Penny Godboldo, Cumbe’s featured Dunham teacher was featured in AfroPunk for her wonderful work and transformative class! Check out the article below.
Beyond the courtyard, up three flights of stairs, the sound of a mesmerizing Yonvalou rhythm spilled out of the Cumbe dance studios onto the courtyard of Restoration Plaza in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Inside the classroom, Penny Godboldo, teacher, stood at the front, her fingers resting on the stem of her spine; and in the front row was Aimee Cox, also a teacher, but on this day, a student. Godboldo was in town to teach a series of Katherine Dunham Technique classes, which were organized by Cox, a Yale University professor in African-American studies and Anthropology, who is a certification candidate in the Dunham Technique.
“If Ms. Dunham were still alive and living in Brooklyn she would be teaching at Cumbe,” Cox said. “She would want people to enjoy movement and be connected. Dunham is inherently communal. It’s for everybody. That’s how the technique evolved. It’s about being in the community.”
Godboldo welcomed the students. She spoke to them in a gentle yet firm manner, asked for names and permission to move their bodies, a way of letting them know that, regardless of skill, her students are seen. In this space, the dancers — who ranged from novice to professional — became part of a much larger community, one that extends to the far reaches of the globe, committed to preserving Dunham’s legacy as the original pioneer of Black dance. Goldboldo asked Cox, who is a trained Alvin Ailey dancer, to demonstrate an exercise; her lithe, muscular physique was enviable and statuesque, in regal form. For two hours, the dancers would be enveloped by live conga drums; their minds, bodies, and spirits in tune.”