Thiossane West African Dance Institute

Thiossane West African Dance Institute

IMG_20130324_160027_571The Awakening

The child in me longs to move, let loose and release,
that which restricts the fluidity and essence of my being.
No longer do I want to be,
constricted from feeding my yearning spirit.

The sweet sound of the Djembe drum ushers me into Heaven
In this sanctuary, my name is whispered by sacred spirits that dance arms akimbo waist,
while blissful hands massage drum tops.

An invitation for my smile to widen the widths of rainbows,
souls are revived by colorful vibrations that migrate through chakras,
Shiny hardwood floors reflect history,
as an attestation that life is ever learning.

The bottom of heels magically move as tips of toes bend like the sunrise,
Gyrating hips hum history as they sway,
to rhythms that educate and evoke adoration for our ancestors.

Hands fly freely in the serenity of sensual sounds of Ancestral heartbeats,
and dance becomes the universal language of love, life, and liberation
…the one innate entity that brings us on one accord.

My mother, recounting what seemed like endless stories of my childhood, once told me that I came out of her womb dancing. Although I never professionally studied dance, my father John Akrobettoe, a social butterfly frequently brought me to various African events that involved dancing into the late wee hours of the morning. It was during those intimate outings, that I would find much joy and pleasure while sharing in harmonious steps with my father.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOver the years I have witnessed many great performances and variations of different African dance presentations and each of them left such a huge impression upon my heart. Historically African dance is known as such a pivotal component of different African cultures, that one is sure to find dance as a part of festivals, funerals, rites of passage and so much more.

Furthermore, I have learned the importance of how music has influenced African dance as well as on other cultures throughout the world.  And so, it is my hope that through this intimate interview with the Creative Director of Thiossane West African Dance Institute, Suzan Bradford-Kounta, one will be reminded of the beauty and influence of African dance in Africa and throughout the African Diaspora.

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