Steve writes about the recent African Drumming and Dance workshops for Nottingham High Junior School's African topic:
The big snow fall in March didn't put us off from travelling down to work with the junior classes at Nottingham High School. While it froze outside, the pupils drummed on djembes, beat African dundun drums and took turns dancing to the rhythms. By the end of the day the pupils fantastic enthusiasm and energy had definitely raised the temperature of the hall.
In addition to understanding how djembe music works in cyclic patterns and involves multiple parts fitting together, they learnt about how dance brings the drumming experience to life. They created their own dance moves and learnt a specific move called an 'échauffement' - which is a french term meaning to 'hot up'! This is a traditional way of finishing a dance. It is accompanied by a djembe soloist who often increases the pace of the beats while the dancer moves more vigorously to a final finish. It was fantastic that so many pupils got into the circle to dance and it was so exciting to see them moving to the beats and jumping in the air to the final drum call!
The final performance at the end of the day saw the parents taking part - not just in the drumming but the dancing too! One of the pupil's family originated from Nigeria and his mother came into the circle to show how African dance was really done! Her son was beaming with pride. It is always a very special moment when African Drumming reawakens a sense of cultural roots and heritage for children whose families are originally from Africa.
Thank you Nottingham High for inviting me to work with your children and a very very special thanks to Victoria Walster who planned and organised this fantastic day! Steve Rivers - Director of Unbeatable Energy