African Dance: Movement, Music, & More
Whether he's teaching African dance classes at Forsyth, serving as artistic director for Afriky Lolo, or dancing on professional stages around the world—Diádié Bathily's high-octane level of passion and energy is both inspiring and contagious! This is the eighth year (and counting) that Diádié (pronounced Jah-Jay) has led Forsyth's annual two-week African Dance unit in P.E. classes. Simultaneously, a study of African drumming is taught by Diádié's colleague Andrew Behnen in music classes.
But it doesn't stop at movement and music. The unit is structured so that students learn more about African countries and capitals, culture, and languages—even major exports—each year as they advance in age and grade, while they are also challenged with faster and more complicated dance steps. Families were invited to attend the final day of the program on Monday, October 8, when the kids demonstrated their knowledge and performed their dances. At the end of each class presentation, Diádié had everyone—parents and teachers included!—on the floor of the Rand Center to learn some of the basic steps.
At Forsyth, kids in Senior-Kindergarten through Grade 6 attend P.E. classes daily; Junior-Kindergarten attends every other day. African dance and ballroom dance (starting in Grade 4) units are an integral part of Forsyth's diverse physical education curriculum.