Burkina Faso

My students had finished a study and tour of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and had come back jazzed about one of the huge masks they had seen from the African country of Burkina Faso. We decided to learn more about their culture, and became fascinated not just by their maskmaking, but their dance and movement style. The transformation of dancers from human to their animistic roles as dancers drew my students in

as they attempted to guess what animals were being represented. Students worked in collaborative groups to design and create their masks, using the traditional colors of black, white and red. Then, we created our own dance and drum circle to perform together as a class, which was featured at our school's cultural festival.