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Take a Gwo Ka Dance Class in the Caribbean

If you’ve tried fitness dance classes like Zumba, you might like Gwo Ka

Over the weekend, the capital city in the Guadeloupe Islands, Pointe-à-Pitre comes to life with live music, street artists and markets. One market day treat you might come upon is live Guadeloupean folk music called Gwo Ka. Listed by UNESCO as a symbol of Guadeloupean intangible heritage, Gwo Ka combines Guadeloupean Creole songs, dancing and rhythms played on Ka drums.

The Ka drum. Gwo ka is the French creole term for big drum.

The Ka drum. Gwo ka is the French creole term for big drum.

It’s a method of expression that dates back to the 18th century and was originally developed by the islands’ slaves. It’s not just infectious on Guadeloupe’s streets, travelers can also take classes in Gwo Ka, something I was keen to try while in the Guadeloupe Islands.

Akademiduka in Pointe-à-Pitre offers Gwo Ka dance classes throughout the week. If you’ve tried fitness dance classes like Zumba, you might like Gwo Ka. Astrid Datil welcomed me with madras scarf, traditionally worn during festive occasions on the islands. For the class, I simply wore what I would wear to another active class at the gym and the scarf was tied around my waist.

Akademiduka in Pointe a Pitre offers dance classes that you can take. Here's what I wore.

Akademiduka in Pointe a Pitre offers dance classes that you can take. Here’s what I wore.

It provided good coverage for my rear, which made it easier for me to really shake it when it came time to do so in the class, and it does!

Shaking it up with that helpful madras scarf and sweating it up during the class.

Shaking it up with that helpful madras scarf and sweating it up during the class.

If you take this class, be ready to move. I was sweating bullets in the warm up! One of the best parts of the experience was watching the other women and men dance and the live drumming. It will truly get you excited and make you appreciate truly good dancers. Though I am not one, I did enjoy the adventure and learning something new. When I go back to the Guadeloupe Islands, I’ll definitely try it again and maybe try to find a group back home. Gwo Ka classes have been on the agenda at gyms in NYC and beyond.

My Gwo Ka classmates, who were wonderful dancers and their enthusiasm was contagious.

My Gwo Ka classmates, who were wonderful dancers and their enthusiasm was contagious.

Our Emmy-winning photographer showing some of the footage. The power of video. Smiles all around.

Our Emmy-winning photographer showing some of the footage. The power of video. Smiles all around.

Watch for this segment in our new series Travels with Darley on your local PBS TV station! Watch a preview of the first season episodes. Check out our itinerary from our visit and learn more about travel to the Guadeloupe Islands.


Travel TV Show in the Caribbean- Behind the Scenes by TravelswithDarley
See what happened off-camera during our filming in the Guadeloupe Islands!

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Travels with Darley is a travel TV series broadcast on PBS stations and on digital networks, including the AOL On Network. Host Darley Newman of "Equitrekking" fame joins locals to showcase the top food, culture and adventure attractions in the USA and around the globe.

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