181. Free African Dance Classes

Oyabunmi DeRosario (left) teaches a class at COBA. Photo by Carl Reid.

This week, I visited the studio of COBA, the Collective of Black Artists. It is giving free classes this week until Saturday the 17th. Its next group of free classes won’t be until April 23-28, 2012. Next year’s classes will lead up to International Dance Day on April 29.

Charmaine Headley was teaching West African dance to ten students. A Trinidadian-Barbadian by birth and culture, she is a co-founder, teacher and performer of COBA. She was an excellent and graceful teacher as she led her students through the movements. A drummer beat out the rhythm.

One of her students was a friend of mine, known to be a serious dancer. Jacqueline’s participation in the class was a strong recommendation.

Wednesday’s class will be 6 to 7:30pm. Balari Lindsay will teach Afri-Jazz. On Thursday, from 7 to 8:30pm, Julia Morris will teach Caribbean dance. On Saturday from 2 to 3:30pm, Fumu Jahmez will lead a class in Congolese dance, and from 3:30 to 5pm, Mafa Makhubalo will do Afro-Cardio.

Usually, single classes cost $25 each. The free class is a real opportunity. Who knows what will happen to COBA and other cultural organizations when Toronto’s City Council starts chopping away at its grants to the Arts.

COBA is currently at 2444 Bloor St. West, west of the Jane subway station. Tel. 416-658-3111. Its web-site is: www.cobainc.com/ .

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