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The daily Tar Heel. (Chapel Hill, N.C.) 1946-current, September 27, 1991, Page 5, Image 5

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The Daily Tar HeelFriday, September 27, 19915 Dance rooted in Africa has universal appeal Opeyo! Dancers mix modern with traditional steps By Melissa Mankowski Staff Writer The Opeyo! Dancers performed Wednesday night as part of an African American Culture Week program titled "African Americans in the Arts." The Opeyo! Dancers, a group of stu dent dancers who incorporate African American music and influences into their dances, performed in the program sponsored by the Black Cultural Center's Special Projects Committee. Twoof the piecesmixed reggae music and traditional African-American dances with some modern dance and ballet steps. A third piece focused on the theme of freedom from oppression. The African-American heritage was . emphasized in all of the pieces through the choice of music and style of dance. Sonya McAuley, an Opeyo! dancer, said the music pieces were selected by the dancers, and the dance pieces were created from the music. All of the danc ers contributed to the choreography. Dancers tried to focus on African American culture and interests, McAuley said. The music of Third World and Sounds of Blackness were used in Wednesday's performance. Willie Jordan, a University alumnus and a teacher at Enloe High School in Raleigh, also spoke about how African Americans could use the performing arts to change and improve the image of blacks. He said African- American danc- ers such as Alvin Ailey and Arthur Mitchell of the Harlem Dance Theatre 'had a great influence in the dance world. The Opeyo! Dancers will perform as , part of a Big Buddy sign-up activity Oct. 24 and the Black Greek Step Show Oct. 31. FRIDAY Volleyball vs Kentucky 7:35 SATURDAY Volleyball vs. LaSalle 13:00 and us Furman 7:30 Carmichael Auditorium "OUTRAGEOUS! One of the best films I've seen this year!" - JmI HqI, flood Morning America "AMAZING... Beautiful, lively and intelligent! One amazing performance after another!" - Terrene FUfferty, cc Top volume screaming, high pitched attitude and an incredible cast." - Lawrence Frasctlla, SOMETIMES IT TAKES AN ARMY TO PAY BACK YOUR COLLEGE LOAN. Paying back your college loan can be a long, uphill battle. But the Army's Loan Repayment Program makes it easy. Each year you serve as a soldier, the Army will reduce your college debt by 'A or $1,500, whichever amount is greater. So after serving just 3 years, your college loan will be completely paid off. bu're eligible for this program with a National Direct Student Loan or a Guaranteed Student Loan or a Federally Insured Student Loan made after October 1, 1975. And the loan can't be in default. And just because you've left college, don't think you'll stop learning in the Army. Our skill training offers a wealth of valuable high-tech, career-oriented skills. Call your local Army Recruiter to find out more. Staff Sgt. Blankcnship 929-4820 ARMY. OH ALLYOU CAN OS. Local ensembles perform dances transported from Africa By Mara Lee Staff Writer Choose the one that doesn't belong: hip-hop dance, jazz dance, Simon says, rock concerts. Wrong. They all have legacies from African dance. African dance integrates audience participation, storytelling and commu nity festivals. "African dance is not about some pretentious attitude like some forms of dance. We're very humble we are entertainers. We're very open, every pore in the body is open, we are open to receiving," said Chuck Davis, leader of The African-American Dance En semble, a Durham-based group formed in 1983 that tours nationally. The audience must be open to receiv ing as well, because Davis shouts move ments to perform on cue. "Sometimes there might be some people who are shy, but if that be the case, it only lasts five seconds. (Audience participation) is the nature of my company's format. "In traditional Africa, you have the communal aspect. We're talking about not an audience, but the community that comes to share in what we offer. We're coming from a point of truth, of shar ing." Donee Thomas, artistic director of a beginning dance class at the University, agreed that the emotional response from the audience was an integral part of African dance. "It's a very energizing kind of dance, and it's very easy to move people," she said. Thomas founded Afro 2, which is sponsored by the Black Cultural Cen ter, in the fall of 1989. The troupe of about 30 people choreographs its own African-American pieces, but its focus, African dance, is directly imported from Senegal and Kenya. Thomas has trained with Afro 1, a regional touring group based in New Jersey, since she was 6 years old. Afro t has two parts, a training ensemble and The New Yorker US Magazine n n "THRILLING AND ELOQUENT!" - Richard Cortlu, TIME Magazlrw I G 11. Q U O a traveling group. Thomas joined the traveling section at age 1 2, and in 1987 traveled to Senegal. Patricia Reed Bookheart, the group's leader, visits Africa two or three times a year to research dances. Davis also emphasized the impor tance of research. "I started out in 1 959," he said. "I was going with teachers to the library. In 1977, 1 began going to Africa myself, and I've been going twice a year ever since." Davis' dances come from South Africa, Central Africa, West Africa and from the former Mali Em pire, he said. Both troupes spend a lot of time practicing. Davis' ensemble rehearses 12 to 18 hours weekly, and sometimes more. Nine performers work only in the group, and the other 15 dancers and musicians have outside jobs as well. Afro 2 meets four hours weekly. African dance has universal appeal, something many don't realize, the di rectors said. Davis had a 10-day artist-in-residency at N.C. State University recently. "It's black, white, blue, or ange and green, which is wonderful," he said. "We are about seeing the world through African eyes." Similarly, Thomas said she welcomed all comers, no experience necessary, of all races. "I would like for African dance to be accepted and for all people to study it and appreciate it," she said. African dances often relate stories and events. The Davis ensemble per forms rites-of-passage pieces, wedding dances, war dances and others. The initiation dance strikes the audience best. North SINAL ALL GAMES TELEVISED LIVE. TONIGHT!! MAXIMUM BLUES WITH BLUE REIGN SATURDAY. 