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Bantaba: The Circle of Celebration
Bantaba: The Circle of Celebration

Through the fusion of dance, story and drama the artist-educators of The Seventh Principle taught our Lower School students about African dance and culture as well as the history and origins of African-based culture in America. The entire Lower School gathered in the McAneny Theater to experience a thrilling demonstration of African music. The high-energy of the dancers was contagious and encouraged the students to pay close attention to what was happening on stage. Throughout the program, the members of The Seventh Principle explained why the people of Africa dance, why they use costumes, and why music is so important to what they do. The children learned that it is possible to communicate without technology or words, instead using drums and dance to relay a story and convey emotions.

During the assembly, students learned the names of the drums, such as the dunun and sangba, as well as how to play them in order to make different sounds. They even had the opportunity to come on stage and learn the African dance moves. The Seventh Principle taught them what each move means and how, when put together, they tell a story. Some of the moves represented carrying harvest baskets, fishing and thanking the sun. The artists explained that this particular type of music is folk music, which tells the story of an entire village as opposed to focusing on one individual's journey. The dances that the students learned were traditional harvest dances, used throughout Africa to celebrate the bounty of the land and show their gratitude.

You can view more photo highlights from both the assembly and the workshops in our Flickr album here. For videos of the students practicing their dances and learning about African culture, check out our Instagram and Facebook stories!