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Free West African Drumming Class Coming to Inwood Hill Park

By Nigel Chiwaya | June 16, 2014 1:13pm
  Bread and Yoga's outdoor class series will include drumming and dance from Mali and Guinea. 
Bread and Yoga Outdoor Summer Classes
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INWOOD — Bread and Yoga is getting rhythmic for this year's summer class series.

The Inwood yoga studio is adding a West African drumming and dance class to its lineup of free offerings in Inwood Hill Park, which include early morning and early evening yoga and tai chi sessions.

The drumming class, held Mondays 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on the Indian Road lawn starting June 23, will introduce participants to drumming rhythms and basic dance movements from Guinea and Mali.

"We're going to make it very relaxing, as it's something that will be done primarily for beginners," instructor Baba Don Eaton, 56, said. He's taught at the Harlem School of the Arts for 30 years.

Participants are welcome to bring their own drums and other percussion instruments to learn the basics of lamba, a genre of dance from Mali, and manjani, a West African dance performed at weddings and harvests

"It starts with a gentle warm-up, and through the class the rhythm picks up," added Bread and Yoga owner Marcela Xavier. "It's all movement and dance through the rhythm of the drum."

Xavier said she had wanted to offer such a class for years but had a hard time finding an instructor.

"I'm really excited that we were able to find a teacher," she said. "It's a fun thing to do, and it's something that will bring people out to the park."

In addition to the drum class, Bread and Yoga will continue to offer free outdoor tai chi Mondays 8 to 9 a.m., yoga on Tuesdays 6:30 to 8 p.m. and capoeira on Wednesdays 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. The classes will run until Aug. 27. The season kicks off on Saturday at 9 a.m. with a summer solstice celebration.