As dancers move in an expression of their inner feelings, their movements are generally in rhythm to the drumbeat. It is the sound of the drum and the rhythms that are played that provide the heartbeat of the dance. From the stomping of the feet to the moving of the torso to the clap of the hands, the body is the most important tool in African dance.
African dance is polycentric, meaning the body is not treated as one single central unit but instead divided into several centers of movements. Each area of movement is able to move to the different rhythms within the music.
“The Gift of Dance; From the African Diaspora” is a short documentary that explores the evolution of West African Dance from the very streets of Africa as it traveled through national companies, eventually landing in dance studios in America. This documentary traces the roots of different dance forms back to African dance, emphasizing the clear similarities between them. The video further touches upon the core reason for the creation of African dance, which was the method to bring everyone together as a community centuries ago.
The culture and traditions of African dance survives throughout the world as it lives on in the many African influenced dances of today. “The rhythm is in your blood.”
Full Documentary: "The Gift of Dance; From the frican Diaspora"