Discovery Zone


Ms. Roxy will be here on…
Mon, February 3rd – Wed, February 5th
Mon, February 10th – Wed, February 12th
AND Wed, February 19th

In preparation for guest teacher Ms. Roxy from Generation Dance Company, you will learn some information about, and practice, basic West African Dance movements. PLEASE GIVE YOUR BEST EFFORT! Some of these movements may be unfamiliar or feel “weird” at first, but know that these are movements that people in West Africa use while dancing. You’ll learn more about the movements below.

IMPORTANT: The dance Ms. Roxy will teach you will be the FINALE of our concert!

West African Dance Introduction: Background Reading

People in West African cultures dance under many circumstances. There are everyday dance, such as at marriages or to celebrate births or the naming of a child. There are also dances performed as rites of passage or at various stages of a person’s life.

Dances express the activities of every day life, and often the work itself can be seen as a dance. For example, when women wash clothes at the riverbank they make music by slapping the clothes against calabashes.

Yaya Diallo, a drummer and native of Mali, says that to become a proficient dancer in his culture, you must follow six basic requirements:

1. Dance steps must be synchronized with the music.

2. Each dancer must be able to perform each dance in all directions (forwards, backwards, left, and right).

3. Dancers must combine the dance steps together to form one single African dance.

4. All dancers must dance to the level of their ability and not be in competition with other dances.

5. All dancers must perform the single African dance piece as a group.

6. Dancers must smile, make it look easy, and have fun!


IYE, IYE DANCE: Background Reading

Iye, Iye is a harvest dance danced by the Senoufo and Miniaka peoples who live in Mali, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, and the northern part of Ghana. The dance lasts all night when the harvest is good, but is short when the harvest is bad. The musicians do a call and response with the drum. The dancers enter according to age, with the youngest entering first.

The white fabric in the hands of the women dancers represents the harvest of cotton. When men dance the dance, they do not wear shirts so they can display the sweat it takes to harvest a field. The dancers turn in all four directions to give thanks.


African Dancing Lesson #1 (stand and practice)

African Dancing Lesson #2 (stand and practice)

African Dancing Lesson #3 (stand and practice)