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Park Rapids ventures into West Africa

Bi-Okoto Drum and Dance Theatre performed at Park Rapids Century School on Thursday, June 21. (Macky Warne/Enterprise)

A journey from America to West Africa happened Wednesday night in the Park Rapids Century School gymnasium.

Bi-Okoto Drum and Dance Theater, a group out of Cincinnati, Ohio, shared their culture and way of life.

The performance lasted an hour, after filling the gymnasium with the dancing, singing, and "Talking Drums" of the African people. Also by teaching the crowd how to dance, greet, and speak some of their language.

In that hour, 10 minutes were spared for the crowd to ask questions. The questions ranged from asking about children to elders, and from beads to drums.

Do children go to school? Yes, they go through a similar education system American children do. How do you greet an elder? You bow your head, because they are above you.

What is the meaning and symbolism of the red beads? They symbolize coming from a royal family.

Does drumming run in the family, or do children just pick it up on their own? Drumming is passed down, through the drumming family, from generation to generation.

Are there women drummers? Yes, some are even better than the men.

All the questions were well asked and answered. Helping add knowledge to the crowd as they ventured musically and spiritually into West Africa.