One of the greatest pieces of advice I was ever given about expanding creativity is to expose yourself to new artistic surroundings and venues at every available opportunity. So when Michael Shields of KBN’s Art Waves interviewed a Russian dance troupe, the dancers were whole-heartedly encouraging new collaborations of the arts by opening up the studios to artists working in differing venues. I said to myself, “Self, you must get yourself down there.”
A couple of days ago, I swang by at lunch and learned that CoffeeMill Dance Studio has over 28 years of dance history in Key West. They have open classes for all levels, and they hold dance programs, year round workshops, performance opportunities, AND African Dance all in a well equipped dance studio setting.
African Dance with African Drumming? Wow! Well, I dragged my little four-year old back down there and brought along some pots and pans just for good measure to keep him entertained. Femi Manners is instructing a powerful group of women in the barefooted movement of stomping the earth in unity and celebration. I was really amazed at the courage and strength of the women who do not fit the traditional mold of “dancer” (the class is offered as unisex). More so, I was impressed with the energy and vitality of Ms. Manners who was also very gracious in her reception of us as bystanders and her welcomed invitation to return again.
I wanted to share with you today some of the fantastic art images and new inspirations from this simple excursion. They include the vibrant paint color scheme, a pink-beaded mango percussion instrument, a gorgeous pulley system embedded in the roof eaves, and the COLOR of the dancer’s outfits, which have all now opened up whole new worlds.