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Sarr shares Senegalese dance

By Lauren Schiavone
Hometown Weekly Staff

Senegalese dancer Abdou Sarr cavorted all the way to the NFPL on Tuesday. A special library guest, Sarr carried traditional drums with him to give Needham a crash course on “sabar” a term for both dance and music.

Sarr played wooden drums to get some rhythm going. A jack of all trades, he keeps traditional cow and goat skin drums in excellent condition. The drums are a vehicle for storytelling and hold significance to Senegal. Sarr also makes his own clothes. Interested in traditional fashion, he represents west African culture with great pride. His colorful ensemble reflected the joy he felt while dancing.

“It’s good to communicate. Have the attitude of Senegal,” Sarr told children at the program. Strong percussive beats filled the room. Participants began toe-tapping and swaying. They soon outstretched their arms and matched Sarr’s relaxed energy. He taught participants a handful of steps. The steps added up to a routine that Sarr created himself. A keen sense of rhythm and a positive attitude are staples of Senegalese dance.

Sarr travels all over the world and shares his passion. “We dance when we have a celebration. Wedding dances, birthday dances, congratulations dances-You start learning steps one by one, and I learned steps one by one. I created moves on my own. I learned to make my own dances.” The sabar dance is named after the drum of the same name. Syncopated and intuitive rhythms capture the spirit of Senegal.

Children enjoyed the high-energy dance and were grateful for the exposure to Senegalese culture. The packed community room was a testament to the engaging and enriching experience. Sarr smiled for photos as the event wound down. He found himself in a wave of gratitude before departing, and was asked when he would return.

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