On Sunday March 10, 2013 I had the pleasure of facilitating a Congolese Dance workshop at my home town of Englewood NJ. It was so exciting to be able to give back to my hometown. I had a great turnout of people of all ages eager to learn and dance! I could only hope they enjoyed it as much as I did, although I broke things down I wanted everyone to be challenged. I couldn’t of asked for a better group of participants and look forward to having more in the future.
Soukous: "Soukous", a derivative of the French word “secousse” – “to shake” It was influenced by the sounds of Afro-Cuban musicians
Kwassa Kwassa:The words kwassa kwassa may have come from the French quoi ça? (“what is it?”). The dance was created by Pepe Kalle and popularized by his soukous music videos, as well as the videos of Kanda Bongo Man, Viva La Musica, and other Congolese musicians.
An energetic mixture of gymnastics, dance, singing, jumps and choreography, Nzango is a popular pastime on both sides of the Congo river – in Congo-Brazzaville (Republic of Congo) and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
According to Feconza, the Congolese Nzango Federation, the game originated from northern Democratic Republic of Congo, well before the country gained independence from Belgium in 1960.
“Nzango” literally means “foot game” in the local Lingala language.
A kind of spring-loaded variant of the rock-paper-scissors game well-known to many Western children, and former children, it was invented by girls fed up with seeing the boys have all the sporting fun. Today it is a codified sport “like all the others” but at the start, Nzango was practised mainly at school or among neighbourhood children, explained Blanche Akouala, president of Feconza, which was created last year.
Now grown women are keeping their love of the game alive into adulthood, many as a keep-fit activity, others just as a fun escape from the household chores. “I play Nzango to keep balanced. I also practise to keep rheumatism at bay. I feel I keep myself in shape,” explained Doris Mantsanga, who coaches a Nzango team in Brazzaville. Fellow player Noella Debanda indulges in Nzango “to remember my childhood”.
“If you have the technique, you can always get out and play,” she added, speaking on one of the sports grounds at Kintele, the epicentre of this year’s African Games held earlier this month, some 15 kilometres (10 miles) north of Brazzaville. - Olympic dream - The game of Nzango involves two teams of players, lined up and facing each other on a pitch measuring eight metres by 16 metres (26-52 feet) .
The individual team members take it in turns to do battle with their opposite number, under the watchful eyes of a referee.The players win points, also known as “feet”, by dint of the position of their feet in relation to their opponents’.
The winning team is the one that wins the most “feet” over two halves of 25 minutes each.
The teams, made up of 11 players and six reserves, attack or defend alternately to the rhythm of songs chanted by all participants with accompanied hand clapping. At the beginning of the match, the teams choose an attack foot, with one side taking the right foot and the other left.
Then the first two players step forward. The goal of the player from the attack team is to move forward on their designated attack foot at the same time as their opponent does. Such movements are invariably preceded by ever more elaborate jumps –as you can’t lose a point while both feet are in the air.
On both sides of the Congo river, Nzango lovers have formed hundreds of teams who play in friendly tournaments. Occasionally teams from the two Congos take each other on. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the game is also used to settle intercommunal conflicts, bringing divided communities together in a joyous party atmosphere.
According to Feconza officials, Nzango has also been “exported” to Gabon and Cameroon. But at the African Games exhibition there were five team from DR Congo taking part in the open-air event. The other demonstration sport at the African Games was Pharaoh Boxing, a type of martial art inspired by an ancient Egyptian martial art.
“These were just demonstrations, there were no medals to hand out,” said Bienvenu Emile Bakale, deputy director general of the African Games organising committee.“We have brought in Nzango to popularise it and encourage those who practise it,” he added. Nazaire Issie, of the Feconza federation, has greater ambitions for Nzango in the future. “Our aim is to become an Olympic sport.”
[#DANCECLASS] Traditional #Congolese #Dance Workshop with Titos Sompa @CumbeDance
Saturday, May 4 | 6-8pm - Congolese Dance & Song
Sunday, May 5 | 6-8pm - Congolese Dance & Lecture
558 Fulton Street Brooklyn, New York
Admission: $18 per workshop * $30 for both
Originating from the Congo (Brazzaville), Titos is a renowned dancer, choreographer, and musician. He is noted especially as a master Congolese drummer, percussionist, and kalimba.
Kinding Sindaw will be performing a dance performance today at La MaMa from 3-5pm.
“The dances of Kinding Sindaw originate from the royal court dances of the Maranao Sultanate- a repertory of the sacred, classic, and secular combining grace and vigor, dances that directly reflect their rich natural environment. Dancers imitate the graceful movements of birds, fish, butterflies, rivers, streams, and ocean trekking boats, celebrate fertility in vigorous choreography, sway delicately using colorful fans and scarves, and dramatically inspire through the martial art of silat.
Moderator: Anne Beryl Corotan Naguit, nurse, political activist, labor union organizer, songwriter, from the Mandaya indigenous tribe
Potri Ranka Manis
Ellin Anisha Guro, Maranao Scholar, Ph.D. student (currently writing her doctoral dissertation on indigenous traditions, including those represented by Kinding Sindaw)
Dr. Nonilon V. Queano, Ph.D. (English, Comparative Literature, and /Creative Writer), Kinding Sindaw musician (kulintang, agung, dabakan, sarunay) and artist/performer and consultant on Philippine culture and art, multi-awarded poet-playwright, songwriter, University of the Philippines Professor of English, Comparative Literature, and Creative Writer
Malaika Queano, long-time Kinding Sindaw artist/dance performer, Third generation tradition bearer, musician (kulintang, agung, dabakan, sarunay), college student and Jam Asia student leader/organizer at SUNY New Paltz
Dr. Lisa Parker, Ph.D., scholar, Kinding Sindaw artist/dance performer, kulintang musician, scientific literature writer
Corky Lee (Photographer), renowned photojournalist
Rose Yapching, Dance Captain, actor (SAG AFTRA), photogarpher Amira Aziza, Dance Captain, dance training on Philippine Melayu , Indonesian dances, Baratanatham ( South Indian dance), Burmese Court dance,Congolese, painter Malaika Queano, kulintang musician, dance training Philippine Melayu, Indonesian dances, Bharatanatyam, Dianne Camino, long time Kinding Sindaw artist, dance performer, dance captain Muhammad Zebedee Dimaporo, Tradition bearer (Maranao and Iranon) Guro Frank Ortega, Philippine indigenous martial arts (including, Silat, Arnis/Arnis de mano), actor, dance performer Amir Rasoulpor, musician, artist, lawyer Anthony Marte, musician/performer”
I’m going to be going and I am about to leave, and watch them perform as I was invited and have attended their cultural classes held on Sundays. (I actually wanted to continue attending and join Kinding Sindaw but schedule wise my life currently does not allow me to be a part of it along with my delay in joining Anakbayan).
So if you are free today and want to come and watch the performance feel free to! Admission is FREE so feel free to come and attend if you can!