West African Dance I
4.4 (4 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
21 students enrolled
Wishlisted Wishlist

Please confirm that you want to add West African Dance I to your Wishlist.

Add to Wishlist

West African Dance I

Learn the fundamental movements of Ekonkon Dance from the Jola people of Casamance West African.
4.4 (4 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
21 students enrolled
Created by Bakara Johnson
Last updated 4/2016
Curiosity Sale
Current price: $10 Original price: $50 Discount: 80% off
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
  • 41 mins on-demand video
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Make a connection with the Jola history to the Ekonkon dance movements.
  • Sing the lyrics of the Ekonkon song with the melody.
  • Gain experience in how to execute Ekonkon movements.
  • Know the names of the Kutiro drums that accompany the Ekonkon dance.
  • Recognize the Kutiro rhythm and “breaks”.
  • Perform up to 8 Ekonkon dance movements with the Kutiro Drum rhythm.
  • Build stamina and endurance.
  • Participate in a West African dance class dancing Ekonkon with confidence.
View Curriculum
  • Students should be mobile and flexible, ability to move freely.
  • Students should have an eagerness to learn.
  • Students should posses a sense of rhythm and timing.
  • Students should have the ability to keep the torso titled slightly forward and the knees slightly bent.

In this course students will learn Ekonkon dance and the Kutiro drum rhythm as rendered by the Jola people of Senegal (Casamnce) West Africa. Students will begin with a slide presentation discussing the history of the Ekonkon dance, the region and people who perform the dance, when and for what occasion the dance is rendered. Next is a series of demonstration videos of the natural dance movements of the Ekonkon dance technique, followed by the solo Ekonkon movements and lastly a video with live drummers playing the Ekonkon rhythm on Kutiro drum. Further, an example of the call by the drummer to begin and/or change movement, known as a “break” will be demonstrated. As a bonus  there is a video that demonstrations the formation of a Bantaban (circle), which is where dancers gather together and demonstration their knowledge of the technique and movements in a compilation of movements put together in improvisation, beginning with the Ekonkon song and accompanied by the drummers.

By the end of this lecture students will know the history behind the movements in the Ekonkon dance, understand the purpose of the movements, can sing the Ekonkon song, have experience in how to execute the movements, understand the rhythm and recognize the 'break" in the rhythm, and have the ability and skill to attend and participate in a West African dance class with confidence.

Who is the target audience?
  • This course is for anyone who wants to learn West African dance.
  • This course is for anyone who wants to immerse themselves in Senegalese culture and dance.
  • This course is for anyone who wants to learn Ekonkon dance movements.
  • Ekonkon is a very approachable dance. It is for all ages, body types and sizes, and requires no previous dance experience.
  • This course is a great way to build stamina, energize and burn calories having fun.
  • This course will benefit all dancers and dance enthusiast.
Students Who Viewed This Course Also Viewed
Curriculum For This Course
History, Agriculture, Ekonkon Dance of the Jola People
3 Lectures 20:44

Students will learn the history and technique of rice cultivation as rendered by the Jola people of Casamance, who live in the southern region of Sengal, West African, and how some of their cultivation techniques are mimicked in Ekonkon dance movements. 

Preview 12:50

In this lecture students will learn about Kutiro drums, understanding the Ekonkon rhythm and learn to hear the break in the rhythm.

Kutiro Drums Lecture

In West African dance the movements are seldom what they seem. Most movements are done with the torso tilted slightly forward, knees slightly bent and the feet shoulder width apart to support the hips. These are just of few of the many intricacies, technique and nuances that assist dancers in interpreting the Ekonkon movements.

Intricacies, Technique, Nuances
Ekonkon Natural Dance Movements
7 Lectures 07:50

Students will learn how to render the first movement in a series of natural movements distinctive to Ekonkon dance. In this movement the foot technique is reminiscent of the Jola people pressing the rice seeds into the earth after they have been spread on the ground. 

