After 3 years and one false posting, I finally went to African Dance class last night!
For any Africans that might be reading this, let me be specific... my teacher is from the Ivory Coast, so it's a West African Dance class. I don't want to be one of those people that lumps a whole continent together.
It was very interesting and very hard. I loved it though. I think I wounded the soles of my feet and I expect to feel certain parts of my body tomorrow that might have not been moved with such freedom and passion in awhile.
The dances themselves were really interesting. They definitely reminded me of Capeoira and Samba. Some of the elements of the footwork are similar, but as my teacher said, "... oh, it's much faster and the movements are much larger." True. Very true.
I think my work will be to 1) Loosen up more 2) Listen for the drumbeats, which dictate the movement 3) Try to get a portion of the harder combinations first... like if the feet are the big part, focus on that... if the arms are the flourish and the footwork is simplier, focus on what the arms are doing.
I was very happy to hear that most of the time the dances are similar, so once I get the elements down, I'll be able to work on the different variations more easily. I was also very happy that everyone was very encouraging and welcoming. What a lovely community.
So watch out! I may get seriously good at shaking my stuff to the beat. If not, then I'll at the very least enjoy myself, get a great workout and interact with a wonderful group of people.