The dance troupe that performed at President Obama’s inaugural ball will be presenting a 60-minute workshop at the Cole Harbour library on Feb. 26 at 2 p.m.
Anyone can call and register to take part in this fun and energizing hour where participants can learn modern and traditional dance moves from Africa.
The Halifax-based Maritime Centre for African Dance will be showcasing their own special brand of drumming and dancing at this workshop as a means to not only entertain but to enlighten people everywhere to Africa’s culture and beliefs.
“The Maritime Centre for African Dance has in total 14 drummers and 18 dance instructors across the Maritimes,” said Mufaro Chakabuda , founder and CEO of the Centre. “Together African dance and drum create a language that is an integral part of African Culture.”
The group features different drummers and dancers from all across Africa because it is large continent with 54 countries, said Chakabuda. A fact that many people forget , she said.
“There are four drummers that are local Nova Scotians and the rest are from different parts of Africa, including the East, South and Western parts,” she said. “They are both immigrants or students here.”
In January 2009, the adult troupe dance of the Centre was the only Canadian group chosen to perform for President Obama’s African Inaugural Ball in Washington, DC.
“ We not only represented the Maritimes, but Canada as well and 10 members went to Washington with a group of individuals from the Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs and the Council on African Canadian education,” said Chakabuda. “The trip was truly a chance of a lifetime, and we enjoyed every minute of it.”
The Maritime Centre for African Dance was formed in 2005 and to date has taught over 500,000 kids and adults in schools, community centres and dance programs. It is an organization dedicated to teaching, sharing and promoting African culture though the art of dance, to youth and adults across the country. The Centre also teaches people to play traditional instruments like the Marimba, jembe and thumb piano.
Chakabuda said she started the Maritime Centre for African Dance Inc. with $20, a lot of guts and a dream. With no funding or loans MCAD Inc. has grown to become a large corporation with staff in Toronto and Ottawa with a cultural mix of employees ranging from office staff to dancers and drummers from all over the world.
MCAD has also expanded to Africa, with a branch beginning in Zimbabwe and with plans to expand to other regions in Africa and within North America,” she said.
It has been a long successful journey since Zimbabwe native Chakabuda first started teaching African dance as a volunteer at the YMCA, while she was a student in Halifax. She has founded a charity for scholarships geared towards Zimbabweans called zimscholarships.com and has become involved even more as a volunteer within the community.
She said she is happy to be taking her group to Cole Harbour as part of African Heritage Month.
“African Heritage Month not only celebrates the history of all peoples of African descent,” said Chakabuda, “but also our rich culture and ancestral beliefs.”
February 2011 marks the 27th year that Halifax Public Libraries will celebrate African Heritage Month.
For more information on the workshop at the Cole Harbour Library please call 434-7228.