Ekonkon Dance Movement 1 Break-down

Students will learn how to mimic pulling a rice plant and placing it in a basket while maintaining the foot technique and rhythm of Ekonkon dance.  

Ekonkon Dance Movement 2 Break-down

Students will lean how to continue to maintain the Ekonkon foot technique while shifting hand movements to mimic holding a basket filled with rice and shifting (shaking) the basket to separate the rice from dirt and rocks.

Ekonkon Dance Movement 3 Break-down

Students will learn a new Ekonkon technique that requires the feet to step then push up into a reive', while arms and hands are moving in a scooping motion. 

Ekonkon Dance Movement 4 Break-down step relive and scoop

Students will learn how to use the small movement that is a step then hop, to mimic the ridging of the rice fields with a kajandu or kadiandou (unique shovel).

Ekonkon Dance Movement 5 Break-down

Students will learn an Ekonkon solo (celebration) movement, utilizing the hips and a popping motion on both sides of the body, usually rendered at a faster tempo.

Preview 01:24

Students will learn to utilizing a new foot technique and arm motion that replicates the cutting of rice plants with a knife or sickle (farming tool) to harvest the rice crop.

Ekonkon Dance Movement 7 Break-down step forward right foot bring back arms cuts
Ekonkon Solo Movements
5 Lectures 06:00

Students will learn the movement that sets up the transition into the main Ekonkon movement.

Ekonkon Dance Movement 8 Break-down

Students will learn a solo movement which lifts the leg from the thigh, bending at the knee in front of the body, popping the hips, and putting the leg back down. The arms swing from the elbows to the front of the body then to the back. The nuance in this movement is the small pop of the hip as the leg is being lifted.

Ekonkon Dance Movement 9 Break-down

Students will learn the technique of a popular solo movement, rendered at a faster tempo.

Ekonkon Dance Movement 10 Break-down

Students will learn a popular movement that requires the hips to twist from right to left while take small steps forward, and is rendered at a faster tempo.

Ekonkon Dance Movement 11 Break-down

Students will learn the technique to the main Ekonkon movement, which rendered at a faster tempo.

Ekonkon Dance Movement 12 Break-down
Ekonkon Rhythm As Played on Kutiro Drums
2 Lectures 03:41

Students will learn to listen for the "break" in the rhythm--a signal to dancers when to start or stop a movement, and when to change movements.

Preview 00:48

Students will use the Kutiro Drum rhythm to practice the Ekonkon dance technique, to formalize themselves with the "break" and to understand the polyrhythms played.

Kutiro Drum Rhythm
Bantaba or Circle
1 Lecture 02:59

Students gather in a circle at the end of a dance class and demonstrate the technique they learned, and to have fun.

Bantaba "Circle"
About the Instructor
Bakara Johnson
4.4 Average rating
4 Reviews
21 Students
1 Course
Entrepreneur, Writer, Editor, Dancer, Vocalist, Photographer, Udemy Instructor

Raised and educated in both the Baltimore/DC Metropolitan Area and the San Francisco Bay Area, Bakara Johnson became a student of dance after participating in a modern dance class in high school. She later received aggressive training in Haitian dance and Dunham Technique with Lynn Wethers-Coles and Blanche Brown, Congolese dance with Malonga Casquelourd, and the traditional dances of Guinea, Ghana and Mali, but it was in the traditional dances of Senegalese West African that she found special personal and artistic resonance.

As a performing member of Harambee Dance Ensemble, Ballet Saungamar and CEEDO West African Drum and Dance Company, she worked to articulate movements through her dance technique, choreographed pieces and her costume designs. She became fascinated with West African dance as a lexicon of movement around the world, and the interface between preservation and dissemination, which makes West African dance an interregnal part of her life.

Aside from her professional dance career, Bakara works as a Staff Coordinator and Editor. She holds an A.A.S. in Business Technology, a B.A. in English and a MPS in Publishing, and devotes her editing career to working with writers in a way that helps to facilitate better communication between readers and writers.