CORRECTION: This free workshop has been postponed; new date TBA.
I remember the first time I saw live orisha dance, at a presentation at the long-gone Raleigh nightclub Plum Crazy by Salsa Carolina, way WAY back in the day. The warlike Ogun, with his machete, struck a little actual fear in me, and love goddess Oshun, in a yellow dress, circled on the same dancefloor where couples usually flitted to pop merengue and salsa erotica by the likes of Elvis Crespo and Frankie Ruiz.
I really didn't know what I was seeing, at the time, but the power and mystery in the room was palpable. It's been years, and I've seen other performances since, but the memory of that experience, and the emotions it provoked, surprisingly hasn't faded.
A lot of salsa dancers don't know much about the religious folklore that underpins Afro-Cuban culture, the source of many of our dance rhythms. A rare opportunity to get a FREE look at these dances from the inside comes this Sunday [CORRECTION: POSTPONED, NEW DATE TBA] at Paso Salsa Studios in Durham.
Part of the radical Free Expression Project, offering free workshops to encourage new, creative directions for local dancers, the Orisha Dance Workshop will give instruction in fundamentals for dancing Elegua for men and Yemaya for women.
The embedded videos give you an idea of what each orisha dance is like, and how the singing and drumming and dancing work together. Tambor Vivo's live drums will accompany the workshop.
I encourage anyone even just a little curious about the Afro-Cuban orishas, derived from the ancient Yoruba pantheon in West Africa, to venture out. What have you got to lose, really? This aspect of the culture is rarely glimpsed in our area. To invite people in to share in it, for free, is distinctly a blessing.