African dance has a unique beauty in its rhythmic action and is a form of communication that demonstrates emotion, sentiments and beliefs through movements. It can vary from the slowest movement to a movement so rapid that the eye cannot register what is happening. During the days of slavery the African slaves entertained themselves and others with musical and dance forms that contained elements they brought with them from Africa.       
    “My theory is if we understand different cultures we will not have a tendency to fear or be biased,” said Shea-Ra Nichi, instructor of African dance. “It would benefit everyone to have better clarity of other cultures and who they are.”                  
    {mosimage}Nichi is passionate about African dance culture and is launching her own dance technique. She teaches the movements and traditional music found in Haiti, Brazil, Cuba and the Congo, Africa, with live drumming. “It started in 2002 when I went away to Europe, France, Spain and Germany with a Haitian dance company,” said Nichi. “During this tour I learned more about Haitian dance.”
    Nichi added that when she returned people were interested in her teaching a class about different forms of African dance. This led to the development of her company.                       
Niche’s dance classes will be held on Aug. 16 and Aug. 30 from 1:30-3 p.m. at the   Cumberland Dance Academy. “We will be doing ongoing classes in September,” said Nichi. “The maximum number of students I can have in one class is 32.”                    
    Nichi is an accomplished dancer, director and choreographer who has been performing professionally since age 8. She studied professional theater in New York City and has traveled to Haiti, Europe and Brazil researching and learning all forms of African cultural dance. Nichi has mastered these dance techniques for more than 15 years. Bennett Estaphane, dance partner, plays the drums and is the rhythm to Nichi’s dance technique. “He’s been with me since the very beginning,” said Nichi. 
    Future plans for Nichi include teaching classes at Elite Marshall Arts School located in downtown Fayetteville. She will teach a Brazilian Marshall Arts class and a Pilate’s class.      
    “I have a very strong influence in my natural movement,” said Nichi. “I have been doing it for a while and it is a very natural way for me to move now.”        
    The cost is $15 per class.  People of all ages and levels are invited. Cumberland Dance Academy is located in Hope Mills at 5470 Trade St. For more information call 862-5378 or 474-1134.

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