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African-dance tutorials offer ‘confi-dance’

In creating her multimedia project “confi-dance” for the Adobe Library Research Scholars program, senior Hula Bayo creates lessons to promote confidence with African dancing and adds more resources to the genre.
Hula Bayo
Senior Hula Bayo created lessons for African dancing as part of her project for the Adobe Library Research Scholars program. Photo: Matthew Rembold/University of Miami

Hula Bayo wants people to feel confident when doing African dance, and she also wants to make the genre more accessible. Her multimedia project, “confi-dance,” focuses on African dance instruction with different teaching styles. 

The University of Miami senior from Maryland, who is majoring in microbiology and immunology with a chemistry minor, was looking for a creative outlet when she applied for the Adobe Library Research Scholars Program at the University Libraries. 

The program requires that students create an audiovisual and/or multimedia intellectual project and serve as creative consultants to help other University students maximize the potential of Adobe software and other related resources. 

Bayo became aware of the program the night before the application was due. Regardless of the deadline, she applied. Bayo said she chose to apply to this scholarship because her major does not allow for many creative opportunities. She was excited to read the words “freedom” and “creativity” in the description, she noted, as she shared that she is not only an academic but has a creative side. Bayo is passionate about singing, playing the flute and piano, and dancing.

What will her project look like for users? Bayo organized it into two sections: the dance tutorials and a blog. Once completed, a link will be available on Adobe Express, with free download access to whomever has the link. 

The tutorials will be beginner friendly, allowing everyone to experience the rhythmic drums of African beats and the flowy, yet isolated movements of African dance. The blog will provide insight into Bayo’s dance journey and the reason she chose to name her project “confi-dance.” 

She drew inspiration for “confi-dance” from being a part of the committee for Africa Night for the Council of International Students and Organizations’ International Week event. She attended an African dance workshop, where she kept asking herself, “How can we invite more people in?” 

Ava Brillat, Bayo’s mentor and library associate professor whose areas of focus include English, theater and classical studies, said she and Bayo felt a natural connection where they were “bouncing ideas off of each other.” 

When they agreed that there is a lack of African dance resources, they knew that would be the focus of the project. “[Bayo] is adding another piece to the gap between this genre and the other mainstream ones,” said Brillat. 

Bayo said that she is thankful for this experience that filled her with patience and humbling moments. She excitedly awaits May 3, when she will be closing her undergraduate journey by sharing her capstone project via Zoom. 

The online reception and presentation for the Library Research Scholars begins at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 3. Visit the event page for more information and to RSVP.

Videos: Franco LaTona/University of Miami