African dance workshop held

Vanessa Denice

The Interested Ladies of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority sponsored an African dance workshop with instruction from Sister Mafalda Thomas-Bouzy on Sept. 25.

Thomas-Bouzy taught a group of students some traditional African dance steps, as well as informed them about a few of the customs and intricacies related to the dances.

The workshop began with Thomas-Bouzy introducing herself and explaining her background. Thomas-Bouzy is a member of the Villanova community and a traditionally trained African dancer. She studied her craft all over the world before settling in Pennsylvania to open her own dance studio.

She has been involved in many University activities, including the Dance Team, the Black Cultural Society and Rampage. Thomas-Bouzy will also act as a dance instructor during the spring semester for a one-credit Honors course.

During the workshop, she was accompanied by a native West African drummer who was also a member of the Liberian national dance troupe. He provided constant music for the dancers.

Over the next hour and a half, the students in attendance received a basic introduction to traditional dance moves from Mali, Puerto Rico and various parts of Africa. They also learned about the customary clothing for African dancers and the significance of different drum rhythms and words in tribal songs.

The Interested Ladies of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority decided to put on the workshop in order to promote education about other cultures.

“We wanted to do something that hasn’t been done on campus before,” senior Public Relations Chair Kathleen Regalado said. “The ladies in our group are all of Hispanic descent, and a lot of the roots are African, so we wanted to share some of our culture with the Villanova community.”

Students expressed that they found it to be a valuable experience during a short period of reflection at the end of the workshop. The participants reported feeling less stressed, and they all noted that freeing their minds and dancing benefited to their mental health. They also said that the workshop erased many preconceived notions about African dance.

“I personally gained a new appreciation for the principles behind the steps,” said junior Chairperson Erica Figuerora. “The statements Africans were making through dancing gave these individuals motivation and inspiration to continue forward. I feel that others were able to let go of their inhibitions, release stress and have a good time.”

The others in attendance agreed.

“The workshop was really inspirational,” said freshmen Nicole Burchette, who is a member of the Interested Ladies of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority. “It helped to relieve a lot of stress. I would love to do it again.”