I had the wonderful pleasure this weekend of being invited to teach a African dance workshop to a group of sisters at a Retreat in Baltimore, Maryland. I named the workshop "Healing Through African Dance" as I believe that there are some wonderful things that you can gain and release all by taking a class.
Now I have been dancing for well over 20 yrs and teaching for about 16 yrs and African dance has always been my favorite style of dance to do. The rich rhythm and style, the colors, the movement, the drumming, I mean I could go on and on about why I love African dance but there is more to it than what I just mentioned.
It's the healing that most don't see that takes place when you take a class. African dance is known for providing you with loads of cardio work. You are able to move your body & burn some calories. When we do this your body will begin to release chemicals called endorphins. Endorphins trigger positive feelings in the body that are known to be similar to that of morphine which is putting your body on a natural high! Now I know why the dancers are always smiling after class is over...LOL! When your endorphins are actively engaged there is no room for depression, anxiety, or dementia (for the older dancers) to set in. I once heard an African dance teacher say that in many cultures the rhythm has helped bring people who were ill back to better health. We all as humans function under our own distinct rhythm & many times we must tap back into that rhythm when we're off balance in life.
Another aspect of healing is the knowledge & sense of community that you feel & receive. Other genres of dance such as modern or ballet are filled with dancers focusing on their own body & their own placement. With African dance it's the opposite. You rarely feel as though you are dancing alone. There is you, the rhythm of the drum from the drummers & the interaction between you and the other dancers. If you ever get a chance to observe an African dance class, you will see prior to the class starting people embracing each other with hugs, smiles, laughter, and conversations happening in all areas of the room. The energy in the room is lifted so high that it becomes infectious and you can't help but join in. Even while dancing it still continues! You will hear people chanting or making traditional African sounds/calls in order to cheer each other on. That builds such a sense of community in the members of the class & provides the dancer(s) with improved self esteem. It's been my experience that after I finish class I feel worked out (LOL) but happy & so full of life. My spirits are lifted and I'm always thinking about the next time I can get to class!
Now there is so much more you can feel and receive but rather than having me keep telling you, I would rather you experience it for yourselves. Below I have enclosed a list of African dance classes within the Baltimore & D.C. area. Please check out a class & see for yourself why it is so healing & therapeutic for your mind, body, & spirit! I look forward to seeing you all in class one day! Peace & Love Y'all!!
- Tuesday night African dance class 8-9:30pm at Wombwork Rehearsal Hall 3121 Walbrook Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21216, Teacher: Janaye Scott, Weekly Price: $5, Guest Teacher Price $12, All levels welcome!
- Dance @ The Mansion, African Dance With Kibibi Ajanku, Saturdays June 14th-July 5th at 12pm for children & 1pm for adults. Location: Great Blacks in Wax Museum, 1649 E. North Avenue, Baltimore, MD. Price: $ 15, Open Community Class, All Levels Welcome!
- Urban Foli African Drum & Dance classes. Teen/Adult Drum class on Tuesdays at 7:30-8:30pm & Teen/Adult Dance class on Wednesdays 8-9:30pm. Location: The Living Well, 2443 N. Charles Street Baltimore, MD 21218, Price: $15 per class or $48 for the whole month. All Levels Welcome! For more info please contact visit www.urbanfoli.com or contact Menes Yahudah (410) 908-3575
- Urban Foli Children’s African dance & drum class at The Living Well, African Dance Teacher: Yeshiyah Eaton, Dance Class is on Saturdays at 11am-12pm, African Drum Teacher: Menes Yahudah, Drum Class is on Saturdays at 12:30pm-1:30pm, Location: The Living Well, 2443 N. Charles Street Baltimore, MD 21218, Price: $10 walk in or $32 for the whole month. For more info please contact visit www.urbanfoli.com or contact Menes Yahudah (410) 908-3575
- African dance class with Keur Khaleyi African Dance Company, Teen/Adult classes on Tuesdays at 7:30-9pm & Saturdays 5:30-7pm, Price: $12, Location: Eubie Blake Center 847 N. Howard Street Baltimore, MD 21201. All Levels Welcome! www.keurkhaleyi.org
- Keur Khaleyi Summer Youth Program with Keur Khaleyi African Dance Company, 6 weeks on Saturdays, July 19-Aug.30th (No Class on August 9th), Price: $20 Registration & $10 per class, Save $5 if you pay for classes & registration in full, Location: Eubie Blake Center 847 N. Howard Street Baltimore, MD 21201. For more info email firstname.lastname@example.org
- African Dance Class brought to you by ReInvent Boot Camps LLC., Teacher: Dr. Efia Dalili, Date: 2nd Friday of every month at 7pm-8:30pm, Price: $7, Location: 1501 Reisterstown Road, Pikesville, MD 21208 on 2nd floor inside of Neha Salon.
- Belly Dance Fusion Class brought to you by ReInvent Boot Camps LLC., Teacher: Rashelle Celestin, Date: 1st Friday of every month at 7pm-8:30pm, Price: $7, Location: 1501 Reisterstown Road, Pikesville, MD 21208 on 2nd floor inside of Neha Salon.
- African dance movement & body fitness class with Nazu & Company, Mondays 7pm-8pm, Teacher: Naizou, Location: Womens Club Of Catonsville 10 St. Timothy’s Lane, Catonsville, MD 21228, For more information call (410) 205-6298 or visit www.nazudance.com
- Classes with KanKouran West African Dance Company, Adult Classes on Wednesdays 7:30pm-9pm & Saturdays 1pm-2:30pm, Price: $15, Location: Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, 7117 Maple Avenue Takoma Park, MD 20912. For more information visit http://kankouran.org/classes/
- ASA! , Classes are held all week long in various areas of Prince George’s County, Montgomery County, & in D.C. For more information please visit http://www.asabodyconditioning.com/ak/classes/
- African Dance Class With Sylvia Soumah, Director of Coyaba Dance Theater. Classes are Tuesdays & Thursdays at 6:30pm-7:45pm & Saturdays at 1:30pm, Price: $15 drop in fee, Location: Dance Place 3225 8th Street NE Washington D.C. 20017. For more information visit http://www.danceplace.org/classes/adult-classes/
- African Dance class with Farafina Kan. Teacher: Lesina Martin, Classes are on Thursdays at 8 pm. Price: $15 Location: Ubuntu Nankama (Old Joe's) 3802 34th Street Mt. Rainier, MD 20712
- Southern African Dance & Drum Class With Lesole's Dance Project. Ages 5 and up are welcome. Classes are Saturdays 2-3pm. Location: (OLD JOE'S) 3802 34th Street Mt Rainier, MD 20712. For more information call 240-744-6693 or visit www.ldpdance.org/weekly-classes
- Come out & dance during the African dance circle on Sundays, Teacher: Afrika Abney, Location: Meridian Hill (Malcolm X) Park W St Washington, District of Columbia 20009. 3-9pm. Price: Free
- Belly Dancing, Teacher: Mayasa, Tuesdays at 7:30pm-8:45pm & Thursdays 8-9:15pm, Price: $12, Location: PIES Fitness Yoga Studio - 374 South Pickett Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22304
- West African Dance Class with Dr. Djenaba Kai Jones. Every Wednesday at 7pm-8pm. Location: Mamasita Studios 6906 4th St. NW D.C. For more information call (202) 525-5386 or visit http://gomamasita.org/