Saturday, December 30, 2006

Greetings everyone,

The Congolese class at the Black Repertory Theater in Berkeley will resume for its Spring session on January 20, 2007 and end on Saturday, May 19, 2007. The day and time is still the same, Black Rep, 3201 Adeline St., Berkeley, 94703, Saturdays, 11:00am-12:15pm, $11 per class. Drop-ins are fine. F.Y.I. CLASS WILL NOT BE HELD ON February 17th or on March 10th. If there are any other dates to be canceled, I will attempt to let everyone know in advance. Please read other posts for details about this class or email me to be added to my list at Thank you for supporting this class in advance. Have a wonderful holiday season and a very Happy New Year throughout the entire year!!!

Monday, October 02, 2006

I will begin my Congolese dance class this month at the Black Repertory Theater in Berkeley, located at 3201 Adeline St., 94703 (1 block South of the Ashby Bart) off of MLK Jr. Way. Come celebrate my birthday, October 14th, with the gift of a free class to kick off my fall session! The classes will take place on Saturdays, 11am-12:15pm, cost: $11, October 14 - December 23. There will not be a class on November 11, Veteran's Day weekend, as I have a prior engagement. The phone number to the BRG is 510-652-2120. I can reached by email or 510-368-2475. Though everyone is welcome to this class, my target audience is new dancers, those new to African dance, new to Congolese or wanting more help with Congolese technique. Again, those that are experienced, come on over! Also, for those that know what a wonderful musician Constant Massengo is, well, he'll be there, too! Nothing but the best. See ya soon!

For those that are new or not knowledgeable of Congolese, here's a little bit of information. Congolese dance is a type of African dance originating in the Congo, a country in Central Africa. There are two countries that are referred to by this name and region. They are the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), in which Kinshasa is its capitol, and the Republic of the Congo (RC), in which Brazzaville is its capitol. The DRC is often still referred to as Zaire or just by Kinshasa and the RC is commonly referred to as Congo-Brazza. Both of these countries hold the same people whom are also called Congolese as is the culture, yet there are also differences. The two countries are separated by the Congo River. The contemporary music from the Congo, called Soukous comes from the DRC, but is currently played and danced throughout Africa, Europe, and the U.S. The official language of these countries is French, however, many Congolese combine their native languages with French or simply speak their native languages.
LaKiesha's Bio:

LaKiesha Golden is a performing artist of more than ten years with a specialization in Congolese African Dance, Central African. Currently, Ms. Golden is an Artist in Residence, teaching dance in Oakland Unified School District high schools via Dimensions Dance Theater. At the end of each school year, she co-produces a community concert that is performed by the high school students. LaKiesha has most recently been one of the core members of "Fua Dia Congo" Dance Company, which means "heritage of the Congo", directed by the late Malonga Casquelourd in Oakland, CA. Among many performances in the local area, she has performed for events such as Carijama, Art and Soul Festival, Les Collages des Africans, and the Black Choreographers Festival. Also, LaKiesha was featured in a contemporary Congolese (Soukous) music video that was released in the summer 2005 entitled "Knockout" by Shimita El Diego, she was the choreographer for the production as well.

Previous to residing in Oakland, CA, LaKiesha's dancing career was dedicated to Bichini Bia Congo Dance Theatre, which means "dancers of the Congo", directed by Biza Sompa in Ann Arbor, MI. She was the Director's Assistant and lead member for four of the six years she studied with the company. LaKiesha was the Assistant Choreographer for "Liyanja", a theatrical work produced by Bichini Bia Congo at the University of Michigan's True Blood Theatre in 1999. In the same year, she also choreographed a dance segment in the play, "A Woman Called Truth" at Eastern Michigan University. Among many performances in the Michigan area, Ms. Golden has performed at The Ark (Ann Arbor), Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity's Miss Black and Gold Pageant (Ypsilanti), the annual Afro-World Festival (Detroit), Medical College of Ohio (Toledo), and Lisanga Ya Bato Dance Camp in New York.

Astonishingly, LaKiesha had the opportunity of studying Congolese dance and culture in Congo-Brazza (RC), Central Africa in 2005 and in Paris, France in 2002 and 2003. Due to living in the Midwest, Ms. Golden also learned an urban style of Ballroom Dance that she gained a great passion for. Among training through Congolese and other African dance classes, LaKiesha has had experience with other forms of dance such as Afro-Haitian, Salsa, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Ballet, Modern, Dancehall, and a mid-western form of Ballroom dance.