MALONGA CASQUELOURD
 
ARTS CENTER
Oakland
California

malonga.jpg
The beautifully restored turn-of-the-century Arts Center is one of the area's busiest performing arts facilities. Patrons can participate in a variety of arts programs or rent spaces for arts events and activities. The center basically provides low-rent shelter to local dance, drama and other performing-arts organizations in exchange for superb demonstrations of their talent.

Spaces available for rent include a 400-seat theater, five dance studios, meeting rooms and rehearsal spaces. Four long-standing Oakland arts institutions - Oakland Ballet, Citicentre Dance Theater, Dimensions Dance Theater and Oakland Ensemble Theater - are founding resident companies. Numerous other art groups present activities or have offices at the Arts Center...

Passers-through can apply for artistic residence at the hotel funded by the art center, while locals look forward to various Alice-sponsored festivals, which arrive annually both in Oakland and the city.


Every Saturday for 25 years, until he was killed in a tragic freeway accident on Father's Day 2003,  he taught African dance in Oakland. His longest tenure was at the Alice Arts Center, and when there was a threat to close Alice Arts Center, Casquelourd in 2002-03, he led the public crusade to keep its doors open through parades, letter campaigns and marches.

Key members of the Bay Area Carnaval community who played a large role include Carlos Aceituno and Regina
Calloway (Carnaval Advisory Committee CAC members); Theo Williams (King 2001);
Jacque Barnes (Queen 1993) and current 2004 King Victor
Temple and all the members of Fogo na Roupa who honored MALONGA  CASQUELOURD in their 2004 Carnaval presentation
History of Alice Arts Center was built in 1927 and originally housed Oakland's women's clubs such as the Alameda County Birth Control League and the Oakland Opera Lecture Club.

The Mediterranean-style building held banquet halls, an underground swimming pool, rooftop tennis courts and a 1,000-seat theater.

The city signed a 20-year lease-to-buy option on the property in 1986 and turned it into the Alice Club Hotel and Arts Center. The city paid about $8 million to renovate the building in 1993, changing the name to Alice Arts Center.

congorhythms.org/
Seeking Volunteers for the 2005 production Honoring MALONGA CASQUELOURD

This event is OUR Weeds-Off ritual in the Congolese tradition for MALONGA, which is an essential dimension of the indigenous Congolese culture. Among many things, it provides a communal support for the bereaved family to officially end mourning and focus on living. Information on volunteer opportunities and contacts is here.

 

 "My father had a long history in not only just the dance and arts community but in giving to the arts community," said Casquelourd's oldest son, Kiazi Malonga.

"It is quite fitting that the place where he dedicated his life should honor him," Malonga said. "He is a pioneer, and an ambassador." said Muisi-Kongo Malonga, Casquelourd's daughter, who also pointed out that her father had worked tirelessly to ensure that the center remained open to the public.

Casquelourd moved his dance company to the Alice Arts Center when it opened in 1987 and back in 1993 after a renovation.

He was born in Douala, Cameroon, and spent years apprenticing at Community Fetes, learning Congolese cultural traditions. He became a principal dancer of the National Congolese Dance Company, then resident choreographer and principal performer with Le Ballet Diaboua, a Congolese repertory company in Paris.

Casquelourd helped found Citicenter Dance Theater in downtown Oakland, which is still at the Alice Arts Center. Over the years he brought dignitaries from around the world to teach and speak at Alice.

"Whenever they came here he would set up workshops so they could share the culture with the community," said Casquelourd's widow, Cynthia Phillips.

He also established Fua Dia Congo, a nonprofit performing arts company, the Congolese Dance and Drum Camp, and Ballet Kizingu, the youth division of Fua Dia Congo. He taught at San Francisco State University for 26 years.

Councilmember Nancy Nadel (Downtown-West Oakland), sponsored the latest name change after nearly 300 members of the Oakland dance and arts community signed a petition in support.

"His name is synonymous with pride and fearlessness" said Rashida Knox, 29, one of Casquelourd's students, who also said the center's new name would send a message of hope and inclusiveness to the community
Malonga Memorial at CongoRhythms.org

 
 On Tuesday, June 1, 2004, the Oakland City Council voted unanimously  to change the name of the Alice Arts Center in downtown Oakland to the
Malonga Casquelourd Arts Center
1428 Alice Street, Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 238-7219

 

Three long-standing Oakland arts institutions are founding resident companies. -

other art groups at the Alice Arts Center,

Annual Events
Percussion Day in May

 

Sources for this report
Campaign to Rename Alice Arts Center
Arts center's new moniker a tribute to dancer

Alameda Times-Star, CA - Jun 3, 2004
Malonga remembered
 

Carnival Events Annual Events San Francisco, Caribbean Events San Francisco Brazil Events San Francisco Latin Events
This first related page in this campaign was originally created as a tribute to the King of Carnaval 2004; King Victor Temple. A dedicated and contributing member of many arts groups supported by the City of Oakland's Alice Arts Center
Festival || Events || Groups || Parade Order || King || Queen || Rhythm Magic ||

carnaval.com/carijama