Perry-Mansfield to host West African dance and drum master classes | SteamboatToday.com

Perry-Mansfield to host West African dance and drum master classes

Staff report

The Steamboat African Dance and Drum Ensemble and Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School will present three West African community dance and drum classes with Guinean master teachers Sidiki Sylla and Seny Daffe on Sunday, Sept. 23.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Steamboat African Dance and Drum Ensemble and Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School will present three West African community dance and drum classes with Guinean master teachers Sidiki Sylla and Seny Daffe on Sunday, Sept. 23 in the Louis Horst studio at Perry-Mansfield.

Daffe teaches an all-levels djembe drum class from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., participants must bring their own drum. Sylla teaches a mixed-level Guinean dance class from 4:30 to 6 p.m., requiring only that dancers wear comfortable clothes they can move in and bare feet.

They will conclude with a special dunun dance class from 6 to 7:30 p.m. If participants do not have a dun drum for the dunun dance class, they must bring their own five-gallon bucket and sticks.

Sylla, originally from Conakry, Guinea, was around music from a young age, accompanying his sister to her daily rehearsals from age 9. He participated in and won many local competitions in Guinea until ultimately he joined one of two top National Ballets of Guinea. He toured extensively, performing throughout West Africa, as well as Australia, Belgium, China, England, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Holland, Japan, Korea and the U.S.

In 1997, Sylla moved to the U.S. as master dancer, principal choreographer and artistic director of Jeh Kulu Dance and Drum Theater in Burlington, Vermont. He has worked within universities, colleges and private and public school systems in Vermont, New York and New Hampshire teaching and sharing his traditions.

Daffe, also from Conakry, began studying dance and drum at age 10 and became the versatile musician he is today playing the djembe, krin, bolon, gogo ma, sangban, balafone and dununs. He is also a very talented singer and comedian, and is considered one of the world's finest dunun players.

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Daffe has a wealth of performing experience in traditional and contemporary dance and drum. He also toured extensively in West Africa, Europe and the United States, and has performed with renowned artists Mamadi Keita, Fatoubou Camera, Abou Sylla and Bahaly Camera. Since coming to the United States in 2006, he has traveled the East Coast from Florida to Vermont working with several companies and well-known artists. He is now a member of Jeh Kulu in Vermont.

Each class costs $15, with no pre-registration required. Cash or check only accepted at the door.