Black History Month is a chance to highlight the important contributions and achievements of African Americans throughout our nation’s history. In that spirit, the Spanish club put together a show that did just that. And it was a Stevie Wonder song that was Spanish club adviser Marie Anderson’s inspiration.
“I was just listening to a song by Stevie wonder called “Living for the City” and it just really struck me all the things that happened to African Americans and how they’re [sometimes not] recognized for anything but crime, gangs, and drugs and so I wanted to recognize them,” said Anderson.
Her purpose was to show people how most dances came from African American origin.
“The contributions that African Americans made towards American dance [are many], because pretty much every dance we do today is based off something that Africans brought with them from their mother lands,” said Anderson.
The performance was held in the large auditorium on March 3.
One of the dances that they performed is “The African American Dance,” along with the song “Kukere” by Iyanya.
“Practice is wild. It’s busy everyday and it’s stressful [but] I like performing, we have been working really hard and I like being around these people,” said sophomore Alonna Gomez.
The students in the dance were hard at work trying to get everything settled before the performance.
“Everybody put in something. It wasn’t [easy] with everybody putting in ideas, [but] it’s fun interacting with everybody and just being able to dance it’s just something I like to do. It’s just the excitement and the movement. There’s a lot of movement, and I like movement. I move a lot,” said sophomore Tiaja Perry.
The students are excited and dedicated to show what they’re capable of.
“I like how even though we have all our differences we all come together to perform as a family,” said sophomore Mckayla Vu.
Not only do they have the dances and routines to take care of but they also had to get their costumes ready.
“Were dancing through the decades, so they will wear costumes that are appropriate for the decade their representing. [For the 1920s], the girls are wearing flapper dresses and the boys are wearing gangster type things to represent prohibition and stuff,” said Anderson.
Spanish club sponsored the event, and helped purchase all the props and anything else that is needed.
One of the dances representing the decades were the Jitterbug, an exuberant ballroom dance originating in the United States and spread internationally by U.S. armed forces during World War II. For the African dance connection, it refers mainly to the dances of Sub-Saharan Africa, and the many cultural musical and movement styles. The Girls wore all black with a long colorful skirt that was tied on the side of their hips.
Bird Clarkson, a professional dancer and instructor from CMU, took time out of his day to come help with the choreography and perfect the dancers’ routines.
“They need to learn to maintain their energy, they have to be mentally ready so they can use that energy to do more cool stuff,” said Clarkson.
Clarkson would have liked to have more time with students so he can see what more they can offer, help them work together with their strengths and weaknesses.
The show came together, and those involved said it was a success, with one big problem: very poor attendance.
“I enjoyed it very much; however…we only had like 20-30 people there and that was disappointing because those kids really worked super hard,” said Anderson. “I kinda felt like it was a kick in the butt for them because hardly anybody came out. I would do it again but it was a disappointing turn out for something they worked so hard on,” said Anderson.