Saturday, March 15, 2008

AFRICAN DANCE: THE FUTURE

Greg Coman took this motion photo of Stephanie dancing
This March break, my daughter Stephanie and I have been watching America's Best Dance Crew and we have been thoroughly entertained. I love dance and it's great that we can catch high level reality dance shows like this one and So You Think You Can Dance on TV! We have decided to take Hip Hop this summer. My first lesson from Stephanie has been the popular Soulja boy routine which I have just nailed. Now I must buy the music.

As I watch what these competitions do for the art, I think of course of African Dance and Africa and what competition would do for it. I am convinced that ours is the most vibrant of the dance forms and I would like to see it develop on the continent, raised to the professional levels found in shows like UMOJA and les BALLET GUINEENNE. At the moment professional pathways wish to annex African Dance to Modern Dance, emphasizing professionalism in relation to training for modern dance. This idea is so neo-colonialist as to make Nkrumah and Sekou Toure turn in their mausoleums in West Africa. Yes, let us rise up and make something out of the mother of all dances! Let us keep classic and folkloric forms alive and find the many possible contemporary forms which could exist.

Among the dances of Africa, the dances of Guinea have found the greatest expression worldwide. Little wonder, as the people whose roots reach deeply into the ancient Malinke culture have the fastest feet even if the Zulus have the highest leg raises. As well, they have the djembefola, whose showmanship excel their other drummer relations, in part, because of the portability of their drums and also because of the investment they have made as a people to their culture. They have been the greatest cultural ambassadors from Africa and we salute them. Notwithstanding there is great expression of rhythmic culture throughout Africa and we ajure the many peoples and cultures of Africa to you show themselves to the world.

One of my dreams is to found a vibrant school here in Guelph with festival and all, and to establish a professional level school in Ghana! Vive les arts d'Afrique.

4 comments:

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Anonymous said...

Yes! Can attest that you have nicely nailed that Souljaboy, with style!...The rising up will continue to happen...and so good that you & Stephanie will together possess more moves...that birthing African dance school/festival etc in the Royal city will be magnificent.
...rooting for ya, my friend : ) M

Anonymous said...
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