Students take the stage at ADC’s African dance battle


pasted image 0May 4 was more than just a day to celebrate a — Old Chapel pulsed with lively music as the African Dance Club (ADC) hosted its first annual “African Dance Battle.” As a new club, ADC had a lot of Upon signing up for the competition, participants had the chance to compete for prizes that have a strong connection to Africa, such as beautiful dashikis (bright, colorful, flowy shirts and tunics) and necklaces. Dancers were split into two teams led by Samuel Lartey ‘18 and Jill Anderson ‘18. After teaching their teams some basic African dance moves, Lartey and Anderson pitted their members against each other. The lights dimmed, and once the music started, each dancer took turns showing off their moves, often a mix of their freshly learned moves and their own personal flare, in the spotlight to impress a panel of judges. In the end, six winners were picked to choose from the colorful prizes. Once the music faded out and the lights came back on, Old Chapel was filled with people who have learned more than just some new dance moves. A certain insightfulness bounced through the room with participants taking in the beauty of African culture through dance, just as Oumou Zakaria ‘19 set out to do when planning the event. Zakaria hoped to show the campus a side of African culture that differs from the typically bleak news headlines that dominate the media. The spirited sophomore took extra care to emphasize that Africa is a continent that houses several countries, each of which has a host of different cultures. Teaching students a variety of dance moves and giving away African prizes was just the beginning of showcasing what African culture is really like. While the dance battle was a fun and inviting way to educate others on the subject, it will likely take more time for misconceptions of the continent to die down. That is expected — change is not instantaneous. However, with the new efforts of ADC, Zakaria’s hopes of increasing understanding of Africa will eventually become a solid reality. With determined allies like Aissata Diallo ‘20, Emmanuella Oppong ‘19, Celia Briffaut ‘20, Jocelyn Akamaliza ‘19, Irving Cortes ‘19 and Venesha Morris ‘19, Zakaria’s dream of bridging an understanding between the Union campus and African culture will become reality.


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