Dancing to a different beat
African drum, dance classes bring an international flavor
September 2, 2001
Steamboat Springs — The Depot Art Center and Emerald City will be dancing to the sound of a different drum Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings when master drummer Fara presents a workshop on African drumming and dance.
From Guinea, West Africa, Fara will teach beginning drum beats and dance steps, as well as give children an international flavor of African culture.
Robin Getter, director of the School of Rhythm and Dance in Steamboat Springs, said drumming and dance are integrated as one among African regions and tribes.
“Drum and dance work together. In African culture, (they) are one thing,” Getter said.
When participants learn drum, they also learn dancing by the way of the hands. In the way of dancing, participants are learning the drum rhythm by way of the feet and body, Getter said.
Fara will teach traditional dance and rhythm from the region of West Africa, specific to Guinea.
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“It’s a region that has been held together through music and dance. It’s helped keep the region identity of the culture,” Getter said.
Getter said the workshop is very helpful to beginners because of the progressive nature of the course.
“We start slow, so it’s better for beginners than the previous workshop,” Getter said.
About three weeks ago, Getter presented an African drum and dance workshop on the spur of the moment with Mouminatou Camara and Mohamed Camara.
However, Getter said she’s been planning this workshop for months and is excited about Fara’s availability.
Fara now lives in Durango as a guest artist at the Barefoot Dance Studio. He also performs with a native ballet company in New York. Native ballet is drum and dance following a story of the music, dance and culture.
Steamboat’s master class workshop will not present a story, but Getter said she’s happy participants will get to know Fara a little better.
Fara made a guest appearance at the previous workshop, too.
Getter said she wanted to host a children’s workshop because of the exposure to an international culture. His compassionate and warm personality made Fara the perfect shoe-in for this workshop, Getter said.
“I feel children should experience the excitement and energy Fara has for his art form,” Getter said. “It’s also a chance for kids to meet an African, a male that dances and drums with such professionalism.”
Fara will teach children dance, songs, games and rhythm, and it’s recommended they bring two drumsticks from a tree to drum.
Material that participants learn from the workshop may be used for the Steamboat Dance Theatre’s concert in March 2002.
“I will get a chance to learn more, they’ll get a chance to learn and then we’ll proceed with our regular classes,” Getter said.
Getter has been teaching African dance classes at CMC for the past 20 years and is the president of Steamboat Dance Theatre.
The three-day workshop is a non-credit course; however, CMC is helping to subsidize it to keep the cost low for participants. Getter said people also can sign up at the door.
“We’re so grateful that they’re helping to sponsor this workshop,” Getter said. “Thanks to the other local businesses also.”