Student Blog: Rumba ‘Til Tomorrow in London
March 1, 2019
Last month, three sophomore dance majors and I traveled to London to work with musicians for collaboration, exploration and choreographic purposes at Trinity Laban’s CoLab program. We each took on a different project, participating in four projects total. I worked on Rumba Til’ Tomorrow, which focused on the cultural dance rumba.
The rumba connection
Group leaders introduced us to the instruments integral to rumba when we arrived. Both dancers and musicians began by playing around with the instruments in preparation for rehearsals. We then began the rumba master class with leader Luanda Pau. Our task as musicians and dancers was to dance for the purpose of getting the rhythm in the body–making it easier to play later. After the morning master class, we took time to connect with each other. This connection led to a jam session. The rumba drummers taught us dancers and saxophonists how to play the drums for rumba. We connected with musicians on a personal level, as well as learning this brand new and incredibly fun skill. The music lead, Ahmed, was very engulfed in the Cuban culture, so he assisted both dancers and musicians in our technique.
Ever-expanding cultural knowledge
One of the most rewarding aspects of CoLab was that students taught students. Our student status meant we were able to communicate on an equal level. With that out of the way, we focused on learning new things from each other without pressure. On the second day of meeting for CoLab, we expanded our piece to also include rumba, salsa, mamba and Columbian. This way our piece could be enriched in more than one culture. Bouncing between different cultural dances with a crash course version of each from Luanda was a lot of information, and very quick. However, it was enough that I can now connect to the dances and bring them back to my training to continue exploring them. This experience was unforgettable. I am so thankful that I was able to interact with the dance community out in London.