African Dance at IS 237

The students of IS 237’s after school dance class in Flushing, Queens have been studying traditional West African Dance and the evolution of its western counterparts as a result of the Diaspora.  The class has been exploring the connections of the past to the present through dance.  They began with learning Doundounba, a traditional West African Dance of the old Mali Empire, where initially they followed along with traditional djembe rhythms, then moved to modern Hip Hop music.

Recently, they have been learning traditional movements from South America, Latin America and the Caribbean.  Special guest conga drummers visited the class this week to give the students a different perspective on how our heartbeats make up our own natural percussion section.  Students enjoyed performing to live drumming, and look forward to performing their piece in the school soon!

“It was really fun.  We learned cool steps and learned all about congas.  It was really exciting.  We’ve been working on an African dance called Doundounba from the old Mali Empire.  I like Ms. Farrah and the steps. Whenever I’m on stage I love to dance to the beat.” – Samriddhi, 6th grade

“It was really cool because I’ve never seen live drumming or experienced dancing to it.  I was excited.  I like getting to learn new dances.  I never thought I would dance to African music and like it.” – Lizbeth, 6th grade

“The drummers played different types of beats on different drums.  It made me feel awesome and free.  It made me want to dance!  My favorite thing about dance class is the rhythm of the beat we dance to and learning new steps.  Dancing is awesome.” – Tiffanie, 6th grade