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Friday, May 13, 2011

Bomba was a hit at Brennan Rogers in New Haven

Brennan Rogers School in New Haven was treated to "a very special Bomba dance May 9, officials said in a statement.

Lensley Gay, the school’s Family Resource Center liaison, invited Sarahi Ayala-Osorio from “Grupo Folklorico Hispano” to perform a presentation for both sixth grade Crews, the statement said.
The Bomba is a uniquely Puerto Rican musical genre for dance; it is derived from West Africa, and was developed at the end of the 17th century in Loiza, a Puerto Rican town with a strong African presence, the statement said.

“Puerto Rico – We are the rainbow of the Caribbean – there is the infusion of all skin colors” said Erika Ayala, Ayala-Osorio's daughter, who accompanies her to presentations.
The students showed both women some current class work relating to the book around the room, the statement said.
After a dance, Ayala-Osorio said: “You’ll see body language exchanged between the drummers and dancers. We use the whole body , hands, feet, hips, legs – very fast.”
When some students asked about the meaning of the scarf on her head and how it was tied, they learned: “The placement of the knot is very important. If it’s in the front, the woman is looking for a boyfriend; if on the left, she is engaged; on the right, she is married; and in the back, she is widowed.”
A student inquired why she was dancing without shoes and was informed “We dance without shoes, at times people cannot afford shoes.”

Ayala-Osorio had the students pass around and put on a mask, as her daughter showed some videos and photos on a laptop they brought, the statement said. Students remarked on the craftsmanship and unity within what they viewed. Next up, some put on skirts and danced to songs. Boys and girls were delighted and the Jump Off Dance Crew, who have presented at Expeditionary Learning Community Meetings, picked up very quickly on the moves, studying and smiling as they easily got into the groove, the statement said.

The Bomba emerged as a very important expression to the system of slavery and a form of spiritual strength, the statement said.
Ayala-Osorio has free classes for students on Saturdays from 1 to 2:30 p.m. and 3 to 3:50 p.m. in Hamden . Her students participate in fiestas at Long Wharf. She can be reached at 203-809-5431 and

Editor's note: All information and photos in this post was contributed and a special thanks goes to Susan de Alejoses and and Frank Briganti, sixth grade teachers at Brennan Rogers School.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dancing their way to cultural awareness!

May 16, 2011 at 11:57 AM 

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