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Dance ensemble to help out here

Greetings, good people.

To watch the African American Dance Ensemble in concert is to witness a breathtaking blend of dance, gymnastics and explosive energy. People who see the ensemble perform can not remain mere spectators but must clap, hoot or stamp their feet to the rhythms of the drums and the snake-like rattle of the shekere (pronounced SHAY-ker-ray).

Founder and artistic director Chuck Davis' interest in traditional African dance sent him on several trips to Africa many years ago to study song, dance and music. As the Chuck Davis Dance Company in New York City, the group quickly gained recognition as one of the nation's premier dance troupes.

In 1980 an invitation from the American Dance Festival in North Carolina was accepted and the group was so well received that it took up permanent residence there and the company evolved to become the African American Dance Ensemble.

This Friday, Davis and the African American Dance Ensemble will be returning to St. Petersburg to choreograph a community performance for the Mahaffey Theatre. Dancers from past performances are invited to the Frank Pierce Center, 2000 Seventh St. S. Young people from ages 6 to 14 are asked to come prepared to dance from 5 to 7 p.m. Adults 15 and older will dance from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Davis will address everyone at 6:30 p.m.

In preparation for the March 13 performance, Jai Hinson and Tom King are holding African drumming and dance classes at the Enoch Davis Center, 1111 18th Ave. S, Mondays from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Anyone wanting to perform in the spring must attend these classes in order to learn choreography.

For information about these COACHhops, call Jill Vines at 892-5891.

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