Khamla Ensemble brings father and daughters together on the MSSD stage in Jive Afrique
Each year, the MSSD Performing Arts department hosts a winter dance concert. This year, deaf and hearing choreographers, MSSD dancers, and guest companies showcased a wide variety of African-inspired dances in Jive Afrique on February 12th and 13th, including one very special dance.
Ameena and Lateefah Patterson grew up dancing to African rhythms. Their father, Khalid Saleem, a professional musician, composer, and music director travels around the country performing. Jive Afrique brought father and daughters together on stage in a lively dance and drum performance.
“We’ve wanted to do a trio for a long time, but my father travels a lot. We’re happy that our father was finally able to fit it into his schedule.” said Ameena. “My sister and I created the choreography for the dance and my father composed the drum music. We wanted to express the joy of being a family.”
In “Family Affair,” the sisters, in traditional African dress, executed a mixture of African and modern dance moves while their father played the Djembe drum with its attachment of metal bells and rings. “The Djembe drum is from West Africa and was used for ceremonial occasions such as weddings, harvests, initiation rites, even war,” said Saleem.
Both of the Patterson sisters graduated from MSSD and are currently undergraduates at Gallaudet. Ameena is studying choreography and business; Lateefah is still deciding on her major. Ameena is lending her talents as choreographer and performer to several numbers in the show.
Jive Afrique brought together talented performances from MSSD dancers and 10 guest companies, including the National Deaf Dance Theatre, the Eleanor Roosevelt Dance Company, the ALAFIA Dance and Drum Company, The Khamla Ensemble, Antoine Hunter, the New York All Bboyz, Chaos in Motion, the Wild Zappers, the Taratibu Youth Association, and the KanKouran West African Dance Company.
The choreographers for this year’s concert were Jennifer Drew, Ronnie Bradley, Tara Downing, Yola Rozynek, Oscar Rousseaux, Michelle Banks, Baranda Johnson, and Fred Beam. Their dances featured break dance, modern dance, jazz, East and West African dance, funk, Cuban, tap, Crunk, belly dancing, and hip hop.
Be on the lookout for announcements about next year's Winter Dance Concert!