CLT Checklist: African Dance Experience at the Harvey B Gantt Center

North Carolina

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – A love for dance sparked a message of unity for a local dance teacher sharing her African culture with many in the Queen City.

Elsie Mufuka teaches dance at many schools in the Charlotte area. Elsie also owns her own Dance Company called MufukaWorks Dance Company.

“It started when I was in the womb of my mom, she said I was kicking a lot, and when I came out I was always dancing,” Elsie said.

As a young girl, Elsie connected with a mentor who shared her heritage.

“My roots are Zimbabwe so I naturally connected with him and he realized, hey you should do this! When I was growing up I always felt like I was underrepresented. Going to private school I was the only black child with my bother in the whole school. My mission is using these stories with the African form of dances to give them identity and a sense of representation,” Elsie explained.

The Harvey B Gantt Center collaborated with Elsie for Juneteenth which has now blossomed into regular dance classes.

“There were hundreds of people in this lobby standing here and I got to teach them, It was such a big hit. From children to adults, to all different backgrounds all in one space,” Elsie said.

This unique form of dance will have you moving every inch of your body.

“It still brings me to tears when we were able to actually be in person. I have people in my classes that have connected and are friends for a long time and that’s really what it’s for,” Elsie explained.

Elsie encourages all participants to come ready to be active and to enjoy getting to know other people.

“Come as you are, but I’m going to be dressed! Anything that you can move comfortably in. You can wear shoes or no shoes, but as for me, I will be in African attire,” said Elsie.

The background behind the white dots and African attire tells a story that was passed down from Elsie’s grandmother.

“The dots on my face represent the circle never breaks so we are all connected. I put dots around my eyes and I always remember my grandmother who just passed last year at 100-years-old and that was her principal that we’re all connected and all together as a tribe and that’s how she was able to live a very long time.”

The African Dance Experience will take place at The Harvey B Gannt Center on Saturday, December 4, 2021 from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. You can purchase your ticket for the class here.

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