A teacher of traditional dance shares music and movement across cultures when he travels to schools, teaching students new ways of moving, dressing, and reasons for the dance in different countries.
For four weeks Godfrey Muwulya taught traditional dances from his native Uganda to fifh and sixth grade social studies students at Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School. Even the cold and deep snow of the Massachusetts winter did not deter him as he danced barefoot and shirtless in traditional costume. He stomped his feet and links of bells rang round his calves. On his head was a feathery headpiece and he wore a fluffy red skirt which made his body look like fire when he spun around.
Then the students danced. Fifth graders performed a war dance with rowing motions and flowing skirts. Sixth graders danced to the beat of drums and strings of Mr Muwulya’s cow skin guitar. For the finale, both groups performed a call and response song clapping and jumping together.
Mr Muwulya explained that in Uganda, the 57 tribes are unified through English and communicating through dance. They also dance for warmth, as well as for special occasions.