Olivia Paige '15

Azonto

Ghanaian dance craze takes over Bingham

02/18/2013

What: Taft Dance Ensemble's Annual Winter Concert
Where: Bingham Auditorium
When: February 22 and 23 at 7 pm

Ghana's Azonto, in which the dancers mime everyday activities, has taken over dance floors across Africa, Europe and the U.S., writes The Guardian (U.K.)--and now the Bingham stage!

Guest artist Leah Moriarty--a Brooklyn native, who recently ventured to Ghana to be immersed in the country's dance and drumming--has visited Taft twice weekly to work with the Dance Ensemble on "two incredibly fun pieces," says Taft dance teacher Kate Seethaler.

"Fishing communities overlooking the sea in Ghana's capital of Accra, are indisputably its spiritual home, adds The Guardian. The term "Azonto" has been commercialized with its inclusion in music lyrics and with the inclusion of the dance itself in music video clips.

“What is really wonderful about the concert this year is the sheer volume of talent and enthusiasm our students clearly showcase with respect to dance,” says Seethaler. “A number of the pieces pack the stage full of energetic and passionate people. The students this year are a truly fantastic group of playful, fun-loving movers, who have really gelled together and grown tremendously as individuals throughout the course of the season.”

“We are thrilled to have Amanda Benedict on board as another faculty choreographer," adds Seethaler. "Her ballet piece is truly lovely and very well performed. Patti Buchanan, dance director at Westover, has expanded her usual contribution to the show from one piece to two--a real treat! Leah Moriarty, our guest artist, has also created two African pieces, one classical and one contemporary. They are sure to be major highlights of the concert. Our show also features improvisation in two of the pieces, where the dancers have been given a structure that they improvise within as part of the live performance. “

"The dancers take bold risks," says Seethaler, "working extremely hard and pushing themselves outside their comfort zones. I am excited to see where they let the performance take them each night!"

 

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