regeneration Night Celebration at the Apollo Theater.