Circle 'Round:

Brooklyn 3

Members of Our Lady of Lebanon Debka Troupe demonstrate before teaching audience members debka line dance at Ft. Greene Park. Photo: Etienne Fiossard

Sunday, June 8, 2008
Fort Greene Park 
Folk Feet Circle 'Round Brooklyn 3 is an afternoon of traditional dance workshops and performances highlighting Brooklyn-based groups. This year's theme is Earth Stomping Dance Traditions featuring South African gum boot and Zulu warrior dance, Lebanese style debka line dance, Indian Kathak dance, and Panamanian cumbia atravesada with zapateo arreglos.

This Year's Theme: Earth Stomping Dance Traditions

Founder Sduduzo Ka-Mbili and Michael Nyonende Forde perform and teach Zulu dance (traditional foot-stomping warrior dance) and gumboot dance of South Africa, a syncopated rhythmic step dance innovated by mine workers in the oppressive and violent conditions of South Africa's apartheid-era gold mines.

Debka troupe members of Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Church in Brooklyn Heights, Danny Antoun and John Wakim along with other Bay Ridge-based debka aficionados demonstrates and teaches the earth-shaking steps of Lebanese-style debka while Jad Lebbos plays the resounding tabl beladi. Debka is a social line dance that has been performed in the Levant (Bilad el Sham) since Ottoman times. Although variations are found between Palestinian and Lebanese/Syrian styles, group unity and a strong relationship to the earth as expressed through heavy stomps and precise heel-toe footwork always characterize practiced and passionate debka dancers. Whether choreographed or danced socially, debka can express national pride, and political resistance, or simply joyfulness at a social event.

Kathak is a classical dance form from North India. It's a partially narrative dance form characterized by fast footwork (tatkar), spins (chakkar). Najma Ayashah, Kathak dance exponent of the Jaipuri tradition, is known to have enriched and integrated the established Jaipur tradition with elements of folk and Gypsy dance with an unusual sense of aesthetic adventure and free form. Her creative repertoire finds expression in integrated compositions with cross-cultural or fusion pieces performing to music and rhythms of Flamenco, Africa, and the Middle East.

Brooklyn-based Panamanian Folklorico ensemble Conjunto Nuevo Milenio and director Alberto Gonzalez present the cultural and regional diversity of Panamanian traditions and perform at celebrations such as Brooklyn's Panamanian Parade on Franklin Avenue. The troupe teaches and performs Afro-Panamanian dances, such as congo, from the costal areas of panama as well as dances rooted in the Spanish colonial heritage of the central province, such as punto, and tamborito, a couple-dance. For Circle 'Round 3 the ensemble demonstrates a popular social dance called cumbia atrevesada. Sections of the cumbia feature quick, eye-catching, percussive footwork called zapateo, usually performed by men to challenge each other and impress their female counterparts.

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