Celebrating Black History Through Dance

There was so much energy in the dance rehearsal room today. The Cypress College students are excited about the celebration of the Black History Month through dance tomorrow at 4 p.m. in the Cypress College Gym 2 Foyer.

“Each class is doing something that reflects the African-American aesthetic of dancing,” said Maha Afra, chair of the Dance Department, “whether it’s through movement or through rhythm or through the style of music.”

She said performers don’t have to be dance students. “We have students from the photo department involved.” Two students from the art department are presenting their artwork tomorrow, also. “Art, especially dance, has been very heavily influenced by African-American aesthetic.”

Chelsea O'Brien

Chelsea O’Brien

Everybody is contributing separately, said Afra. “I’m anxious for it to be successful.”

This dance event is not exclusive to African-Americans. Students from other backgrounds will be participating, “bringing it in focus.” There will be solo performances, including Hip hop and African tribal dance. Two students will improvise to “praise music.”

About 10 dances will be performed, said Chelsea O’Brien, communications & dance major. “All of the dance classes are contributing to it.”

(criminology major)

Kayla Forte

All students interviewed said they are excited by Professor Afra’s dance performance. Chelsea O’Brien said, “Maha’s has a Middle Eastern taste to it.”

O’Brien said, “I’m in both the Middle Eastern piece and the dance improv piece. I think it’s really just bringing awareness to another culture and being respectful and showing it off in a good way.”

“Black history month means a lot to me. I feel really great that I can show my appreciation for it through dance,” said Kayla Forte, criminal justice major.

O’Brien added, “I think getting a chance to dance in front of an audience is a really great thing. So doing it through a different style opens up my dancing spectrum in a great way.”

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