Terrestrial Wombs


FORCES of NATURE – Aimee Wob, Daaimah Taalib-Din, Catherine Foster and Johari Mayfield

NEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 30: Abdel R. Salaam and Forces of Nature Dancers perform at the 5th Annual Regeneration Night Kwanzaa Celebration at The Apollo Theater on December 30, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

After several years of artistic and spiritual service, Mr. Salaam was offered a commission in 1988 by the Very Reverend James Parks Morton, Dean of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, to help create the first African Episcopal Mass for the Church using African dance and music as a liturgical voice. During the 80’s, Mr. Salaam served as a delegate for the Artists for Ecology’s International Summit at the Sundance Institute in Utah; the Conference on Third World Arts and European Theater in Oxford, England; and the 12th Annual Festival for Peace in Moscow, Russia.  He and his company also led the historic procession for Nelson and Winnie Mandela on their visit to New York in 1990.  Years later, in 1997, he served as a cultural delegate to the Dance Umbrella/Dance Alive Festival in Johannesburg, South Africa through the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

“Ju-Ju Man” at the Billie Holiday Theater in New York

Mr. Salaam received two 2 year Choreographers Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (1991-1993 and 1994-1996) as well as commissions from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the National Committee for Young Audiences, the Bronx Council on the Arts, the Department of Cultural Affairs, and the New York State Council on the Arts.  Additionally, Mr. Salaam’s awards and fellowships include: the Monarch Merit Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance from the National Council for Arts & Culture (1993); the Silver Anniversary Award for Outstanding Achievement in Choreography, Teaching and Performance from Lehman College of the City University of New York (1994); Carla Sayrce Alumni Award in Dance Arts, Lehman College of the City University of New York (1989); Morani Shujaa Award in Black Studies, Lehman College of the City University of New York (1990); Dance Africa Award in Choreography, Brooklyn Academy of Music (1987); American Choreographer of the Year nomination (1989); and Better Family Life Lifetime Achievement Award in Arts (2000).Currently Mr Salaam is a 2004 New York Foundation For The Art Fellow and been appointed as the Tennessee Performing Art Center’s first artist in residence until 2006.