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Tuesday, Oct. 3
The Indiana Daily Student


Dance classes unite body and soul

"Zigli" is something you will hear Richard Gogoua say frequently if you spend any amount of time with him. Gogoua is an African dance instructor who has committed himself to teaching the art and history of African dance to members of the IU community. He is from the Ivory Coast, Africa, and said that the term "zigli", in his native dialect, refers to something sweet or good.\nThe program is sponsored by Faculty and Staff for Student Excellence (FASE), and offers students a chance to learn about the African culture through dance. The sessions are on Thursday evenings in the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center from 7-8:30 p.m. and cost seven dollars at the door.\nGogoua has an extensive background in dance. In his native land, he served as national dance choreographer, and has traveled with his dance troupe "Ahize Mona" all over the world, including Holland, Germany, Belgium and Spain. Gogoua has made it clear that although he loves the artistry of dance, his first love is its history. \n"I want everyone to see me as a communicator, not just a dancer," Gogoua said. "I want to share with people the message behind what I'm doing."\nAfrican history comes alive during his workshop. He said in order to express African dance, the mind and soul must be in accordance with the action -- otherwise, the dance has no purpose. In Africa, he said, you can never just create a dance. Something special must occur before a dance can be created, such as a celebration for a bountiful harvest. Each dance has its own meaning and importance within the African culture. \nBefore his dancers learn the movements, Gogoua explains the meaning behind each dance.\nNon-degree student Rochele Spires, a student in the class, compliments Gogoua's techniques.\n"He was comfortable in explaining his culture and the meaning behind each dance," she said. "I love his class, my body and soul enjoyed every moment." \n'Expression' is another key word in Gogoua's dance vocabulary. Gogoua said he hopes students who come to his class will learn the importance of expression and spirituality. Shirley J. Stephens, the coordinator for the event, said she is aware of the need for cultural exposure.\n"FASE is committed to promoting different cultures and supporting the arts," Stephens said. "I felt that Richard's African Dance Program was a creative way to allow students the opportunity to relieve stress, have fun, lose weight, and most importantly learn cultural traditions in an exciting way." Stephens met Gogoua at the Urban Arts Consortium in Indianapolis, where she was a student in his class. She enjoyed his program so much that she wanted IU students to experience it.\nBecause of the efforts of Stephens and Gogoua, students now have an opportunity to expand their knowledge and grow through this form of expression. \n"Everyone should experience another culture other than their own," Stephens said. "It is an eye opening experience that brings you to another level of humanity. Whether you participate or watch, African Dancing is phenomenal"

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