Back In New York City - December 2014
I'm finally at home In New York City and nothing could compare to the joy filled wonder I received from my students when I paid a surprise visit to my school P.S. 87. I went to set up dates to teach students the dances I learned in Ghana, Gambia and Dominica. Some of my former dance students were having a snack in the halls as I passed through to meet with teachers.
The students saw me and started yelling, "Ms. Olubayo when are you coming back? We want to dance!" Somehow the students in the corridors told the ones in the classrooms and I was treated to an avalanche of first graders running down the hall who nearly knocked me down with a massive group hug.
Next week I will introduce the “Dance And Media Pen Pal” project to my students with all of the letters and videos from their peers in Africa and the Caribbean. I have a lot of footage
of the children teaching each other their traditional dances. I’m working hard to edit it into a short usable form. I’m also excited to teach “Kpanlogo” from Ghana to the older children and a Kalinago Indigenous dance from Dominica to the younger ones. I want to know what their reactions will be?
• Will they find the dances hard or easy to learn?
• How will they react to learning dances from cultures with very different aesthetics from their own?
• How will they respond to seeing their pen pals on film and what impact will the project have on their openness towards other cultures?
I have many questions that will remain unanswered until our first day and I’m filled with excitement. I love the uninhibited openness and astounding energy that the children expressed towards learning the dances that I’ve come back to teach!