African Dance & Music Workshops & Classes

Habiba's dance classes and workshops focus on movement and rhythm specific to traditional West African dance and music. In Africa, dancers listen carefully to the music to hear the changes that indicate the dance movements. Class participants are taught in the same way thus heightening their senses as they listen to all music. The origin, technique and purpose of various drums are demonstrated, and Habiba accompanies class playing the djembe (a West African drum), conga or talking drum. The relationship between dancer and drummer is experienced through powerful rhythm and graceful movements of traditional music and dance. Students are encouraged to create, express and find their own unique voice through movement.

In much traditional African vocal music, a single solo singer sings lyrics that a group of singers answers. This style of singing is referred to as call and response. Through songs and phrases from Ghana, Senegal or Guinea. students will learn and practice call and response techniques. Students emerge equipped with vocabulary and tools they can use in other dance forms, martial arts, sports and vocal expressions.

"Habiba Addo is my all time favorite teacher of Afro-Cuban and Ghanaian dance and song in the Portland area. The cultural riches she carries and shares are priceless. Whether Habiba is moving us across the floor as Oshun or teaching a song for Eleggua, she summons the spirit of delight for body and mind. Over and over, her students just want to say: more of the same, please!"

~ Maria De Priest, Assistant Professor, Portland State University