Expert teachers bring African culture to 'Boat

African dancing is more than dynamic, spirited movements. It often tells a story.

For Rujeko, a dance teacher from Zimbabwe's Shona tribe, the story is about sharing her culture through the healing and soul-lifting dance of her people.

Rujeko "is mandated by her community to help the world through dance," said Robin Getter, owner of Steamboat's Center for Movement Arts, where Rujeko and African drummer Heidi Alina will teach classes this week.

Rujeko's diverse background and knowledge of Western and African dance and music allow her to bridge the two cultures.

"This is a great opportunity to experience dance and music from the source," Getter said.

Twice a year, Getter brings an African drumming teacher to Steamboat, and Alina will be the first woman to be part of that tradition.

Alina began studying piano, rhythm and improvisation at age 5. After earning a degree in piano performance from the University of Colorado, she began studying and working with West African and other master drummers. Her primary mentor was Chris Berry.

Alina's focus on Zimbabwean music and its fusion with Berry's West African influences have shaped her unique drumming style. The class is for all levels, but participants must bring their own drums.

"These are some of the last classes to be held in the center," Getter said. The Center for Movement Arts will close April 1. "Even if you do not join us for regular classes, join us for this special night."

¤ African dance and drumming classes

¤ The beginning dance class is from 5 to 6 p.m. Thursday. The drumming class is from 6 to 7:15 p.m. Thursday. An intermediate/advanced dance class is from 7:30 to 9 p.m.

¤ The Center for Movement Arts, 11th Street between Lincoln Avenue and Yampa Street

¤ $12 to $15 on a sliding scale

¤ 870-9977

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