Project Removes Classroom Walls; After-Class Programs Challenge the Willing to Self-Improvement
Byline: Shelley Widhalm, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Melvin Deal sits at a d'jun d'jun drum, bellowing out commands, "Walk and pick up your feet, and add your elbows. Down, down. March."
Six Lincoln Multicultural Middle School students try to follow along as they learn the steps to the agbadja West African dance.
Mr. Deal, dancing and drumming director for African Heritage Dancers & Drummers in Southeast, tells one of the boys sitting out in a pout to start dancing.
A girl who does not want to dance solo in the circle's center like the others gets a mini-lecture: "If you're afraid to go in, it means you have damaged self-esteem," Mr. Deal says.
Mr. Deal teaches the disciplines of African dance and drumming while addressing the issues of low self-esteem and of juvenile delinquency and violence. He likes to meet students "on their own turf and bring to them ancient knowledge and wisdom that they can apply to everyday life to build respect and discipline .. and to improve their general deportment," he says.
The drumming and dancing lessons are part of …
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Publication information: Article title: Project Removes Classroom Walls; After-Class Programs Challenge the Willing to Self-Improvement. Contributors: Not available. Newspaper title: The Washington Times (Washington, DC). Publication date: February 19, 2007. Page number: B01. © 2009 The Washington Times LLC. COPYRIGHT 2007 Gale Group.
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