Multi-city workshop to prep east-coasters for carnival

The dancers: Shola Roberts, (left) and Akosua Akoto, creators of Fuze Carnival, a dance fusion class that incorporates soca and various African styles of dance. The duo will be hosting a tri-city class to prepare carnival goers for festivities in the Caribbean.
Loves Life Photography

Get ready for carnival.

Fuze carnival is taking off it’s third annual three-city dance tour in three states starting this month to prepare parade goers for carnival festivities in the Caribbean. The dance and fitness workshop is a dance fusion class that combines African-derived and inspired dances for a two-hour preparative course. This year they are dancing and hoping to highlight one particular island’s carnival in mind, said one of the workshop’s organizers.

“We’re actually in our third year and we are promoting carnival in Antigua, along with promoting the fusion of cultures, in particular the dance techniques of the Caribbean and Africa,” said Roberts. “We want to give light to the carnivals that take place in the Caribbean, Antigua’s in particular. We also want to highlight the fusion of cultures hence the fuze tag line is “Divided by water united by culture.”

Roberts who is Grenadian, will teach the workshop with Akosua Akoto, who is Ghanian, in an effort to teach soca and various African dances such as Soukous and Azonto. Such a combination for a class will bring students closer to their roots of the Caribbean, she said.

The dance tour will start off in Washington D.C. on Feb. 18, then the second workshop will be on March 18 in Philadelphia, and the final workshop will come to New York City on April 15. The workshops will give its student the opportunity to experience the fusion of music and dance of both cultures, said Roberts.

“I will teach the soca dance portion and Akosua will teach the Asa Fitness a dance fitness format that is low impact, high intensity, core and endurance training that features contemporary African dance,” she said.

But while there are similarities between the two dances they will taught be differently.

The difference between the two dance moves are soca will requires casual active wear whereas, Asa fitness dance requires a more bare look at things the donning of a waist-worn, said Roberts.

“For my class, sneakers can be worn for my portion, and in the second portion people won’t wear any shoes but wear asa lappa skirts,” she said.

Organizers says they want the course to bring a new light to similarities between West African and Caribbean cultures, and promote a sense of solidarity.

“It’s important to promote the unity between the two cultures. While there are individual characteristics, there is also beauty in acknowledging the similarities between the cultures of the Caribbean and Africa,” said Roberts. “The culture is in the dance and the music — and we’re all about the promoting this.”

Fuze Journey to Antigua Carnival. March 18 in Philadelphia, and April 18 in New York City at various times. $30–40. www.fuzeantigua.com.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimo[email protected]local.com.

More from Around NYC