Sunday, April 8, 2012

Float like a Butterfly, Dance like a Bee

The lights dimmed.
Breathing ceased. 
Eyes peered toward the front of the room, waiting. 
Waiting for the story to unfold...

Although each presentation our class has seen has been unique in one way or another, I especially enjoyed Dr. Ochieng' K'Olewe's class.  His inventive style kept me interested throughout his various tales and speech.  Rather than simply presenting African folktales and the tradition behind them, Dr. Ochieng' K'Olewe invited us to participate in the tradition itself.  With a simple call and response, Dr. K'Olewe brought us into the stories, giving us an active part in the tradition of passing on the stories. 

Never before did I think that fairy tales involved dancing.  I certainly did not expect that when I signed up for this course.  Technically it only makes sense, as dancing goes hand in hand with music, which quite frequently has lyrics.  I was taken aback at the time, however, because most fairy tales and/or folk tales require a certain amount of imagination only to envision the actions and scenarios in the story.  To add dancing and movement, which can require a certain amount of creativity and ingenuity as there isn’t a set pattern most of the time, adds another layer to the fairy and folk tale tradition.  I was impressed by Dr. K’Olewe’s willingness to be that hands-on, to tell stories as they were actually told, to introduce the language and expect us to pick it up.  Kudos to him for allowing us to join the tradition itself instead of learning about it from a distance.  
P.S. Bees are actually incredible dancers.  They never fly in a straight line, not because they're drunk on pollen, but because they're dancing toward their home, simply enjoying life. =]

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