PHOTOS: Drumming, Dance, and Community at African Village Experience

by Susan Fried

The sound of African drumming filled the air as several dozen people learned how to perform traditional Congolese and Senegalese dance during the annual African Village Experience, July 22th through the 26nd at Pratt Park in the Central District.

The annual event brings members of the African Diaspora and the community together to celebrate different aspects of African Culture. In addition to dance lessons, people were invited to attend a Community Potluck where they could try some traditional African Cuisine.

There was an African Garb Giveaway Booth where people could donate African clothes and acquire new outfits made from African fabrics. There was also an opportunity to learn a little Swahili, but the dancing was the real draw with hundreds of people thoroughly enjoying themselves dancing to the beat of traditional drumming in the middle of a beautiful Seattle July. All five days people showed up to dance and have fun.

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Sebastion 2, plays a Sengelese Sabar Drum during the African Village Experience on July 25 at Pratt Park. The annual event ran from July 22 to 26 at Pratt Park. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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A group of young people practice some Congolese dance moves during a dance lesson July 23 at Pratt Park. The dance lesson was part of the annual African Village Experience which ran from July 22 through 26 in the Central District. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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Fama Ndiaye participates in a Sengelese dance lesson, July 25th at Pratt Park. The dance lesson was part of the annual African Village Experience which ran from July 22 through 26 in the Central District. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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Samba Guisse performs some traditional Sengelese drumming during the 4th annual African Village Experience, Thursday July 25 at Pratt Park. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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Kiazi Malonga and Massengo Constant perform traditional Congolese drumming during a Congolese dance lesson, July 23 at Pratt Park. The dance lesson was part of the annual African Village Experience which ran from July 22 through the 26th at the Park in the Central District. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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A small audience gathers to watch as people learning Sengalese Dance show off some of their moves July 25 at Pratt Park. The dance lesson was part of the annual African Village Experience which ran from July 22 through the 26th at the Park in the Central District. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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Congolese dance instructor Arnaud Loubayi demonstrates a move during a dance lesson at the annual African Village Experience July 23rd at Pratt Park. The dance lesson was part of the annual African Village Experience which ran from July 22 through the 26th at the Park in the Central District. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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Aziza Bell claps as her friend Sumayya Diop performs some Sengelese dance moves July 25 during the 4th Annual African Village Experience at Pratt Park. The five day event gives the Seattle community a small glimpse into African culture through traditional dance, food and clothing. (Photo: Susan Fried)

Featured Image: Dance Instructor Arnaud Loubayi leads a group of people in stretches before teaching them Congolese dance during the 4th Annual African Village Experience July 22nd through 26th at Pratt Park. (Photo: Susan Fried)

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