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Bringing African culture to the Queen City - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Bringing African culture to the Queen City

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

No matter your experience with African dance, Saturday in Burlington at city hall, it was all about feeling the rhythm...

Jea Koul Musical Director Ismeal Bangoura said, "The energy of the drum brings everybody together."

Teachers from the Jeh Kulu Dance and Drum Theater invited locals to learn traditional dances from across the world...

Senegal, Guinea and Mali traditional dance moves flowed through the room--and into the dancers...

Ismeal Bangoura, also of Jea Koul, said, "The power of an instrument is like spiritual. Make everybody understand each other.''

Dancer Amanda Liguori said, "The energy is so positive and I just felt that energy, it was just so much fun."

The 19th annual dance and drum festival brought 8 dance and drum classes to the scene. Dancers could also get in full traditional dress before classes began.

"We have this nice little African Marketplace set up and we really kind of take over city hall for the weekend," said organizer Jamilah Vogel.

And whether you master the moves, it's all about having a good time.

"There's no shame in not knowing the choreography and you can kind of just water it down if you don't know it and it will still be so much fun," said Liguori.

Sidiki Sylla, a Jea Kou Dance Instructor, said, "Everybody comes on happy, enjoying, smiling. If you're not happy, you come on this staff, you are going to be happy."

And it's not just Saturday that dancers will gather at city hall.

"We have this weekend long festival of dance classes and drum classes and there's just music playing through city hall all weekend long," said Vogel.

And as the weekend continues, West African teachers will continue to bring culture to the Queen city through the beat of their drums.

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