Sisterhood of the Traveling Lappas
Dancing is ssooooooooooo personal!
One of its meanings is to "sparkle brightly with pleasure or excitement."
It's got to be the sparkly side of it that makes dancing such a deeply spiritual thing. One of the best ways to get to know a new person is on the dance floor. There's so much that can be deciphered in watching the way each other moves hips and neck. Are the arms flailing or actively engaged? Was that 2 left shoes I saw? Did you catch the "that's my shit" look? If you're a woman you check for how he holds you. Is it lewd, do you feel groped or caressed? If you're a man, and your groping, does she respond favorably to that? We all do it, decide a lot about a person from the way he or she moves.
For me, it's like church. It could be at a club and the right combination of cocktails and the DJ will have me moving my body like a snake [Ma]. I've spent moments on a stage at the back of a club giving myself so my own private dance, turning down all trying to join in. It's intoxicating, makes me feel the power of my femininity and my womanhood. I was busy giving praise. Having a Spike moment from Do The Right Thing--thank God for legs...thank God for feet...thank God for arms...thank God for hips...thank God for music...
I go to dance class chasing that same high.
If you've never felt it, there's nothing like the call and response of African drums and dance. You can fight it if you want to, but the music will eventually course through your cells and get you all mitochondrial (look it up). Before you know it, even if you don't know the movements, you WILL be dancing. I need that fix like a junkie. Trade in the itching for a pissy attitude and you got me needing to get high. The beauty of African dance is also that it's communal. The energy is shared with the people next to you and it's a must that you align yourself with energies that are comfortable with yours. That could mean you get behind the dancer that motivates you or that you squeeze out the rest for a spot next to him or her. That vibe is SO important. Without it, and this could just be me, it's just 2 people going down the floor for dolo. Good partners though...good partners play with it, challenge each other and meet each other at the apex for a hallelujah moment. Let the chu'ch say "amen."
Sometimes the dance is out of your control. The pastor for the day could be a visitor, or the regular pastor didn't spend enough time with his message before delivering it. Perhaps the choir forgot to rehearse or there are too many new members. But sometimes you didn't come to the dance floor clean and find yourself standing next to someone else not so clean. In the blink of an eye, service feels more like you're working to get the message. That's when it's time to sit down for a moment, grab some pew, and wave a fan for a few moments and take stock. Get control of your own issues first. "What am I bringing to the floor?" Then observe what the rest of the congregation is carrying. Reflection takes but a moment, and often that moment will save the rest of the service. Come to the dance floor and get thee bathed and anointed in the spirit of glorious movement. It feels too good to let it feel bad for yourself or your sister!
Watch me move.
side note [for those not in the know] lappa=traditional African fabric worn tied around the waist like a wrap skirt and proper covering for African dance class.