Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago

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Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago is on a mission to bring African and African-American culture to a wide audience. Artistic director Amaniyea Payne is a dynamo, teaching African traditional movement to black youth, visiting Africa to learn traditional dances and adapting the rituals for the stage. She also performs--and you'd never believe this petite, limber dancer is in her 40s. Performances are always exciting, with drums blazing and dancers leaping for the rafters. Muntu remains one of the most thrilling and distinctive companies in Chicago.