Like Water Drum & Dance

Like Water Drum & Dance


Like Water Drum & Dance delivers explosive performances of incredible dance and captivating West African rhythms. Athletic performers, hand-made instruments, beautiful costumes and high-energy unity combine to impress, enlighten and exhilarate audiences.


Like Water Drum and Dance is a company of 10 dancers and percussionists that offers inspired performances of original and West African drum and dance. Founded by Artistic Director Ryan Edwards in September 2000, Like Water is among the most powerful and engaging of today’s live music and dance ensembles.

Named Like Water for the group’s mission to share culture and inspire community through music and dance; a belief that the arts are truly Like Water - as essential to life as water itself - the ensemble channels this passion into every performance. Through extensive travel, study, instruction and performance, Like Water captures the magical spirit of music and movement that has brought countless audiences to their feet. Recent major performances include Concert of Colors in Detroit, MI; Santa Cruz Film Festival, CA; Ann Arbor Summer Fest, MI; Wheatland Music Festival in Remus, MI; and the Blissfest in Cross Village, MI, among many others.

A captivating repertoire of original and traditional pieces, coupled with hand-made costumes, athletic performers and a high-energy delivery have consistently set the ensemble apart from all others. Irresistible, poly-rhythmic hand and stick drumming is the foundation for exuberant dance – from delicate movements to huge formations and choreographies – a combination as ancient as it is exciting and refreshing.

For over 15 years, Artistic Director Ryan Edwards has traveled, studied and performed his way into the unique artist he is today. An eclectic experience that spans jazz, Caribbean and West African music and dance styles, as well as educational tenures at Eastern Michigan University, Berklee College of Music and countless informal studies in the Bronx, NY, Boston, MA, and throughout Guinea West Africa, Mr. Edwards has earned an exceptional education in the traditional and performing arts. He consistently uses this diverse background to relate, both artistically and linguistically, to audiences of every age, locale and experience.


To the Roots -
Seh Houdou Seh and Mandiani recieving Midwest Arirplay

Set List

Performances available from 45 to 90 minutes with intermission.

Drum Call - a medley of the traditional rhythms Sobonikum and Soli, traditional Malinke rhythms from Guinea, West Africa, this piece showcases the rhythmic power of the Like Water Drummers.

Parade the Funk - an exciting medley of 2 dance pieces - Djole and Wallasodon, featuring original choreography and traditional song, and finishes with the hunters music from the Wolof people called “Wardaba” - a clear origin of todays funk and hip hop.

Women Who Drum, Women Who Dance - brings to the stage the powerful presence of artists who drum and dance simultaneously - a strong statement of the power of women performers. Featuring the traditional Baga rhythm Solsonet, as well as a feature vocal piece called Kassa - an original arrangement of a classic Malinke harvest rhythm and song - that calls out to our teachers and those who came before us. Closes with Sinte, a bright, quick dance piece that engages the crowd with clapp