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Newman dancers explore black history through movement

In honour of Black History Month, dancers at Cardinal Newman Catholic Secondary School have been using movement to bring a new perspective to Black History.

"We have been exploring Black History and slavery in our Grade 12 Dance course using bound and free movements and energies to a song called 'Oh Freedom,'" said Dance Teacher Andrea Ferroni.

"It has been quite the emotional experience."

Inspiration from the piece was drawn from slave trade in the United States, making comparisons between slave states in the South, and free states in the North.

Bound movements, referring to restrictive movements, had students dancing as if their hands were tied together, imitating the struggles slaves endured in the South.

“Bound meaning limited movements, collapsed, bent, heavy weighted, controlled, closed.”

While dancing, Ferroni encouraged students to reflect on ways in which they felt bound in their own lives.

In contrast, free movements were expressed by dancing without restrictions, through spins, interactions and jumps, representing the lives of blacks in the free States. Like bound movements, Ferroni asked students to reflect on moments where they felt liberated.

In addition to bound and free movements, Ferroni made connections to the origins of dance styles, discussing how various dance styles were fused due to immigration and eventually emancipation.

"Slaves would watch their owners at parties and social gatherings and begin to integrate these styles into their movement."

"I think it important to know the roots of a genre and how the style and movement evolved which is typically a reflection of the political, economic or social movements at that time."

Newman dancers explore black history through movement