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Mrs. P's Dance & Acrobatic Studios News & Blog

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African Dance Studio


African Dance Studio can legitimately be considered the oldest form of choreography in the world and the form has spread far beyond to thrill audiences around the world.

Characteristics of Sub-Saharan African Dance

There are essential ways that African dance is different than most Western forms. The most obvious is the lack of partnered dancing Instead, most of the dances are group performances separated by gender. The men dance for the women and vice versa, with all ages mingling or having their own dance.

African Drumming: the Heartbeat of the Tribe

A primary characteristic of African Dance Studio styles is the presence of drumming. However, it is also inextricably entwined with the art of dance; most African villages would never have drumming without dancing at the same time. A wide variety of instruments are used, from drums such as the djembe as well as other percussion instruments such as the shakera, a gourd with a net of tiny shells or stones loosely wrapped around it.

African Movement

One of the most striking parts of traditional African Dance Studio is the polyrhythmic nature of the movement. African dancers in African Dance Studio often are able to isolate particular parts of their body and move them to different parts of the rhythm, with two or three different beats going on simultaneously in the dancer's body. This fine motor control is often complemented by larger movements such as kicks, leaps, and wide and rapid swings of the arms. In the Adumu dance of the Masai, for example, the men show how high they can jump in the center of a circle while their fellow warriors encourage them. In contrast, the Mohobelo dance of the Sotho includes movements on all levels including writhing on the ground.

Preserving Culture and Spreading Knowledge

While African dance is alive and well in the villages below the Sahara to the tip of Cape Horn, it has also been embraced by other cultures such as African-Americans in the U.S. and Canada. Whether watching a breathtaking performance or taking the leap to learn at a workshop taught by a master teacher, there is something from the dance forms of African Dance Studio for anyone to enjoy.

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