92891 NCAA 12:00 CAROLINA vs. NC STATE FLORIDA STATE vs. MICHIGAN 3:00 Atlanta Btaves vs. Houston Astros 3:30 Georgia Tech vs. Clemson Colorado vs. Stanford Pittsburg vs. Minnesota DON! FORGE! OUR WEDNESDAY SPECIALS! Seahawks vs' Co,ts I75 SPORTS QUARTS (32 01.) 'J TUB "0" BEER (64 01) 504 W. FRANKLIN ST. 929-6978 AITENHON ff"0"1".. Perfect for dorm rooms or apartments! RAM Carrboro Plaza Student Owned & Operated MORE FIN I HA! Hf; 'r.rl irK; What does it take for you to have tM Uf J '.ft ' a good lime? Is it delicious food at a price that even makes your wallet feel great? Or is it a fun, relaxed n Neighborhood Grill & Bar AMERICAS FAVORITE EIGHB0R. 1506 E; Franklin St. Chapel Hill, N.C. Davis said. "Each time you make a transition, whether from one age to an other, one role to another or one level of consciousness to another, it's done with pomp and circumstance. It's really joy ous," he said. Some African dances Thomas has studied include death, pregnancy, vir ginity and welcoming dances, she said. "Funga welcoming is the first dance that any dancer would learn," she said, and added that funga was the most popular piece Afro 2 performs. Dance is important on many levels, Thomas said. "It's important for any culture to hold onto the positive aspect. Dance for the black culture is very im portant in general," she said. "There are very, very significant similarities be tween contemporary dance and African dance." Thomas said she danced for reasons other than cultural. "It's a very, very good form of exercise. It's very excit ing to learn the dances and to be a pait of a very close group. And it releases a lot of stress. It's a very beautiful art form," she said. Davis suggested applying the spirit of African dance's warmth to life. He said, "I hope everyone will take the time to share a positive thought with some body every day, and if they can, dance it." A portion of Afro 2 will perform in the Cabaret at tonight's "A Night in Africa." Classes from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays are still open and can he joined through the BCC or Donee Thomas. Carolina SPORT! SUNDAY. 92991 NFL 1:00 Bears vs. Bills Saints vs. Falcons Giants vs. Cowboys Buccaneers vs. Lions 4:00 49ers vs. Raiders Packers vs. Rams Dolphins vs. Jets STUDENTS ! Xpveeats starting at Limited Quantities HURRY! Furniture FOR HIE atmosphere where the sen ice is friendly? W hatever it is. you'll find it at Applebees Neighbor hood Crill & Bar. Where everything we have sounds like fun. A cappella groups gear up for 2-day jam session By Susie Rickard Staff Writer The University's female a cappella group will host the first annual Loreleis Jam Session tonight and Saturday at 8 p.m. in Playniaktrs Theatre. Singing groups from all over the East Coast will travel to Chapel Hill to represent their schools. The Loreleis organized this concert series to con nect the loi ":ng tradition of a cappella singing in ihe North with the sparkling style and spirit of the South. This unification should prove to be exciting as well as entertaining. The groupsparticipating include the University of Virginia Hullabahoos, the Duke University Pitchforks, the University of Rochester Yellow Jack ets, Tufts University'sBeelzebubs, the Princeton Tigressions andUNC'sTar Heel Voices, Clef Hangers and Loreleis. Melanie Wade, president of the Loreleis, said these groups, which are some of the best singing groups from college campuses across the nation, "will expose our campus to a different style of a cappella." For example, many Get Fully Prepared with the LEGAL PREP LSAT PREPARATION SEMINAR the best value in LSAT FALL SEMINARS FORMING NOW CALL 1-800-654-2385 Sponsored by Educational Preparation Services, Inc. Mixed or one style of chicken with 3 large side orders (rice, slaw, beans) and 12 biscuits or muffins. Feeds up ten. Cqajun PREMIUM JW Hours 11 :00 am -1 1 :00 pm 7 DAYS A WEEK CALL FOR PARTY PLATTERS 919-968-4844 919-942-3646 vviiiuwieeKonuppingvenier Jones Ferry Road Carrboro, NC 27510 BARfrEE 149EASTFRLv:XLINST. CHAPEL HILL 929-9990 Enjoy even greater savings End of Summer Sale lasts! 10 of? with uae im of the Northern schools have recently been experimenting with vocal per cussion sounds. This concert series will enable all the groups to exchange techniques and integrate their sounds; thus, the audience will hear a wide showcase of music. The two-night jam session will prove to be a beneficial experience for all. This will be the first time multiple schools from the Northern states, where a cappella groups are more prevalent, come to play in a jam-session setting such as this. Many of these schools have 1 5 singing groups or more, mak' ing it difficult to find performance time. The ji n session gives them a place to sham their talents. The So!";.ern schools, on the other hand, will benefit from the exposure to different and innovative types of a cappella singing. Best of all, the audi ence will hear a fun and worthwhile concert with a wide variety of music ranging from barber shop quartet style to jazz to modern. 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