Dance in Africa - Senegal, West Africa
Dakar & Toubab Dialaw, Senegal
3 credits in Dance
8 June – 22 June 2018
$1,825 + airfare + applicable VCU tuition. Find full details on the Budget Sheet!
omi davis co
Omilade Davis, Owner
15 February 2018
We invite you to participate in Dance in Africa Workshop: Senegal 2018! Dance collaborative Omi Davis co is partnering with the VCU Global Education Office and the VCU Department of Dance to provide an enriching intercultural experience for students in Senegal, West Africa. Students will spend two weeks of intense dance and drum education while being immersed in the culture of Senegal. Check out these videos to learn more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OOThgpy2ns
(Goree Island) and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbuJG7voZ7s
(general promo video).
Course and credit:
DANC 491: Dance Topics (3 credits)
LaShaunda Craddock, Instructor
The Education Abroad office will enroll students in the course upon receipt of the registration.
DANC 491: Dance Topics satisfies curriculum requirements for Dance Culture Elective, Modern Technique and Workshop. Students enrolled in this course will participate in 4 dance classes per day (roughly 6 hours of daily instruction) in African contemporary and Afrobeat (urban) dances as well as traditional-based dances of Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire. In addition, students will take daily Wolof language classes, and students will be provided with a companion book for Wolof language study.
Non-dance students are welcome to participate in the omi davis co drumming or cultural tour program that occurs separately from the dance program. However, non-dance students must arrange to receive credit through their departments.
- 8:15 - 9:15am: Chat and Chew: Breakfast and Wolof Language class taught by Mam Fatim Faye, linguist, former employee of the UN and resident of Toubab Dialaw.
- 9:30 -1pm: Acogny Technique class followed by Sabar class. Drummers will accompany us for the Acogny class but will separate for the second half of the morning. Drummers will have class separately for the remainder of the day.
- 1:30 – 3pm: Debriefing/Lunch Informal Meetings
- 4pm-7/7:30pm: Classes at Ecole des Sables. We ride over to EDS and have Guinean dance class followed by Afrobeat. Drummers have class separately during this block.
- 8:30 pm: Dinner. Networking with Senegalese Musicians and Senegalese residents. Informal debriefing/processing
Weekend 1: Saturday: Visit Chief of the village of Toubab Dialaw and visit local families (homestay) during the day. We return to L’Engouement by evening. Sunday: Free day. Rest, go to the market (at Rufisque/Tungen), work on creative projects (stage/studio is always available). Take a taxi to the EDS and walk over to the beach, or if there are enough people we can take you in the bus.
Weekend 2: Saturday: Trip to Dakar. Visit Goree Island and attend a Sabar gathering (if possible). Sunday: Free day. Final Friday: Showing/Presentation of our work (restitution). Open to the public.
Applicants will be interviewed by the program director. No pre-requisites required. An academic letter of reference is not required.
This program is open to non-VCU students.
Accommodations and meals
Students will be housed at Espace Sobo Bade at L’Engouement, which is an artists’ residence in the coastal village of Toubab Dialaw—55 kilometers from Senegal's capital city, Dakar.
Classes will be held at L’Engouement and at L’Ecole des Sables International Center for Traditional and Contemporary Dances. During free time, students will be welcome to enjoy the naturally-filtered onsite pool, walk to the forest of baobabs or practice in the studio. L'Engouement and L'Ecole des Sables are situated on the outskirts of Toubab Dialaw village, a quiet community far away from the noise and bustle of city life. Walk to the beach and swim in the Atlantic or enjoy the pool in between or after classes. Hang out in the hammocks and daydream. Feel the energy of the baobabs during one early morning meditative walk to the forest of baobabs. Explore your creative inspirations on the ampitheatre stage—choreograph, write or make music during off hours.
The program includes a visit to Dakar where students will explore La Maison des Esclaves at Goree Island, which is the fortress where enslaved Africans were held during the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Students will also visit Lac Rose, meet the local village chief and get to know local families.
Students will be expected to attend one pre-departure meeting to familiarize students with Senegalese culture and the program schedule. An information packet will be distributed to all students upon course enrollment. If interested, students will also receive fundraising guidance and can become involved with the local community of drummers and dancers in Richmond, VA.
All meals are included in the program and will be prepared with locally-grown produce—free of chemicals and preservatives. Vegetarian options will be provided. Eat delicious Senegalese cuisine and enjoy in-season fruits and vegetables. Wake up each day to the sounds of the forest, and eat delicious Senegalese cuisine prepared by our own cooks and grown locally.
A housing coordinator is available for assistance, Pre - trip packets and welcome packets will be distributed to all participants.
