Dance and Reading with Joan Ball Burgess [Storymoja Festival Newswire by Ian Njiru]

“How many people like to dance?”

“How many people like to read?”

“How many people like to dance and read?”

Those are the three questions that Joan asks when she begins her session. Hands from the audience are hoisted and put down within the intervals of those questions.

“Did you know that you can combine dance with reading?”

“How, how, tell us, tell us!” The eyes in the audience glisten with wonder.

Joanne, a dance choreographer and educator from Bermuda moves to the first song that booms from the speakers with the grace of a spineless creature.
Most of the children in the audience rise from their seats and move along to the music. Even those who at first seemed shy and reserved cannot help themselves.

To show how dance is linked to poetry,she freestyles the first stanza of Niki Giovanni’s poem,’Poetry’:
poetry is motion graceful as a fawn
gentle as a teardrop strong like the eye
finding peace in a crowded room we poets tend to think our words are golden though emotion speaks too loudly to be defined by silence.

With this, and all the other activities,she engages the children in the audience by inviting them to the stage.The music pokes the layer of tension hovering above the Museum’s ampitheatre and sets it free.

When Jason Derullo’s ‘Swalla’ comes to an end marking the end of the session,everyone is left yearning for more.

Photo Credit: George Ndikwe

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