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Event Description

Experience this incredible workshop with master dancer and teacher Babacar Top, lead dancer with Jant-Bi! Experimental Sabar fuses contemporary movement with Sabar, connecting today’s dances with traditional movements. Originating from traditional ceremonies, Sabar is often referred to as the national pulse of Senegal. It is known for its rhythmic complexity and sophistication in both movement and music. With its light-footed roots, elegance and ecstatic rhythms, Sabar is one of the most difficult dances to learn. The unconventional rhythms the Sabar drum inspires swift shifts of balance while maintaining a seemingly cool demeanor that make Sabar an impressive dance to perfect. Understanding the base of Sabar gives one the ability to experience full expression of the body in uncharted territory. Experimental Sabar offers an opportunity to delve into the specificity of Sabar as a dance form and connect to an authentic way of expression. Mbalax is a genre of popular music from Senegal that derives from rhythms used in Sabar and is often danced at parties and clubs. Developed in the late 70’s, Mbalax reached popularity in the 80’s with artists such as Youssou N’dour and Orchestra Baobab. Class will begin with a warm up to prepare the body for high energetic movement. We will transition into a series of exercises to support building a strong communal foundation for dancing together – a party vibe. Class will continue with learning a movement combination, transitioning to traveling across the floor. Our time together will culminate in an improvisational jam that allows students to play and explore the movement learned throughout class. Rooted in Sabar dance, we will discover the elegance and musicality of Mbalax and push to deepen our understanding of how to listen to music and connect through movement. Open to all levels of experience.Khalifa Babacar Top is a Senegalese artist who began his dancing at a young age with Sabar in traditional ceremonies. His interests in storytelling with the body lead him to deepen his learning and seek out more African contemporary dance forms. Top was a company member with Compagnie Jant-Bi for four years. He has worked with Regine Chopinot, Robyn Orlin, Mark Tompkins, Kristie Simon, Rosangela Slivestre, Rachel Erdos and Ido Tadmor. In 2013, he performed Bolero with Maurice Bejart Ballet Lausanne. Top has worked in collaboration with the Association Kaay Fecc in Dakar, Senegal to develop programming that exposes young dancers to a variety of dance forms. He currently teaches at Ecole des Sables. He has taught and performed throughout the continent of Africa, Europe and the USA.

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Cumbe is a Center for African and Diaspora dance and culture! Part of our mission here at Cumbe is to bring ashu00e9, the power and spirit of African and Diaspora dance and music, into our modern lives.

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