Parker welcomed a special group that traveled all the way from Ghana, West Africa! The Saakumu Dance Troupe is dedicated to introducing audiences from around the world to traditional and contemporary African dance and music. Led by Bernard Woma, the group performs repertoire that ranges from spiritual, ceremonial and recreational genres to contemporary African dance forms. And, as Parker found out once again, their music and performance is so filled with movement, energy and joy that the audience can’t help but get involved.
Saakumu Dance Troupe began their visit with a special workshop with the 6th grade, teaching them some traditional songs and dances from their country. Then they took the Heller Auditorium by storm with a performance for all those able to attend. Aside from the toe-tapping, heart-pumping music, Woma introduced students to the gyil (African xylophone) and the praise singing (talking drums) of the Akan and Dagbamba people of Ghana. Finally, the audience was delighted as a special trademark of the Saakumu Dance Troupe was on display: this being the highly participatory nature of their performance! Whether it was responding with the traditional African responses taught by Woma, joining Saakumu on stage for special dances or dancing with the troupe as they paraded around the audience, everyone took part in this performance!
Parker was very fortunate to host Saakumu Dance Troupe and welcome their assistance as we teach our students how to be responsible citizens in this global community.