Ayo Abifarin LaShaunda Craddock
LaShaunda has been a lover of dance, theater, and the cultural arts since early elementary school. Although her early dance background instruction includes ballet, tap, and modern dance, LaShaunda's passion has always been deeply rooted in African Dance (father is a drummer and mother is a dancer). Being born into African dance and culture, she began her formal studies in the early 1980s with Larocque Bey School of dance (in Harlem, New York) where both of her parents had at one time performed. After moving to Virginia, LaShaunda eventually became one of the principal dancers of Ezibu Muntu African Dance and Cultural Foundation from 1997 to 2012. In 2005, she began integrating her love of the culture with passion for teaching by designing interdisciplinary programming based on history and culture that could be shared with students of all ages. Since then, LaShaunda has led workshops in over 25 different schools and community centers throughout the state of Virginia and up the East Coast. In addition to being an adjunct professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, LaShaunda is also an artist resident, a K-12 educator, the executive director of a nonprofit --Culture4MyKids, and much more. LaShaunda has a Bachelor's Degree in English, a minor in African American studies as well as a Master's degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. She is also in VCU's Ph. D. educational program for Curriculum, Culture, and Change. Her professional portfolio includes doing dance choreography for Jarrard Anthony's Lucky Day video, Artis’ Pretty Soul Video, University of Richmond's 2013 production of Threshold, and Midlothian Middle School’s 2015 Spring production of the Lion King Junior. LaShaunda's teaching style is deeply rooted in the Zimbabwe (Shona) proverb that states “If you can walk, you can dance. If you can talk, you can sing. “
A valid passport is required to leave the US. If a student does not already have a passport, they are advised to begin the application process as soon as they are accepted into the program. The processing time for new passport applicants can be as long as 8 weeks. For students who already have passports, they will need to verify that the passport’s validity dates extend 6 months past their return date. For more information about passports and the application/renewal process, please consult the State Department's website
Payment of fees
In order to complete the application, students are required to submit a $250 registration fee and deposit. This $250 registration fee and deposit is refundable in two cases: if the program is cancelled, or if a student is rejected by the faculty member based on their qualifications to participate in the program. Reasons for rejection could include, but are not limited to, GPA, lack of a pre-requisite, unacceptable or inappropriate statement of interest, etc. and are at the discretion of the faculty program director. However, if a student pays the fee and is not given final acceptance to the program based on failing to complete application requirements, as determined by the Education Abroad office or faculty director, the $250 is non-refundable.
Students will receive two separate charges to their student accounts for this program: one charge will reflect the balance of the program fee (minus the $250 deposit and application fee) and the other charge is for VCU tuition costs (based on the number and type of credits being taken by the student). These bills will be charged through VCU Student Accounting and should appear by May.
Please note: While these charges may post to the student’s account simultaneously or separately, it is the student’s responsibility to make sure the account balance is paid before the billing due date.
Withdrawal procedures and financial commitment policy
All withdrawals must be made formally in writing and submitted to the Director of Education Abroad. Otherwise, the program fee will not be refunded. After committing to the program, students deciding to withdraw will be held accountable for a portion of or the entire program fee based on the following schedule:
- Formal withdrawal submitted later than 30 days before the first day of the program abroad: 100% of the program fee will be charged
- Formal withdrawal submitted within 30-60 days before the first day of the program abroad: 75% of the program fee will be charged
- Formal withdrawal submitted within 60-90 days before the first day of the program abroad: 50% of the program fee will be charged
In the event an unexpected emergency occurs within 30 days before the first day of the program abroad, students must provide a physician’s certification that his/her condition prohibits participation. In this case, refunds will be limited to only those funds VCU is able to recover or that have not already been spent on behalf of the student.
See above for refund policy on $250 registration fee and deposit.
Students should schedule an appointment with their physician or at a travel clinic (such as VCU Student Health) at least 4 to 8 weeks before the program to inquire about recommended and/or required vaccines/immunizations. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that all routine and travel immunizations are up-to-date.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on recommended and required immunizations for travelers. To view the health risks and requirements for the country to which you will be traveling, please visit the CDC's website
Health Alert: Zika Virus
The CDC has issued a travel alert for countries where the Zika virus is prevalent. Check the CDC’s travel notices
regularly as new countries are being added to this list. Check VCU Student Health
to stay updated as well.
VCU Student Health offers in-depth pre-travel consultation with a health care provider as well as most of the vaccines recommended for safe travel. Prescriptions for recommended medicines are also available. Please visit their website
for full details.
Every effort is made to provide updated and accurate information at the time of publication. The sponsors reserve the right to make necessary changes to the programs and costs. The university reserves the right to revise or alter all fees, regulations pertaining to student fees, and fee collection procedures at any time.