Adult djembe and céili classes lead into an impromptu masquerade dance jam

We had good numbers at the adult drumming and dance classes yesterday evening, and it’s great to see that we have regulars who come every week (and are showing real progress!) as well as new faces.

We learned some new djembe rhythms (including lamba and assiko, or “high-life”), and this week we were under a bit more pressure, as each student had to play a (difficult!) rhythm pattern alone! It’s easy to play when the rest of the group is backing you up, but you really have to confront your own mistakes when playing solo. A hard but valuable lesson!

We also reviewed some sean-nós (“old style”) steps from last week, breaking down the footwork in more detail. The “basic” step is actually one of the harder steps, but once you’ve mastered it, anything is possible.

We ended with a fun céili dance called “The Waves of Tory,” which is a good interactive social dance that progresses down the floor. There were a few minor collisions, but what fun would it be without them?

Still 17

After the workshops, everyone gathered outside the school building in the basketball court. People were still dancing “skip 23s” around, and this eventually morphed into Montserrat’s masquerade dance! Some of the students are in the Ladies of Alliouagana masquerade troupe here in Montserrat, and they showed just how similar some of the steps are to Irish dance: there is a similar 3-count step, as well as a heel/toe step. Dominique pulled out his djembe and gave us a beat while we danced masquerade!

This kind of “trading” of steps and rhythms is exactly what these workshops are all about: the intersection of Africa, Ireland, and Montserrat.

Adults djembe class

Adults djembe class (audio)

Adults dance “The Waves of Tory”