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The art of dance

Shaka Mayers

The art of dance

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Salsa, locking, popping, dropping.
These were the main ingredients for an enjoyable night of dance recently featuring the group Urban Artistry.
Last Saturday night four members of Urban Artistry – Junious Brickhouse, Latasha Barnes, Oluwatoyin Sogunro and Brent Talley – demonstrated the evolution of dance, its origins and impact on society at the Errol Barrow Centre For Creative Imagination.
Sogunro kicked off the history lesson with African dance while Emily Wessel, also of Urban Artistry, provided the commentary. The audience learned that most urban dances had roots in African movement. It was the custom in Africa, during ceremonial dances, for villagers to form a circle called a cypher around the dancer(s).
The people forming the cypher would usually be accompanied by a musical instrument that served as support or encouragement to the person emoting his spirit through physical movement.
Next up was Barnes and she showed off the sensual moves of salsa. The term salsa was created in 1930s New York by the locals who saw Puerto Ricans dancing to various forms of Hispanic music. From then on, salsa became a popular name to refer to a variety of music and dance with Hispanic roots.  
Following Barnes was Brickhouse, who popped and locked the audience’s attention. Locking was created accidentally by Don Campbell in the late 1960s when he got stuck while doing the funky chicken; from then it evolved into the dance we know today.
Popping, on the other hand, was coined to describe the technique of quickly contracting and relaxing your muscles, performing a “jerking” movement. The robot is a perfect example of popping.
Lastly, Talley showed his athleticism in “B-boying”, better known as breakdance. Some members of the audience even joined the demonstration and showed off their own skills.
Brickhouse said he was very thankful for the support and sponsorship Urban Artistry had received from the United States Embassy.
He said he had high hopes for the future of Urban Artistry, whose goal was to bring more youth together in a positive environment where they could dance, sing and express themselves without restriction.