NSBD Teens Reflect on Using HD DSLR Camera

In addition to learning more about Senegalese culture through dance and interviewing Senegalese artists, our teens have also been learning how to film, photograph, and shoot b roll scenes with a HD DSLR camera. Before this project started many of our teens had very little to no experience using HD DSLR cameras, but after several months of hands on practice they have gotten well accustomed to operating the camera independently. The majority of the images that will be featured in the exhibit were captured by our NSBD teens!

Here is what some of our teens had to say about their experience using the HD DSLR camera:

While building the exhibit I learned a lot of vocational skills like camera techniques, interviewing skills, b roll, and photography. Learning these skills has helped me a lot in my media class at school.  Carliste B.

I really like using the camera and doing interviews. It’s really fun. Sheba B.

I am a lot more comfortable using the camera now. Senee R.

Brooklyn Teens Trip to the Staten Island Children’s Museum

With only a few weeks remaining until we launch our Next Stop: Brooklyn/Dakar exhibit, our team decided to take a trip to the Staten Island to present our work to a group of teens at the Staten Island Children’s Museum. When we arrived at the Staten Island Children’s Museum we were warmly welcomed and immediately jumped into a series of fun icebreakers and reflection exercises. After the exercises, we shared our presentation on the Next Stop: Brooklyn/Dakar project. During the presentation our teens shared some very useful background information about the project and also revealed some behind the scenes  footage of our adventures in Brooklyn. Following the presentation, we were given a wonderful tour of the Staten Island Children’s Museum, courtesy of intern hosts!

Check out some of the photographs from our adventures; they’re posted on our tumblr page!

SICM and BCM group photo

NSBD team with interns from the Staten Island Children’s Museum.

Malcolm Shabazz Harlem Market Trip

During a recent trip to the Malcolm Shabazz Harlem Market, located in Harlem, New York, our teens witnessed the bustling community of African immigrants living and working along West 116th Street. On our way to the market we stopped to photograph the various stores and local businesses in the community. Many of the establishments we found there were reminiscent of some of the places we located during our Fulton Street excursion in Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York.

Here are some of the photographs we took during our Harlem trip:

W 116th St stores

Photograph of local establishments along W 116th Street, located in Harlem, New York.

Harlem Market Welcome Sign

Photograph of the Malcolm Shabazz Harlem Market welcome sign.

Learning Sabar with Lamine Thiam and Konate Primus

Once again our adventure has brought us back to Cumbe! This time our students learned percussion with master percussionists Lamine Thiam and Konate Primus.

Lamine Thiam is a world-renowned dancer, choreographer, drummer, and actor. Born in Senegal, Lamine specializes in traditional West African dance and rhythms such as sabar, djembe, and bougarrabou. He has studied at the Consevatoire National du Senegal (in Dakar) and performed with the Songomar African Dance Comapany and Ballet Jo-Kolly.

After interviewing Lamine, our teens sat down with our instructor, Konate Primus and learned about sabar, a traditional drumming style, which developed in ways similar to American jazz. The sabar rhythm we practiced was called takk ci ripp.

Photo of Lamine Thiam

Photograph of Lamine Thiam.

Drumming with Konate Primus

Konate Primus teaching NSBD teens how to play the takk ci ripp rhythm.

Interviewing Malang Bayo

During our final week of learning contemporary dance with Papa Sy, our teens had the honor of meeting the legendary Malang Bayo, master dancer, choreographer and former member of the National Ballet of Senegal. After greeting Mr. Bayo and learning about his recent visit to Senegal our teens sat down with him for a 30-minute interview.

During the interview our teens learned about Mr. Bayo’s exciting career. Malang Bayo is a very accomplished artist. His entire career has been devoted to teaching the art of African song and dance. He is well versed in the folklore and dance of the Wolof, Mandinka, Djola, and Bambara people of Senegal. His own performance company, Mussukeba Sane West African Ballet was founded in 1992. They have performed lectures and demonstrations for schools and colleges throughout the country. In addition to this Malang Bayo has also provided choreography for several dance companies, including Silimbo D’Adeane West African Dance company in Boston, Maimouna Keita School of African Dance in New York, and Teye’ Sa Thiossanne African Dance Company in San Diego.

Photograph of Malang Bayo

Photograph of Malang Bayo during the interview.

