NSBD Teens Reflect While Building Next Stop: Brooklyn/Dakar Exhibition

As we wrap up our work during the final stages of the exhibition project our teens decided to share some thoughts about their overall experience with the Next Stop: Brooklyn/Dakar project.

Here is what some of them had to say about the project:

Great experience going to Joloff and eating Senegalese food. Brittney E.

This project was a lot of work, but I enjoyed learning about Dakar and the dance classes we took at Cumbe. Sheeba B.

I learned a lot about Dakar, Senegal and Senegalese culture. Erica N.

I’m putting filmmaker on my resume and the project has given me a better understanding of Africa and Senegal. Brionna U.

I enjoyed learning to work with people in a group, gaining leadership skills, and tasting the Senegalese food at Joloff restaurant. Jinelle T.

It opened my eyes to Senegalese culture and I can now say I am a curator. Rayanna A.

The great thing about doing projects like this is that you can engage participants on many different levels. Some will like project-based work, others filmmaking, others research and writing, others will enjoy design, while still others will enjoy the cultural immersion like the dancing, drumming and food tasting that we participated in.

We’re really excited that our students were able to get so many things out of the process, skills that will help them academically and in life.

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.

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.

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!

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NSBD teens in Brooklyn working on camera techniques

Learning Filmmaking by Re-Telling Stories

A group presenting  their video for group critique.

A group presenting their video for critique.

After reenacting scenes from various children’s storybooks our teens in Brooklyn got together to critique the work they submitted. During our critique we discovered the importance of planning before and during video shoots. Some of the topics we discussed include: camera angles, rule of thirds,  lighting, and background choices (and noises!).

We’re on our way to exploring and documenting Senegalese culture and its impact on central Brooklyn!