Bright dance costumes twirled to the booming beat of music at the African Student Union’s fashion show last semester. Dance team Afroseke is ready to start their weekly training next Monday and prepare their performance at ASU’s Africa Night and Fashion Show.
Founded in fall 2018, Afroseke is associated with the African Students Union at NYU, a cultural club dedicated to the preservation of African culture through meetings and events. As a part of ASU, Afroseke seeks to convey this through their dances. The team started with six skillful and passionate dancers who pick songs, choreograph and practice together. The small group of performers lends itself to a tight-knit team dynamic.
“Our dance team is really a sisterhood,” said Naa Dei Ashie, CAS sophomore and co-dance captain of Afroseke. “It’s like we are having fun when we’re doing it. It feels like you’re going to a party two times a week and just dance with your friends.”
During their weekly training, team members will choreograph and practice dances together, and heavy stereo sounds fill the training room as the dancers move to the beat of music. Afroseke members dance to the accompaniment of popular, modern music, but they incorporate some aspects of traditional African dances into their performances as well. The main sources of inspiration for their choreography come from modern West-African dances.
Beyond just dancing and having fun, Ashie says the team provides a sense of community for NYU’s African students.
“I know that when people think about Africa, they think about a certain type of country or a certain type of lifestyle, but actually things are not that simple,” Ashie said.
Ashie mentioned her performance at Africa Night 2018, ASU’s performance-filled cultural celebration, as one of her most memorable experiences on the team. In front of over 500 audience members, Afroseke ignited the stage with their dance moves.
“All the crowds, applauses and music […] it was certainly a heart-warming experience,” Ashie said.
The 2019 Africa Night is coming in December.
“As the performance date gets closer and closer, all of us treat our practices more and more seriously and make sure everything is clean and perfect,” Ashie said.
Meanwhile, the team is looking forward to recruiting new members, and there will be a tryout in late November.
“What we are looking for are not professional skills,” Ashie said. “You have to catch the rhythms, mimic what we’re doing and be passionate at the same time.”
Ashie also has another goal for the next recruitment period.
“Hopefully we can get some boys,” Ashie said. “We’re trying to make it like both sisterhood and brotherhood.”
Email Cloris Yang at [email protected]