Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Ring Around the Rose - African Drums

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It was an interactive adventure for kids: drumming, dancing and singing along with African Heartwood Project founder and director Andy Smith and dancer Deja Mitchel from

I took my two youngest children on Saturday, Sept. 8, excited to hear the African rhythms with my children, but not anticipating the audience participation that allowed us, particularly the children, to experience African drum and dance first-hand. 

As anyone with kids knows, doing something hands-on teaches far more than being a bystander. It is also difficult for younger children to sit through a whole performance, so the participation was a wonderful way to allow them to get out of their seats, move around and explore something new. 

The audience first learned how to listen for and identify the music break, which is a pattern one drummer will play to signal to the other drummers that they will either start, change or stop the rhythm. 

“In traditional African drumming you have to hear the break. Drumming always starts with listening,” Smith said. 

Deja Mitchell then demonstrated her traditional African dancing, inviting the  audience to identify the various move representations, such as weaving, running and hunting. 

The children, and brave parents, were then invited down to learn a couple of the dance moves. 

Finally, children were able to go onto the stage with the drummers and dancer to drum, dance and sing along, trying one rhythm then another.

We all had a great time and plan on coming back to Ring Around the Rose for another "wiggle-friendly" performance. 

Ring Around the Rose

Ring Around the Rose prides itself on being a “wiggle-friendly” zone for performances of all kinds and for all ages. This year’s line-up brings dance, magic, theater and more to young minds - and all for only $5 a person, with ages 2 and under free. 

Shows begin at 11 a.m. At the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center at 138 West Broadway in Salt Lake City. 

Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance by calling ArtTix at 801-355-ARTS. Season tickets are also available. 

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