Learn dance and drumming from Ghana

Ghanaian dance and drumming classes are free to the public at the Wilhelmina Johnson Resource Center. Here, from left, are Kamryn Williams, dance instructor Naana Banyiwa Horne, Alani Williams and Denise Griffis. On drums is Horne’s son, Kofi Horne.

AIDA MALLARD/Special to the Guardian
Published: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 2:04 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 2:04 p.m.

You don't have to travel to the Republic of Ghana in Africa to soak up the culture and to learn traditional dances and drumming. You can get that right here in Gainesville — and for free.



What: Ghanaian Dance and Drumming classes for adults and children.
When: 6-7:30 p.m. Thursdays.
Where:Wilhelmina Johnson Resource Center, 321 NW 10th St.
Cost: Free.
Information: Call 352-871-2310.

The classes are suitable for children and adults and the only requirement is that you wear comfortable shoes.

Dance classes are taught by Naana Banyiwa Horne, and her son, Kofi Horne, teaches drumming. The classes are offered from 6-7:30 p.m. Thursdays at the Wilhelmina Johnson Resource Center at 321 NW 10th St.

"We use dancing and drumming classes as a way to teach the history and culture of Ghana," said Horne, a professor at Santa Fe College who is from Ghana. "We're trying to reach the community and to engage in community building."

On a recent Thursday, it ained all day and only a few people braved the inclement weather to attend class. It was the first class for 10-year-old Kamryn Williams, 14-year-old Denise Griffis, and 12-year-old Alani Williams. Although the teen girls were hesitant at first, before long, they were responding to the call of the drums and keeping up with Horne as the steps and body movements grew more complex.

Horne said the class is designed to support the Santa Fe College and East Gainesville Instruction mission to add value to the community. She said the class is open to the community and those interested can just show up.

Horne said the Ghanaian dance movements are very specific. She said the dance itself identifies the community a person is from in Africa and the drum rhythms communicate important messages on all occasions, whether to honor ancestors or to transition a child into adulthood or for other events.

"I want to encourage parents to bring their children," Horne said. "I want to provide a venue where people can engage in community building together."

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