Sarah Le Parker Koumbassa
Presents selected dance idioms as they relate to ethnicity in their performance, aesthetics, and history. Topics vary. May have studio component.
This course will offer instruction in West African Dancing, and give students the opportunity to develop an understanding of the artistry, history, context and philosophy of both traditional ‘village’ and more ‘urban’ West African dance as it occurs in West Africa as well as here in the United States. Students will gain this understanding by practicing and developing competency with movement as well as by reading short essays and a short book, engaging in dialog, writing journals and viewing live and recorded examples of West African Dance. While dancing, students will distinguish and focus on the movement form, posture, vocabulary, volume, strength, vitality and energy found in several of the dances from Guinea, West Africa including dances of initiation, hunting, seduction, welcome, harvest, celebration and strength, derived from 5 very distinct ethnic groups within Guinea. Other topics to be covered include: ethnic diversity and race politics; the inseparable connection between African dance and its rhythms, songs, music; the strong connection between this dance and historic and current daily life, ceremony and ritual; and the place for individual self-expression within such a traditional art form.
Student learning goals
Gain basic knowledge about West African Dance, music, history and cultural context
Gain skills and competency with West African Dance technique
Know how to dance to the rhythms being played
Be able to distinguish between basic movement vocabulary for each dance taught
Distinguish between and be able to “sing/call” each different rhythm and it’s signal
Know the original and current cultural purpose as well as the ethnic origin and region of each different dance/rhythm taught
General method of instruction
Dance instruction. Lecture and discussion about dances being taught.
Come ready to learn and dance!
Class assignments and grading
Grading: Final grades will be calculated based on the following percentages: Class Participation 20% Technique Skills 20% Check in writing #1 5% Check in writing #2 5% Midterm Movement and Written Exam 10% Check in writing #3 10% Outing & Paper 10% Final Movement and Written Exam 10% Final Rhythm Exam 10%