Another incredible artist is joining the Arts Every Day directory! Please join us in welcoming the multi-talented and award-winning dancer, choreographer, musician, and educator, Kwame Shaka Opare and his organization, “Engage Creativity.”
Kwame comes to Arts Every Day with an impressive background in the world of professional dance, having been a principal dancer with Kankouran West African Dance Company at the age of 14 and a multi-year lead role in the touring production of STOMP as just a few of his many accomplishments. Kwame is frequently invited to lecture and teach about his use of dance to “disrupt the status quo of marginalized youth in public schools”. He was Artist-in-Residence with the Virginia Department of Health/Petersburg Public Schools where he worked with students from the area’s lowest achieving school to present a performance at the Adverse Childhood Experiences Summit (ACEs).
One of the programs Kwame is excited to bring to Arts Every Day Partner Schools is his Percussive Dance and Music residency. The Percussive Dance & Music residency combines Engage Creativity’s percussive dance workshop with parts of their Great Recycled Orchestra Workshop (GROW). The Percussive Dance workshop teaches elements of movement and music and demonstrates that when coupled they create a specific kind of dance we call, Percussive. Students learn that percussive dance exists in varying cultures around the world and has been used to tell the history of a people, make comment on current events, communicate emotion, and to show off hard earned dance skills.
The South African Gumboot (also called, Bootdance) is a percussive dance created from a people’s will to survive in extremely harsh conditions. In addition to its cultural significance, learning of the Gumboot dance allows beginners to practice many fundamentals of dance and music.
This residency has been known to inspire the participation of even the most reluctant and anti-dance people in the room! Students connect through the universality of rhythm and, before they know it, they’ve gotten an introduction to dance!