Why We Dance.

When my ancestors lived in Mother Africa, they used music and dancing as a means of communicating their feelings, beliefs, and celebration. When they were abducted from Mother Africa and brought to this Country, they used music and dancing as a means of communicating their dreams, beliefs, sorrows, and celebration. When “freedom” finally came, they used music and dancing as a means of communicating their dreams, beliefs, sorrows, and celebration. They danced in their homes, they danced while worshipping, they danced in juke joints and bars, and they danced in their schools. As they danced, many would do something called “shaking the devil off.” This means that everything that brought a person down was being released through the gift of dancing. These dances were sometimes so beautiful, those who were able to watch the dancer dance were brought to tears. The dance was moving. The dance was real. The dance was majestic. As an African American man, I can say with all truth and honesty that, as Billie Holiday once sang, “you don’t know what love is until you understand the meaning of the blues,” is a concept that I understand quite clearly. For me, like a girlfriend that one has been trying to let go of for quite some time, depression is hard to shake. For me, depression is very real. This isn’t something that I can just “get over.” For me, depression is a daily battle with my inner, less confident, self. Most days, I defeat the weaker version of myself. However, at times, I lose. When I lose, the bed seems to hold me captive, the floor isn’t strong enough to sustain my weight, food isn’t a necessity, and sleep evades me. When I lose, I can literally count the brush strokes of paint that the painter missed when my ceiling was being painted. When I lose, my bedroom lamp is too bright, and I find myself disappointed that the sun is bold enough to penetrate my blinds. This is losing to me. However, with the last bit of strength that I can muster, I always find myself reaching for my music. Some days, depression seems to push my music far from my reach. However, as I have stated in previous posts, love is a very powerful thing. The love and need for music that lives inside of me gives my weak legs a moment of strength. When I’m able to play that music, like magic, my walls begin to show cracks. I then find the strength to sit up. I find the strength to stand. I find the strength to move, and lastly, I find the strength to dance. Oh yes, I dance. I dance because dancing is medicine for my soul. I hate to let the cat out of the bag, but there are two businesses that exist within minority communities that will never cease to exist. Those businesses are barber shops/beauty salons and clubs/bars. We will always make sure that our hair looks good, and we will always dance. Sure, we have extraordinary problems that exist in our communities. There is poverty. There are broken dreams. There is fear. There is sadness. However, there is also hope. There is also love. There is also laughter. There is also passion. There is also friendship. There is also family. For those reasons, we still dance. Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting a gentleman who was dancing alone as though the dance floor was full. For a moment, I found myself both envious and in awe. How could he dance with so much enthusiasm? How could he be so bold? You know me, I asked him, “bruh, who gave you permission to dance so freely?” He told me that his sister had just died, and he had also recently lost his job. I couldn’t believe it. I asked him why he danced. He told me that he danced because he knew that his sister was now dancing above the clouds, and he wanted to make sure that when he saw her again he could keep up. He told me that he danced because he needed to be in shape for the next blessing that was on the way. I began to dance too. Suddenly, and without warning, the dance floor became full. When I looked around, we were all dancing. Some of us had no money. Some of us were running from something rather than to something. Some of us had no “family.” Some of us were couch surfers. However, for three to four minutes at a time, we were free. Those three to four minutes of freedom were wonderful. For three to four minutes I felt as though I were a part of something. I felt real. Also, contrary to popular belief, all minorities are NOT good dancers. Sometimes, we let our bodies communicate a message that our mouths are too afraid to speak. Not too long ago, a colleague of mine asked me why we danced so much. I’ve got to be honest when I say that I was initially offended. It then dawned on me that she simply didn’t know. I explained to her that we dance because dancing is a form of temporary freedom and bliss. She smiled as though she got it, but her eyes also demonstrated a sign of sadness. I asked her why she looked like that, and she told me that she was jealous. That was amazing to me. When Friday came, I asked her to join my friends and I for food, drinks, and music. Like me, I could see that once she got out of the way of her own fears about the quality of her dancing skills, her spirit was lifted. People who normally wouldn’t speak to one another were dancing together. Perhaps if we could dance more we would feel and heal more. When we decided to all leave, she said, “Gee, I get it.” I get it too. I believe that the Creator knew that we needed dance as an integral part of our existence. The Christian Bible has a verse that covers the importance of dance. Then the virgin will rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old, together. For I will turn their mourning into joy and will comfort them and give them joy for their sorrow. Jeremiah 31:13. When it’s hard to stand your ground because it feels like the world is trying to bury you beneath it, dance. When there’s more month than money, dance. When you heart is broken, dance. When good things come and go, dance. Dance Family. Dance. Until next time, continue to be the best version of yourselves, and do something for someone other than yourself for no other reason than to make them smile. Who knows, you just may find yourselves dancing together. Patrick

One thought on “Why We Dance.

  1. Hueman Movement November 14, 2017 / 3:44 pm

    Ronnie, I found your comment honest and refreshing. I am honored that you took the time to read the blog, and I truly appreciate your support. I do believe that the world can change, and with more people like you, I believe the process will be much easier. Thanks for your support. Gee


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