The drum beat and the heartbeat of all dance

Tap dancing, swing, hip-hop, jazz and belly dancing were a few of the genres performed at the “African-American Influence on Dance” college hour event from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. Feb. 26 in the dance room PE 235.

Sunny Smith, the department chair for dance began the event by commenting on the influence of African-American dancing.

“The pathways of all dance, every single form, is based off of African dance; Irish dance and even the chicken dance,” said Smith.

“It is not choreographed. They’re a group, they’re a family, they’re a tribe. The drum is the heartbeat of the dance and of the people.”

There were eighteen different dances performed with special guest performances by SBAD, Sacramento/Black Art of Dance, from Sacramento State, and hip hop dancers from Natomas.

The first performance was done in the traditional style of African-American dance to recorded drumming from Sudan.

“The drum is the heartbeat of the dance and of the people,” said Smith.

Shannon Carroll, American River College student and dance major, danced in nearly all of the performances including but not limited to, jazz, swing and contemporary.

“My first love will always be ballet but after getting dreads I couldn’t dance for Sacramento ballet anymore,” said Carroll

Erin Edwards, ARC student and dance major, also danced in many of the performances and grew up dancing ballet with Carroll.

When asked about the experience, Carroll said, “It was really fun. I don’t think I could decide which performance I liked the best because I liked them all.”

ARC offers an AA transferable degree in dance that requires the completion of general education and eighteen units of upper level dance classes.

“There are seven levels for dance classes but if you grew up dancing your whole life then you can start at level four,” said Smith.

The ARC dance department is going to be having a dance concert March 15 and 16 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the main stage in the theater building.

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About the Author

Cheyenne Drury
Cheyenne Drury is a third-semester student on the American River Current, where she serves as the Editor-in-chief. She previously served as arts and culture editor and news editor. She is double majoring in journalism and photojournalism. She has competed in softball, cross country and track all at the college level. She was published in the American River Review, the award winning college literary magazine.

2 Comments on "The drum beat and the heartbeat of all dance"

  1. Professor Sunny Smith | March 11, 2015 at 3:33 pm | Reply

    Thank you so much for the coverage of our African Dance Presentation for Flex/ College Hour. Thanks for getting the word out there that we are doing these Flex and other performances and presentations. Students are ALWAYS welcome.
    Professor Sunny Smith
    Department Chair for Dance in Kinesiology
    Professors Chanthou Lam, Katherine Bailey, and Hanadi Alkhayyat

  2. Laura Dazzo East | April 23, 2016 at 10:16 am | Reply

    Dear Cindy,
    Remembering all the good times we had at The Dance Centre with Miss Penney. Would love to conect sometime. I am still dancing as well but Ballroom now. I have been living in Fresno for the past forty plus years. Visit Sacramento a couple times a year still. Hope to hear from you if you remember me.

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