Afrobeat takes on momentum

Photo courtesy of African Student Organization

At 7:30 p.m. every Tuesday, the Fitness Studio of the Student Development Complex comes alive with the throbbing sounds and rhythms of Afrobeat. Accompanying these sounds are the calculated intricate steps of dancers doing vigorous African dances and burning calories away. This is the African Student Organization’s (ASO) Afrobeat Dance Class.

The Afrobeat Dance Class is one of the many ways the African students in Michigan Tech are contributing to the communal life of the university. Held for many years, but consistently from last semester, the class is open to all interested participants at no cost. Coordinator of Multicultural Programs at the Center for Diversity and Inclusion as well as member of ASO, Malissa Sanon, has been leading the dance class together with Maeva Kounouvo, a humanities master exchange student from France. So far, about 100 people have benefitted from the dance sessions since the beginning of the spring semester.

According to some health researchers, dance can help in burning some calories to keep the body healthy. Because of the rigorous schedule of students and professors, it can be challenging to engage in routine physical activities. With obesity reaching epidemic proportions and an increasing number of individuals with cardiovascular risk, dance can improve the condition of the human heart and lungs. It can also increase muscular strength, endurance and motor fitness, increased aerobic fitness, as well as  improved muscle tone and strength.

Speaking to the Lode newspaper, Soji Bello, the Public Relations Officer of the organization invited all members of the university and the community saying “Come and enjoy energetic African music while exercising. Our instructors are eager to take you through the classes no matter your level of dance skill. Don’t be left out.” According to Munkaila Musa, a fourth year PhD Candidate in the College of Forest Resources and Environmental Sciences, “the dance class is a great avenue for me to release some stress after long hours in the lab. It also helps me to interact with people in an environment where we are not talking about books but something else. This class is so much fun. You don’t need any dance experience to join in. We are all learning together and having fun.”