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Djembes and Dancehall

The Black History Month Experience

LION was thrilled to begin Black History Month with an energetic and interactive Black History Month Experience for elementary school students. The morning included performances, drumming and dance lessons, cultural parties, and written reflection with the goal of engaging students in hands-on experiences connected to their learning about Black American history and culture. Elementary Performing Arts Teacher Ms. Nicolosi and Elementary Dean of School Culture Ms. Davis organized an event students are sure to remember as one of the highlights of this year. 

The morning began with a drumming performance from the VashtiDance Theater, teaching students how to keep the beat while performing together as one giant orchestra. Kindergarten students then worked with performers from the VashtiDance Theater to learn how to play the djembe (drum) and shekeres (shakers). First, second, and third grade students experienced a dynamic Caribbean dancehall lesson with the Pyrotechs trio Andii, Unruly, and Prince. All students enjoyed cultural parties in their classrooms with music and food, while learning how to make their own djembe drums. Lastly, students reflected on the morning, including what they had enjoyed most and what they learned from the Black History Month Experience.

The energy in the elementary school was palpable as students were able to learn new skills and celebrate West African and Caribbean cultures. Reflecting on the event, Ms. Davis commented, “We were excited that  students exhibited the LION pillars of community and curiosity as they explored new foods, dance, and music. In the future, we hope to create opportunities for more on-site experiences featuring community members and partners to further engage students’ learning and interests.” We look forward to seeing more of our community partners share their knowledge and experiences with our students.