In the Boston Globe, Karen Campbell reviews Batoto Yetu, a Harlem-based children's dance company that performed at Jacob's Pillow:
Batoto Yetu helps city kids step into traditional dances More...
BECKET -- When choreographer Julio Leitao fled war-torn Angola nearly three decades ago, he made the long, painful walk with no shoes and only a handful of extra clothes wrapped inside a blanket. But what he carried in his heart and mind were the songs, dances, and stories of his African childhood.
With his Harlem-based children's dance company, Batoto Yetu, Leitao has brought those cultural traditions to more than 1,500 children over the past 13 years, offering free dance, music, and academic instruction. These inner-city kids get not only a grounding in the traditional culture of their forebears, but a sense of pride, accomplishment, self-esteem, and disclipine that Leitao believes will carry throughout their lives.