Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Move to the (African) Beat ; Dance Troupe Treats Students at Washington Middle School

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Move to the (African) Beat ; Dance Troupe Treats Students at Washington Middle School

Article excerpt

Brennan Dunmire did the worm dance across the gym floor Tuesday afternoon while his schoolmates, teachers and members of the Senegal African dance, song and drum troupe, Niancho Eniyaley, cheered him on. Dunmire, 13, was one of about 20 students at Washington Middle

School whom the West African troupe invited onto the gym floor to dance with them after their performance at a schoolwide assembly. The four-member troupe combines African drumming, dancing, acrobatics, costumes and innovative choreography in their performances. From last August through June of this year, the group will visit about 1,000 schools nationwide, often performing three to four shows a day.

Dunmire had seen Niancho Eniyaley dance before in Henderson, but having the opportunity to dance with them Tuesday was his favorite part.

Chandra Chase has been with the group for a few years, but this is her first year touring, and she loves it. Mohamed Soumah and Boujou Cissoko displayed their drumming techniques on four different drums while Chase and Niamcho Sanneh portrayed the African version of a dance-off to their drum beat. Sanneh got the kids yelling when he jumped up and grabbed the basketball rim and did some pullups. Chase said many people think it looks like an angry dance, but it is not.

"It's a dance competition between men and women to show your true strength and endurance," she told the students. "It really showcases your strength from here and here," she said, pointing to her mind and heart.

Sanneh said the name of the group, Niancho Eniyaley, means "warrior up in your eye." He speaks 11 languages; his school was French, but his dialect and first language is Mandingo. He told the students most of them were born and raised in Africa, and despite what most people think about the continent, he has never seen a lion.

"Most people don't know about Africa," Sanneh said. …

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