In conjunction with a local counterpart – a master drummer and dancer – I formed a youth group focused on learning and presenting traditional Afro-Colombian music and dancing styles. A USAID SPA grant through Peace Corps Colombia provided the initial funding for the group to purchase materials and make traditional drums, flutes and other percussion instruments as well as uniforms for two traditional Colombian styles (cumbia and mapalé). The youth group – which currently includes approximately 40 participants between 12 and 23 years old – have presented in town and neighboring villages including welcoming the new mayor of Cartagena on a visit to our town.
In this photo the group (including me as a dancer) presents a traditional mapalé dance for a visiting NGO. A demonstration of strength and energy, this photo shows the colorfully dressed male dancers quickly moving over the females as they lay on the floor in one part of the dance.