The Global Arts Festival returned to Athens April 14 to explore arts in the digital age

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) – The Global Arts Festival returned to Athens last week for the third year to explore different ways of experiencing global arts in the digital age.

“It gives the general public this opportunity to travel without leaving Athens,” said Dr. Zelma Badu-Younge, professor of dance at Ohio University.

Badu-Younge and her husband, Ohio University professor of music Dr. Paschal Yao Younge, are the co-directors of the event.

“He’s a professor of music, I’m a professor of dance,” Badu-Younge said. “…so we’re looking at it from those lenses.”

The event is geared towards giving students an opportunity to learn something new in a different way. Badu-Younge said they invite guests to come and teach the students and also play music with them.

An image of the poster for the Global Arts Festival
[Payton Szymczak I WOUB Public Media]
“We invited a woman from Taiwan who is one of the top marimba players. We have invited people from Ghana to perform and teach,” Badu-Younge said. “Usually they are teaching something and performing with the students to give them that experience.”

Badu-Younge said they try to make it diverse and every year is different.

“…so just to see how the audience experiences it, and how they enjoy it,” Badu-Younge said. “…and also our students learning a little bit more about a different culture and how diverse it is.”

This year, the Oyu Oro Afro Cuban Experimental Dance Ensemble was invited to be the main feature of the production. Founder of the group, Danys “La Mora” Perez, said it was the first time her company performs in Ohio.

“So that I believe is a reason to be very excited and very happy because we’re going to connect with a new audience,” Perez said. “We want to share, to show for a new audience, for new people, our work, our art.”

Perez said the performance is energized and deep in history. She said they make a connection with the art, the stage, and the dance.

“I believe everything that we do in my culture is important,” Perez said. “It’s beautiful and it’s exciting.”

Perez emphasized her excitement in sharing her culture with a new audience.

“Most of the time people think the world is huge and it is,” Perez said. “…but at the same time it’s small.”

For more information on the Oyu Oro Afro Cuban Experimental Dance Ensemble, visit