Public library enjoys African Caribbean dance

Audience members receiving dance lessons from African Caribbean Dance Theatre members.


If you walked inside the Leroy Collins Library on Monday evening, you may have heard sounds of African music. That’s because the library was hosting African Caribbean Dance Theatre.

The event was one of many that the library will be hosting this summer.  

Founded in 1993 at the Lincoln Neighborhood Service Center, African Dance Theatre is a cultural nonprofit organization based in Tallahassee for young people and adults.

The troupe, co-founded by Jevelle Robison, has traveled to many places.

“We have performed in Thomasville (Georgia) and even did a performance at the Jacksonville Zoo,” said Robinson.

Robinson added that  the company has been in business for many years.

“We have been doing this for twenty-five years,” she said.

The event showcased Caribbean music, history and dance lessons from company members.

This event is a part of Monday evening summer children’s programs, which takes place every Monday at 6:30 p.m. at the library’s main branch on Park Avenue.

Attendees had the opportunity to see live dancing, receive dance lessons and leave with a little history about the company.

After receiving dance lessons and a dance circle with freestyle dance interaction from audience members, there was a short history lesson on the instruments.

History lessons about instruments such as the “balafon,” commonly mistaken for the xylophone, and “duba” drums, kept the audience intrigued.

The balafon was a homemade instrument made by a musician from Africa.

Local resident Justin Michaels said he enjoys coming to these events.

“I liked everything. It was very good. I love supporting African tradition,” said Michaels.

There was even a question and answer session during the performance.

Questions ranged from how the balafon was made to the types of dances.

Tifini Austin, a dancer  with the company, said her whole family dances.

“I have been dancing with African Caribbean Dance Theatre for about 13 years now. My family dances and plays the drums,” said Austin.

She said her experience with the company has broadened her appreciation for other cultures.

“It’s an overall cultural experience,” she said. “The learning and cultural is a way to connect with the people.”