Greenfield Drum & Dance
Drum and Dance at Dance Spree succeeds the old Ritual Arts Collective, which put on 8 Drum & Dance events per year in South Amherst from 2002-2015. Based on the spectacular success of the first two Drum & Dances under the new incarnation, the leaders of Dance Spree decided on 12/30/2016 to hand Western Massachusetts's flagship freestyle group over to the Drum & Dance leadership, making them one organization.
Drum & Dance differs from the freestyle boogie in that instead of a DJ or even a live band, the music consists of drumming that is leaderless, spontaneous and free-flowing, exactly as is the dancing. Likewise, it differs from a drum circle in that the drummers are arranged in a wide-angle V formation, facing the room, and the intention is to engage in playful exchange with the dancers and not just with one another. Another way of putting it is that Drum & Dance is a hybrid between a boogie and a drum circle.
As of April 2019, Drum & Dance is now the second Saturday of every month (except June), and takes the place of Dance Spree's regular program on these nights. In addition, we now offer African dance & drum workshops prior to each Drum & Dance, led by teachers with the highest possible qualifications. Visit www.dancespree.org/workshops for more on these classes.
Dance Spree has held Drum & Dance in Northampton, Amherst, Montague, Chesterfield, Greenfield, Tolland, and Granby, MA.
No currently scheduled events
Call (413)658-7011 for more info or to propose an event
Drum & Dance is originally a West African cultural phenomenon that has its roots in Yoruba (rural Nigerian) and other ethnic groups in a relatively small geographic area. The basic principle was that there was no "listening" to music or "watching" dancers; you danced when there was music and you drummed where there were people; everyone, of course, joined in the singing.
But Drum & Dance takes this a step further and relieves everyone of all professional responsibility. Just as we dance in freestyle fashion - with a partner or by yourself, or in groups; on the floor or in the air, slowly or at the speed of light; to your own heartbeat or in rhythms learned elsewhere - so here the music that we dance to is pick-up, freestyle, and pluralistic. What is more, at any moment, a dancer may choose - perhaps even for their first time - to leave the floor and begin to drum; likewise any drummer may stop, stand, and dance whenever they wish. The most ambitious among us may even attempt to fly through the space with a drum between our legs or a shaker in each hand.
There are no musicians at Drum & Dance, and there are no performers. Ultimately there are not even truly drummers or dancers, but rather a motley collection of human brethren who silently, intuitively, organize themselves as they see fit in that moment. Nowhere in the music or dance world is there a greater equality than under these conditions - of men and women, of the many races, of historically conquered and descendants of conquerors, of musicians and musicheads, of dancers and theatre geeks - and, most importantly, of adults and children.
Being nothing at all but simply human is a condition with which we are born, lose immediately, and then spend the rest of our lives desperately trying to achieve, usually without success. Rest, human. Your search is done. You are home.
What to bring to a Drum & Dance gathering
The most valuable thing you can bring is yourself, your friends, and your family.
Bring your children. Drum & Dance fosters a safe, loving environment that welcomes all ages.
Bring drums, shakers, and anything else that makes noise.
Bring beautiful bodies and beautiful freestyle dance moves.
Bring beautiful voices and beautiful songs.
Bring cake, cookies, chocolate, and fruit for us all to share!