Dance master to give workshop

Joe Bugbee and Joe Bugbee

Students interested in updating their dance resume will have an opportunity when internationally acclaimed Congolese Drum and Dance Master Titos Sompa makes an appearance tonight, from 5 to 8 in the Whitney Dance Studio, Eppler North. The workshop is presented by the University Dance Alliance and the Center for Innovative and Transformative Education.

Mr. Sompa, one of the first professional dancers and drummers from the Congo to come to the United States will be presenting a dance and drum workshop and lecture. The drum workshop, from 5 until 6, will be followed by a lecture demonstration until 6:30, with the dance workshop finishing the night up.

Mr. Sompa, who is the Artistic Director of the Mbongi Dance Theatre in Ann Arbor, Michigan, came from the Republic of the Congo to America in the early 70s to form the first Congolese dance company in the U.S., the Tanawa Dance Company. Shortly after, he moved to New York to perform on stage with the likes of James Earl Jones, Ann Miller, and jazz greats Leon Thomas and Chico Freeman.

Joining Mr. Sompa tonight will be fellow Congolese dancers Biza Sompa and Massengo Constant, also members of the Mbongi Dance Theatre.

Halifu Osumare, assistant professor of school of Human Movement Sport and Leisure Studies said she hopes the students who make their way out understand the origins of Congolese drum and dance.

“The funk beat that underlines many of the songs in hip hop are very Congolese oriented. In fact, the beats can be directly connected to American popular music,” Osumare said.

The drum workshop and lecture are free to the participants, but the dance workshop is $3 for UDA members and $7 for non-members. For more information call 372-0225.