by Issie Lloyd, Dance Development Worker
Valley and Vale were lucky enough to have the company of Addisu Demissie (a dancer from The Gemini Trust who came to work with Valley and Vale in 2010) for three days throughout September! We took advantage of this and threw him into Alaw Primary, Tondu Primary and Bridgend College to teach some traditional Ethiopian dances!
…and what a treat it was. We raided the schools’ music cupboards and incorporated creative dance into the session, encouraging the children to use music and sound throughout the session. Once the children had completed an obstacle course of musical instruments they moved onto learning a variety of traditional Ethiopian dance movements using the shoulders and feet. They absolutely loved it!
When teaching the college students, Addisu took an advanced approach with contemporary followed by African, which was great as this gave the group a lot of diversity and new knowledge. We played with counter balances, floor work and contemporary technique to start with. Then Addisu moved onto teaching African dance and encouraged interaction through the men dancing with traditional male dance gestures and the women performing with traditional female gestures. This created a great atmosphere with all the boys and girls incorporating a bit of character play and having a lot of fun together! The feedback from these fun-filled workshops was brilliant, everyone wanted to know more about Addisu, more about Ethiopia and most importantly …when he was next visiting? So hopefully we can book in some more workshops on Addisu’s next visit and bring some sunny smiles to the local’s faces!