YOUTH AND COMMUNITY EDUCATIONAL OUTREACH
Our educational outreach program, entitled Dancing Feet and Talking Drums, takes the audience on a global music and dance journey that promotes cross-cultural understanding. The Dancing Feet and Talking Drums program can be adapted to serve a wide array of participants, from preschoolers to senior citizens. This program is very dynamic and can be modified to fit into diverse formats such as school assemblies, community workshops, master classes, and residencies lasting one to two weeks. Through actively participating in music, dance, and storytelling, participants learn how to link disparate cultural threads together into a common garment.
For the last 15 years this program has been the cornerstone of Okaidja’s work to preserve traditional African music and dance and to illustrate the power of art as a source of strength against adversity. Okaidja & Shokoto conduct programs throughout the United States, with an emphasis on rural and underserved populations who otherwise may not have access to the Arts. The Dancing Feet and Talking Drums program is the most deeply fulfilling aspect of Okaidja’s work, because the heartfelt response from children and adults alike is so gratifying. This music and dance knows no social economic status; it can move and inspire people of all backgrounds. This type of sharing is fundamental to making the world a more peaceful and compassionate place.
DANCING FEET AND TALKING DRUMS RESIDENCY PROGRAMS
Dancing Feet and Talking Drums residencies can vary in length from one to two weeks. The residency program is mainly focused on elementary, high school, and university students. It combines cultural education and hands-on participation in singing, dancing, and drumming. Students learn Ghanaian rhythms and dance movements through an approach that allows them to experience the power of rhythm personally. Each student will have his or her own instrument to work with.
Okaidja enjoys collaborating with school administrators and teachers in order to devise lesson plans for the students that coincide with the material being taught in the Dancing Feet and Talking Drums residency. The students truly benefit from the experience of a full immersion into the culture of West Africa.
The Dancing Feet and Talking Drums residency culminates in a final performance where students showcase the songs, dances, and stories they have learned. The students will be provided with traditional African costumes and their parents are welcome to attend. This final performance is a very joyful, celebratory way to conclude the residency.