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African American dances part of “Taste of Culture”

By Tashieka Hammond
Staff Writer

The annual Taste of Culture was held in the University Center with events from different cultures ending in an outstanding performance of spiritual African-American dances on April 11.            

Several different cultural groups danced during the African-American dance presentation April 11.

Photo by Tashieka Hammond
Several different cultural groups danced during the African-American dance presentation April 11.

The African-American dances began with a performance that was used by slaves who wanted to be free but had no way to escape.

They would dance and shout “freedom chants” so their masters would not be able to interpret what they were saying.             

The second dance was a parade performed by many African-Americans that represented a type of pickup line.

If a man or woman were interested in the opposite sex, they would form this parade and walk up to the opposite sex and perform this dance.            

This is when the audience was allowed to participate. 

They formed a circle, and on the command of the person leading the dance, the entire circle would reverse the way they were going when the leader shouted a phrase.            

Ramon Zepeda, junior sociology major, said, “It’s nice to see other people interact with each other from different cultures.”

As the song increased, so did the phrases and eventually everyone in the circle was going a different way which gave the dance the communication twist.            

The last dance was the “Dance of Respect,” which was performed by West African women who were expecting a child. 

This dance was performed in hopes that the child born would be the next king or queen of the village.             

Although it was performed mostly by women, men would perform to just be part of the process.

“It was very nice,” Zepeda said. “It’s very refreshing to see cultures come together and see different aspects of people outside of their everyday lifestyle.”            

Becky Leviner, Native American Resource Leader and former student at UNCP, said she “enjoyed the performance.” 

She said, “It’s nice to have them here, but I would like to see more student groups perform in the future.”

 

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Updated: Thursday, May 10, 2007
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