Dancing Along the River Niger

by  Born 2 Move Movement Adventures

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On this e-Field trip your students will take a cultural journey into West and Central Africa following the continent’s third largest river, the Niger. They will experience some of the dancing, drumming and singing that serve as primary forms of cultural expression and community connection throughout the region. They will be introduced to the communications of the griot (a storyteller/historian); “talking drums”; and learn dances related to food and famine, war and peace, and world religions. The program takes you through the five countries in which the Niger flows, making stops at places such as Timbuktu (to learn about the ancient empires of Mali), and in Nigeria (to learn about the Yoruba people in their religious practices). There is no better way to appreciate the life and history of a land and its people than to sample their traditional expressions and unique ways of knowing themselves!

About the presenter:
Marc Kotz began dancing and acting in his early teens, and since that time has performed, choreographed, and directed performance internationally. He earned a B.A. in Performing Arts from Empire State College in NYC, and an M.F.A. in Dance/Choreography from the University of Iowa (as an Iowa Arts Fellow). He has taught for a total of 12 years at the college level; worked in the field of Living History and Interpretation since 2003; and currently directs Born 2 Move Movement Adventures, LLC a company offering educational, health/fitness, and artistic programs and projects utilizing movement as an essential medium. Mr. Kotz is fully insured as dance/yoga/movement teacher.

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About This Program


By Request: $180.00

Multiple booking discount (all sessions must be booked on the same day to receive discount):
$180 for 1st session
$162 for 2nd & 3rd session, each (10% discount)
$153 for 4th + sessions. (15% discount)
Example: Book 4 sessions on same day, pay $657.


One hour (can be adjusted if necessary)

Target Audience

Education: Grade(s) 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Minimum participants:

No Minimum

Maximum participants:

30 NOTE: Please make certain that students have enough room to move and dance

Primary Disciplines

Gifted & Talented, International, Performing Arts, Social Studies/History Multicultural

Program Delivery Mode

Videoconference – Webcam/desktop (Zoom, Google Meet, Cisco WebEx, GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams, etc...)
Microsoft Teams

Booking Information

Book it!

Receive this program and 9 more for one low price when you purchase the CILC Virtual Expeditions package. Learn more

For more information contact CILC at (507) 388-3672

Provider's Cancellation Policy

The full fee will be charged to sites which cancel with less than 72 hours notice. You will not be charged for programs canceled due to nature (i.e. snow days), as long as the program is rescheduled. If the program is not rescheduled within the same school year, 25% of the full fee will be charged for administrative costs.

About This Provider

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Born 2 Move Movement Adventures

Green Bay, WI
United States

Marc delights in venturing to other cultures and times through the means of dance, theater, music and educational exploration. His career has taken him around the world, delving into diverse cultures and artistic disciplines. He has performed in numerous dance and theater forms, collaborated on two dozen plays/musicals/operas and has choreographed and directed ten concert-length productions. Marc received a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Iowa as an Iowa Arts Fellow, has taught all ages from pre-school to the aged, and is fully insured as dance/yoga/movement teacher.

Marc Kotz

Program Details


1. In preparation for the journey, students participate in a “harvest” dance, simulating the motions and gestures involved in producing agricultural crops. Discussion is included of how most traditional African dances express a story or some aspect of daily life.

2. The journey proceeds while learning about the “Griot” of West Africa, a traveling singer/storyteller whose purpose it is to entertain, recite genealogy, and sing the praises or criticisms of their hosts.

3. Students get an overview of the ancient Songhai Empire and celebrate the significant location of Timbuktu, which is at once remote and yet a gateway to the Sahara desert, with proximity to the inland Niger estuary. Emperor Mansa Musa and the renown pilgrimage he led his people on to Mecca is recounted through a commemorative dance called the "Lamban".

4. Continuing from Mali into Niger and Nigeria, fabrics, costumes and masks are discussed and viewed in light of their significance in African ceremony.

5. The last leg of the journey is accompanied by the sounds of talking drums as they guide us to the Gulf of Guinea. A brief lesson in the talking drums emphasizes how this form of communication is similar to travel in that it can be conveyed over long distances.

6. A Yoruba peace dance and song is learned and performed upon reaching the mouth of the Niger. Praises are given for completion of a successful, fascinating journey, and prayers are made for peace.


