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'Cliffe Choreographs New Activity: African Dance Taught in Bertram


Conga drums now resound from the common room of Bertram Hall every Tuesday and Thursday night when 30 Cliflies gather to dance-African with an Afro-American twist.

This September Betram Hall head resident Cheryl Ward started the class, the first of its kind at Radeliffe. "I was pregnant and tired of sitting around." she explained.

Drawing from her experiences last summer with the Black Light Explosion Company in San Francisco, she teaches the girls movements which she said "are probably quite similar to authentic African dances." She added that, "Nothing has been traced, but the drum rhythms certainly are authentic."

The girls are working on two dances which Mrs. Ward has choreographed, but she said, "I'm encouraging them to ad-lib and improvise."

Yusef Crowder. a UMass freshman, is the main drummer for the group. Accompanied by two of his drum students. he plays twice a week-Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. and Thursday at 9 p.m.

By mid-October the class was investigating ways to pay its musicians. South House had no funds available, so they appealed to Mrs. Bunting, who got Radcliffe's College Council-the equivalent of Harvard's Corporation-to allocate $300 for this semester, Mrs. Bunting said she hopes the Department of Sports and Recreation will supply funds for the second semester.

"We understand the desirability of continuing the program in Bertram this semester. but we also appreciate that the noise problem must be kept in mind. It is important that each session end no later than 10 p.m. If as the year goes on. students or neighbors object. you may have to move to the gym." she told the class.

One dancer. Loretta Hardge '72, commented. "No one complains about the noise of the jolly-ups. At least this is constructive. Anyway, there haven't been any complaints yet about the class."

The group hopes to perform in the Loeb Experimental Theater the week before Christmas vacation.

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