TCC’s Auditorium was Filled with the Rhythm of the Drum
By Kathryn N. Jones
The sounds of African drums and music filled the halls of Tallahassee Community College’s Turner Auditorium on April 24 as TCC African Drum and Dance Ensemble presented Reclaiming our Imagery: A Celebration of What Is Ours.
Directed by Lisa Beckley-Roberts, the performance included eight different musical numbers in which Beckley-Roberts participated in the majority of the acts by dancing with the ensemble and students.
Beckley-Roberts began her dancing career in 1999 when she took an African drum and dance class as a beginner.
“That was the first time I really, really got a chance to see true African music,” said Beckley-Roberts. “I’m still learning.”
Beckley-Roberts who has been teaching at Tallahassee Community College for the past ten years started the ensemble with very little members but it has grown to an actual class now offered at TCC.
When asked what’s it like to teach the class at TCC Beckley-Roberts said, “It is very challenging but rewarding because people have no experience with African music so first of all we have to try and deal with all the stereotypes they have about African music and debunk the ideas they have and then we can build some basic understanding.”
There were students, alumni and citizens of the community all in attendance for the performance.
Alumna of the ensemble Denise Johnson said it’s kind of like torture to come back and witness the show.
“I want to get out there,” said Johnson. “You can’t always be a dancer sometimes it’s good to just be a supporter and be able to watch and see different things you don’t get to see when you’re on stage.”
Another alumna of the ensemble Deandrea Joseph said, “It feels great but then again I’m kind of sad because I miss it so much and I can’t be on the stage anymore.”
TCC offers the class MUN2830, which is an elective course, every semester and every semester the class performs onstage with the ensemble.
The community ensemble is open to anyone at TCC and also members of the community.
There are auditions for the ensemble for all levels of skills that are offered every semester.