Dance classes comprise an energetic warm-up and then learning of traditional West African dance choreography. You will learn how to respond to djembe phrases and the types of moves that accompany particular rhythms. Most dances taught originate in Guinea, and some from Ghana, Senegal, Mali and Burkina Faso. Wear comfortable clothing and be ready to sweat. You can pay casually or upfront for a term/block of five classes for a discount.
Throughout the year, there are a range of opportunities to perform. They are all very relaxed, low-pressure events… (not compulsory, but HEAPS for fun)
Djembe en Ville
This is our end-of-term student performance event, usually held at Kindred Studios in Yarraville. Delicious African cuisine is available and there is a professional African headline act.
For the last four years, we have done an annual flash mob in Melbourne CBD with approximately 10 drummers and up to 60 dancers.
Local Festivals, Fetes, Fundraisers & Farmer’s Markets!
Our students have performed at the Coburg Night Markets, the Brunswick South Art Fair, Ebola Fundraiser and ‘Run with Rhythm’ (Botswana fun run).
By Serah Richardson
Melbourne African dancer writes about her passion for dance.
I’ll admit it – I’m hooked. I can’t go without. Just when I think that maybe I could be lured to a gym or a Zumba class; that maybe fake-tans and sinewy, tendon-popping forearms could be for me too… suddenly, somewhere in the midst of a buzzing community of afro-loving folk, comes the unmistakable crack of a Djembe and I’m back. Before I can reach dutifully for my running shoes, my bare feet have kicked them away and I’m shaking and twisting, energised with something that exercising alone never gave me: elation! The great thing about this drug? You want it in your system. It’s good for you and there’s a community of people thriving in our home town who are just busting to celebrate all things West African.
Personally, I blame Mitzi. She got me on the stuff. There I was, all new and clueless, lured to some gig I knew nothing about (new boyfriend, I was keen to impress) when my pupils dilated in amazement at this leaping, flailing, hair-tossing creature who spellbound a whole room. GASP! Whatisthat?Whatisshedoing?WherecanIlearnit?Ineedtodothatnooooow!!!! New boyfriend had some competition – I was in love. With the dance (just to clarify…).
So off I trotted to my first beginner class with Mitzi, with no more than a handful of Latin and Ballroom dance classes under my belt and a pot-belly that had just outgrown the realm of “cute”. Well, she didn’t need to shimmy twice, I had the fever and it burned me good, baby. What followed was: a 6 week dance tour in Ghana (boyfriend in tow), joining Mitzi’s troupe Wassawumba, marriage (going to that first gig paid off!), two babies and now here I am, four years later, back in Mitzi’s classes and working off that pot once again.
There is a gym around the corner but I drive across town for this instead. Why? I love being in a class where people are so caught up in the dance that they don’t realise they’re grinning. I love all the sweat-drenched shapes, ages and sizes around me. I love the live drumming, the complete absence of destructive competition and the genuine celebration of individual character within the whole group.
Yes, I’m an addict, a dance evangelist. I’ve got my lank, mousy hair flinging, my big white butt shaking and my feel-good grooves on maximum every time. Just hangin’ til my next fixJ