African Dance in Alaska
Drumbeats and colors
pulsations from head to hands
slap, tone, bass delight
The warm, enlivening rhythms of Guinea, West Africa filled the Bunnell Street Arts Center in Homer, Alaska from the middle of February through March 8th. Soriba and Shelley Fofana taught drumming and dance as part of the Bunnell Artists in Residency program. About 50 Homer residents, ranging from children to people in their sixties, participated in eight classes over two and a half weeks.
I was one of many who attended every class. I learned to play the djembe drum rhythms for the Coo Coo full moon dance and the Yankadi wedding dance. But my body demanded movement, as I also learned the dances. Although based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Soriba and Shelley enabled participants to experience the healing creative power of African music and movement, a rhythmic experience our hands and feet will remember.