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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Codjo Cakpo Gbokou
DANCE 234
Seattle Campus

World Dance and Culture

Presents selected dance idioms as they relate to ethnicity in their performance, aesthetics, and history. Topics vary. May have studio component.

Class description

The overall goal of this course is to enable students to become familiar with basic West African dance movements and understand the cultural context in which this dance is practiced. In particular we will focus on movements and rhythms from various traditional dances from Benin, and a range of contemporary movements found in modern dance across the West African region. Class techniques will focus on “douplé” (knee flexion), rhythmic undulation of the chest and back, and isolation of shoulders, pelvis, arms and legs.

Student learning goals

Demonstrate basic West African dance movements in choreographed series

Recognize and demonstrate basic West African dance technique such as moving with knees slightly bent (“douplé), arms and legs moving in time to the drum beat, starting and ending with the “drum call,” and moving in synchronization with other dancers.

Demonstrate choreographed sets of movements that are typical of specific ethnic dances from Benin, or uniquely contemporary movements from West Africa.

Understand the importance of African dance in African culture and give an example of where and when people in West Africa might practice the dance that is being taught.

To improve the connection between rhythm, tempo and movement, and the harmonious expression of strength and grace.

General method of instruction

Demonstration by the instructor; student repetition of movements in place and while moving in lines, circles or free-form. Explanation and correction by instructor.

Recommended preparation

Come with an open mind and ready to dance!

Class assignments and grading

(1) In-class demonstration, usually in small or large group. (2) 1-page/week journal entry: self-reflection on your personal experience learning African dance through this class (3) Periodic readings with short questions to respond to.

80% Effort and integration of concepts as demonstrated through improvement over time. 20% Journal mapping your progress & short narratives in response to distributed readings.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Codjo Cakpo Gbokou
Date: 09/29/2011