The participant will:
- experience dance as an expression of traditional cultures and values.
-understand the role of dancing, singing and drumming in African cultures and along the Niger
-appreciate the diversity of culture, history and tradition on the African continent
-become familiar with the Niger River, its course and unique attributes

Standards Alignment

National Standards

National Education Technology Standards (NETS):
• Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.
• Develop cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging with learners of other cultures.
• Understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior.

NCSS Curriculum Standards (in revision):
• To help young people make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse democratic society in an
interdependent world. Students should understand:
• Multiple perspectives that derive from different cultural vantage points
• The ways human beings view themselves in and over time
• People, places, and environments.
• Interactions among individuals, groups, and institutions
• How people create and change structures of power, authority, and governance.
• How people organize for the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.
• Global connections and interdependence

National Arts Education Associations:
• Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures
• Students analyze common characteristics of visual arts evident across time and among cultural/ethnic groups to formulate analyses, evaluations, and interpretations of meaning
• Students correlate responses to works of visual art with various techniques for communicating meanings, ideas, attitudes, views, and intentions

Dance: ArtsEdge The Kennedy Center
• 3. Understanding dance as a way to create and communicate meaning
• 5. Demonstrating and understanding dance in various cultures and historical periods

State Standards

Wisconsin Standards (with benchmarks):
Information and Technology Literacy: D.
• The Learning Community: Students in Wisconsin will demonstrate the ability to work collaboratively in teams or groups, use information and technology in a
responsible manner, respect intellectual property rights, and recognize the importance of intellectual freedom and access to information in a democratic society.
• A.12.1 use desktop or video conferencing equipment and systems
• D.4.2 employ proper etiquette in all forms of communication

Students in Wisconsin will recognize, understand, and demonstrate movement elements and skills in dance.
• A.4.9 Demonstrate rhythmic awareness by moving to a musical beat and responding to changes in tempo
• A.8.6 Demonstrate increasing kinesthetic awareness, concentration, and focus in performing movement skills
• A.12.3 Use increasingly complex combinations of locomotor and non-locomotor movements, emphasizing the elements of space, time, and force
Language Arts: Students in Wisconsin will listen to, understand, and speak clearly and effectively for diverse purposes.
• C.4,8,12.2 Listen to and comprehend oral communications.
• C.4,8,12.3 Participate effectively in discussion.
• E 4, 8, 12 Use media and technology critically and creatively to obtain, organize, prepare and share information; to influence and persuade; and to entertain and be entertained.

Social Studies: Behavioral Sciences: Students in Wisconsin will learn about the behavioral sciences by exploring concepts from the discipline of sociology, the study of the interactions among individuals, groups, and institutions; the discipline of psychology, the study of factors that influence individual identity and learning; and the discipline of anthropology, the study of cultures in various times and settings.
• E.4, 8, 12.4 Describe the ways in which ethnic cultures influence the daily lives of people
• E.4.9 Explain how people learn about others who are different from themselves
• E.8.10 Explain how language, art, music, beliefs, and other components of culture can further global understanding or cause misunderstanding
• E.8.13 Select examples of artistic expressions from several different cultures for the purpose of comparing and contrasting the beliefs expressed
• E.12.10 Describe a particular culture as an integrated whole and use that understanding to explain its language, literature, arts, traditions, beliefs, values, and behaviors
• E.12.13 Compare the ways in which a universal theme is expressed artistically in three different world cultures

Social Studies: Geography
Students in Wisconsin will learn about geography through the study of the relationships among people, places, and environments.
• A.8.5 Identify and compare the natural resource bases of different states and regions in the United States and elsewhere in the world, using a statistical atlas, aerial photographs, satellite images, and computer databases
• A.8.8 Describe and analyze the ways in which people in different regions of the world interact with their physical environments through vocational and recreational activities
• A.12.8 Identify the world's major ecosystems and analyze how different economic, social, political, religious, and cultural systems have adapted to them

Social Studies: History
Students in Wisconsin will learn about the history of Wisconsin, the United States, and the world, examining change and continuity over time in order to develop historical perspective, explain historical relationships, and analyze issues that affect the present and the future.
• B.8.12 Describe how history can be organized and analyzed using various criteria to group people and events chronologically, geographically, thematically, topically, and by issues