West African dance workshop at Merritt
Published: Thursday, February 28, 2013
Updated: Sunday, March 3, 2013 15:03
February is a well-known month, there’s Groundhog Day, Super Bowl Sunday, Valentines Day. But this is also a month known as Black History month, a time where we dwell on the historical people who changed and influenced Black History. The most who are commonly known and are talked about are; Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, the list goes on. But have you really taken the time out and not only reflected about what these people have done, but went out and participated to learn more about African culture?
Merritt College held an hour workshop for West African Dance from 12:3pm- 1:30pm in room R-110, there were about 15 people who participated and Kelly Omode always welcomes more. Having the privilege to interview Kelly was such an honor. She has a wonderful glow about her. You can see the passion in her eyes, and how much she loves what she’s doing.
Q:What are you most proud about this workshop?
A:To see the turnout, the majority of students that come have never seen West African Dance, so to be able to introduce them to something new and that’s a good feeling.
Q:Do you feel that more young black women should participate?
A:Of course, West African Dance is about loving yourself. It teaches young ladies, how to be a young lady and there’s no certain dance that teaches you that.
Q:Can you tell me a memorable story about your experience here?
A:Hmmmhmm I would say a memorable experience is branching out into West African Dance. I begin with the company Di omana Core, which I’m still a member of. When I was pretty young they taught me so much and helped me grow in so many ways. My most memorable experience is joining Di Omana Core.
Q:What was your vision when starting the workshop, and has that vision changed over time?
A:My vision was to increase students to a dance vest into our culture. My vision has opened up. A lot of students came, they enjoyed it, smiles on their faces so that let’s me know that I’m doing my job.
Q:What do you hope students will experience or learn by participating in this workshop?
A:To learn their culture, that it’s ok to do something of their culture. You have hip-hop, you have jazz, but West African is a dance from our people.
Q:Do you think its important for Black Americans to learn about their African roots and if so, why?
A:Of course it is, you need to know where you come from, that helps you know where you come from, that helps you know where you’re goingin the future. So it’s really important that you take the time to study your family. You know, you can do family tree’s, trace back, but you need to know where you originated from.
Q:Why do you think African American students don’t know much about their history, and do you feel that they want to learn more?
A:I feel yes they want to learn more but it just hasn’t been introduced, I think that’s it. In most grade schools and high school’s it’s not introduced. There is things such as Black History month but its such a minimal, it’s the usual Martin Luther King, Harriet Tubman but that doesn’t take you to the start. So I just think that there not introduced to it.
Q:When you were younger were you always interested in West African Dance or did it start later on?
A:It started in my late teens when I was younger, again like I said it wasn’t introduced. Once it was introduced, I couldn’t stop. (Laughs)
Q:What do you like most about West African Dance?
A:The connection that I have with my people, mother earth. I’m at a point in my life where it is also branched off to my children. Watching them on the dance floor, I know that I brought something to them and instilled it.