By Bob Giusti
Ethnomusicology is an academic field encompassing various approaches to the study of music (broadly defined) that emphasize its cultural, social, material, cognitive, biological, and other dimensions.
Or so says Wikipedia.
Julie Raimondi (the managing founder for the Rhody Center for World Music and Dance) has her PHD in ethnomusicology from UCLA (after an undergraduate stint at Tufts). She saw an opportunity to branch out from the usual research and teaching assignments and in a sense, use her talents on the field. To that extent, she has created a forum for people of all ages and expertise to explore world culture as well as share a family friendly experience.
Located on the second floor of 172 Exchange Street in Pawtucket (also home to the Gamm Theatre Company) this is a new community space and multicultural center that is off to a great start with a jam packed Summer Schedule of classes and workshops for everyone.
Some examples include:
* Toe Taps for Tots- an award-winning class developed by Nevaeh recording artist Michelle Cruz that is ideal for infants 6 months to 2 years.
* Raks Sharqi / Belly Dancing- taught by Shadia Tohme (who specializes in Lebanese and Egyptian styles) and is offered in separate group sessions for teens, adult beginners and adult intermediates.
The list continues with the likes of an authentic Bollywood Dance class, Salsa, a Music Circle for Toddlers (taught by Dr. Raimondi) and Zumba (along with Zumba Fusion). They also have Singer- Songwriter Sessions, Kids Glee Camp and some Family Dance Dance Party Nights scheduled. For a complete listing and times go their site at therhodycenter.org.
In addition to the classes and workshops, private lessons can be customized to suit a student's needs.
I was personally drawn to the Banging Buckets Drum Camp (although I'm far beyond the recommended age range of 10-14).
Still, I can see where this center will plug a valuable hole as an alternative to traditional dance studios. Julie stressed that this is a flexible "flowing curriculum" and that she hoped that potential instructors would contact her and share ideas about instructions they could offer.