Drafting the Next Stop:Brooklyn/Dakar exhibit layout

With less than three months remaining until we launch our Next Stop: Brooklyn/Dakar exhibit our teens decided that it was time to begin finalizing our ideas for the exhibit layout.
Individually we came up with a total of 15 different layout ideas! Each layout had its own a unique approach to presenting Senegalese culture to the public, but unfortunately we had to narrow it down to one. After a few hours of collaborative effort our teens finally came up with one amazing idea which they proudly shared with Marcos Stafne, the Director of Education, at Brooklyn Children’s Museum.
Exhibit Layout Blueprint 1A

Photo of the exhibit layout blueprint made by NSBD teens. (Image of Side A)

Exhibit Layout Blueprint 1B

Photo of the exhibit layout blueprint made by NSBD teens. (Image of Side B)

Exploring the Brooklyn Historical Society

Brooklyn Historical Society

Teen observing an exhibit at the Brooklyn Historical Society.

Brooklyn has a very rich history and our teens had the opportunity to learn more about it after experiencing Inventing Brooklyn: People, Places, Progress, an exhibit created by high school students in the Brooklyn Historical Society’s Exhibition Laboratory program. The exhibit examines how people, places, and historical events have shaped the development or Brooklyn throughout the years.

During our visit to the Brooklyn Historical Society, located in Brooklyn Heights, our teens got a better understanding of how much time and effort is needed to put on a successful exhibit like the one they saw while they were. With only a few months left to showcase our very own Next Stop: Brooklyn/Dakar exhibit at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, our teens returned to Crown Heights feeling both anxious and excited for the upcoming weeks of planning and building.

 Here is what some of our teens had to say about the experience:

“It was creative that teenagers came up with the idea – it [the exhibit] was very nice.” Sheba B.

“I enjoyed learning about Brooklyn and exploring the exhibit’s layout. The fact that the it was run by  students shows that we can do great things at our age.” Marie L.

Interviewing Marie Basse-Wiles

Thanks to our recent partnership with Cumbe, our teens had the opportunity to interview and dance with the renowned Senegalese dancer, Marie Basse-Wiles. Marie Basse-Wiles was born in Dakar, Senegal, West Africa and is the granddaughter of Bambara singer and dancer Maimouna Keita. She began her professional career at the age of 9, and began teaching at the age of 12 as a member of the Ballet National of Senegal. Throughout her career, Mrs. Basse-Wiles won numerous awards for her commitment to the community and her accomplishments in dance. She has also created numerous ballets, including a piece for The Center For Traditional Music and Dance “Bedenya 97” Festival that is archived at the New York Public Library’s Performing Arts Library.

Dancing with Marie Basse-Wiles

NSBD teens dancing with Marie Basse-Wiles at Cumbe.

Interviewing Marie Basse-Wiles

NSBD teens interviewing Marie Basse-Wiles at Cumbe.

Senegalese Culture on Fulton Street, Brooklyn

Equipped with cameras and vigilant eyes, our teens embarked on a street journey to discover Senegalese culture on Fulton Street, located in the Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn.  During the outdoor adventure we found many Senegalese owned businesses and establishments. Some of the places we explored including the Masjid At-Taqwa mosque and the Pulaar Speaking Association. During our trip we also had the opportunity to meet and greet several street vendors, restaurant owners, and hair stylists.

Street vendor goods

Street vendor goods being sold outside on Fulton Avenue.

The Pulaar Speaking Association

The Pulaar Speaking Association Headquarters, located on Fulton Street.

Masjid At- Taqwa mosque

The Masjid At- Taqwa mosque, located on the corner of Fulton Street and Bedford Avenue.

Camera Techniques and Framing Shots — Becoming Filmmakers

Most of our students had little to no camera experience prior to working on this project. Sure, they may have taken pics with their smart phones and few with point and shoots, but hardly any had any training in taking photographs. One of the outcomes of the NSBD project, for both groups, is to learn how to do this properly. There are workshops happening simultaneously in Brooklyn and Dakar.

In Brooklyn, students have spent the last few weeks learning about how to use a camera and most recently, they learned about popular camera movements used in filmmaking. Some of the techniques we covered were panning, tilting, close ups, extreme close ups, overhead shots, and establishing shots. Our teens got a chance to practice using these camera techniques and learned how to incorporate them into their own short films — what better way to learn how to make a movie, then actually making a film?

We’re off for the holidays, but we’ll see you in early January with new updates!


NSBD teens in Brooklyn working on camera techniques