The 4th Annual Dance & Drum Festival, organized by African Dance professor Jewel Jackson “Sista Jewel” also Director of African Soul International, is becoming increasingly popular with yearly attendees from California, Utah, New-York, Ohio etc…The festival took place at Cal Poly Pomona and featured master dance teachers from West Africa (Guinea, Senegal) and the Diaspora (USA, Cuba) including Youssouf Koumbassa, Mareme Faye, Jeffrey Page, Djeneba Sako, Mouminatou Camara, Babacar N’Diaye, Assane Konte and Djian Tie, with specialties in Guinean, Senegalese and Cuban dances.
The dance classes were all accompanied by professional Djembe, Sabar and Conga players. There were professional as well as amateur dancers taking 1h30-2h long classes, three to four times a day. Some of these dancers also took part in Saturday night’s main event on stage which showcased dancing combined with acting, similarly to African Ballet or Broadway Theater.
At the end of the main event, Sista Jewel took the time to thank African Dance pioneers within the community and nationwide for their contributions dating as far back as the 60s. Special recognitions were given to Nzingha Camara, Ndella Davis-Diassy, Mareme Faye, Mami Aleke and Assane Konte to name a few.
The festival was a success and really emphasized a sense of community, education and respect for the elders and ancestors.
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