Originally from Benin, South Africa, and coming to Vancouver from his new base in Seattle, Washington, Etienne Cakpo had the room full of 16 women and one man moving across the floor to the beats of three drummers.
He introduces himself by saying, “Dance is my first love, and no one can take that away from me,” and many of the women in the circle nod their heads in agreement.
We spend the next hour and a quarter grooving to snake-like moves that Etienne throws at us, trying in vain to imitate his undulating body. Some in the workshop had obviously taken African dance classes before, while others hadn’t even thought of it. We all mixed delightfully into one group, though, the drummers encouraging us along with their fast beats and motivating shouts.
African Dance Workshops in Vancouver, BC
The one-day workshop was organized by Vancouver-based African dancer Jacky Essombe, who also put on a show later that night and cooked for 200 people so they could feast on homemade African cuisine.
Jacky Essombe’s workshops are held all over Vancouver throughout the year. A video of Etienne Cakpo demonstrating a few moves is below.