Contemporary dance performances featuring internationally renowned African dancers/choreographers will be presented at 8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 4 and 5 at Highways Performance Space, 1651 18th St., Santa Monica.

The featured performers are Michel Kouakou of the Ivory Coast and Panaibra Canda of Mozambique, who have each trained in both traditional and contemporary dance.

Kouaku will present “A Story at 120 mph,” a trio about friendship and distance, while Canda’s “Marrabenta Solos” aims to deconstruct the idea of a colonized African body, a Highways spokesman said.

Kouakou is an active performer of both traditional and contemporary dance. He has made appearances in numerous European countries, as well as in Japan, Africa and the United States. Kouakou began his career studying dance, acrobatics, and marionette theater in his home country.

After receiving several prizes in Ivory Coast’s former capital city of Abidjan for dance, he continued his study of contemporary dance with Germaine in L’ecole de Sables in Senegal. As a dancer, he has worked with several other international choreographers.

In 2003, he formed his own company, “Daara Dance” and his work has since been performed in the U.S. as well as in Holland, France, Chad, Ivory Coast, Tunisia, Italy, Israel and the Czech Republic.

Canda was born in Mozambique’s capital city Maputo and received artistic training in theatre, music and dance. He started to dance in 1993 as a traditional dancer and has also worked with several international choreographers. In 1998 he created CulturArte, through which he develops creative and training projects.

Tickets are $20 for general admission and $15 for members, students and seniors.

Information, (310) 315-1459, or www.highwaysperformance.org.

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