Artist • Teaching • Dance, Music

Idris Daniel is an accomplished drummer and dancer born into a vibrant arts community on Chicago’s Southside. He developed a love for many styles of African diasporic performing arts at a young age. At the age of 10, he became a founding member of SPIRITS S.O.A., a “Right of Passage” training program for young men. SPIRITS S.O.A. provided young men with the tools needed to navigate life in inner-city environments by introducing them to traditional and spiritual West African practices. While training with SPIRITS S.O.A., he mastered the sacred west African masquerade and stilt walking technique and learned how to play & repair/build many traditional West African instruments.

Idris began studying with Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago in 1997 under world-renowned director Amaniyea Payne. He has worked with them to develop various programs for After School Matters, Gallery 37, and other organizations teaching the youth in numerous schools throughout the United States. Currently, he serves as the Associate Artistic Director of Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago.

Over the last 20 years, Idris has expanded his studies of various traditional music forms throughout the African diaspora. Idris travels to Brazil, Senegal, Gambia, Colombia, Cuba, Barbados, and Mexico frequently to train, study, and continuously immerse himself in the culture. He desires to educate and enlighten children in the Chicago inner-city by exposing them to the many contributions that people of the African diaspora have made to the world through dance, music, and other art forms.

Artist Information

Languages Spoken
  • English
Years with Urban Gateways
  • 5
Areas of Expertise
  • West African Drum & Dance
  • Brazilian Samba Drum Line
Learning Environments
  • Virtual
  • Hybrid
  • In-Person