Dana McBroom-Manno, lectures/performances about culture and the African Diaspora continue to enlighten people of all ages. As a former dancer with the Katherine Dunham Dance Company, her experience with Mama Dunham prepared her for a coveted position as a member of New York’s Metropolitan Opera Ballet Company for more than five years. Dana has used her experience as a Master Teacher of Dunham Technique to help promote Caribbean culture around the world. Dana Manno began her professional career as a choreographer for famed jazz composer Mary Lou Williams and went on to choreograph for many professional companies including Paramount Picture for famed director Gordon Parks Senior. Professor Manno was invited to participate in the One World Living Arts Festival in Auckland, New Zealand. There, she worked with the Maori as well as other students from around the globe, directing and teaching Dunham dance workshops and Theatre Arts. Dana taught the Dunham Technique to company members of the National Dance Theatre of Ghana in Accra, consulted for the Ghana National Theatre Company, and performed with her daughter on a Ghanaian National Television 5 broadcast. Dana Manno choreographed and performed as lead dancer and vocalist at New York’s Apollo Theatre in a Latino tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The Bahamian government invited Marie Brooks and Dana Manno to reintroduce many traditional Caribbean dances to the Bahamian National Dance Company. She went straight from that assignment to teach at the Katherine Dunham Seminar in East St. Illinois. The preservation of Caribbean culture is particularly important to McBroom-Manno as a descendant of the island of Montserrat. The active volcano there has scattered Montserratians around the globe.
In 2011, Dana Manno was awarded a citation by the New York City Council for her extensive contributions to Caribbean Culture.
Dana Manno former Director/Advisor of SUNY F.I.T. Theatre Ensemble Fashion Institute of Technology. She is currently an adjunct faculty member of FIT in the Department of Film, Media, and Performing Arts. Professor Manno was the founder of the Adelphi University Arts Ensemble and developed their curriculum for the Ethnic Dance and Black Performing Arts program and the Library advisor for African Studies. She has taught at Pratt Institute, Hofstra University, CUNY Staten Island, Sarah Lawrence College, Holy Cross, Dance Theatre of Harlem, The New School University, Yale University, 92nd Street Y for more than, two decades, and taught Dunham technique as well as drama workshops at Ballet Hispanico.
Dana Manno imported Caribbean actors who performed alongside Law & Order cast members in PAKA’s production of the HIV/AIDS drama St. Marks Place, a play by Chadd Cumberbatch and Ad-Ziko Simba and directed by Manno at the Dag Hammarskjöld Auditorium at the United Nations. In 2006 she directed Actor’s Equity Association actors in the critically acclaimed play, Queen Coziah, filling the Fashion Institute of Technology’s 775-seat Haft auditorium.
In 2004, Manno became Artistic Director of the Passing Ancestral Knowledge Along (PAKA) Foundation and produced and directed the Equity Showcase Production, Millennium 7, a play by Edgar Nkosi White, at New York’s 78th Street Theatre Lab. Later Dana Manno was tapped as an Advisor to the Blueprint on Dance for the Board of Education of the City of New York and served on their Fulbright advisory panel at the New School University.
Currently, Professor Manno is extending PAKA’s reach internationally and opening a branch in Kenya, and Montserrat (British West Indies) where she is in the process of directing a play by award-winning writer Edgar Nkosi White.
Mama Dana McBroom-Manno states “Dance is drama in motion.”