As a Black girl in the 90’s people were always surprised that I couldn’t sing or dance. Despite resenting the attempts at forcing me into this narrow stereotype, I will fully admit that dancing escaped me. Every move on the dance floor felt awkward and I struggled to feel at home in the places and the music I found myself in. Until recently I didn’t realize that my inability to create movement and shape with my body with ease had more to do with my inability to fully unfold in my right to express myself.
Those of you who have followed my Instagram account know that I’m currently exploring the ways we uncover truths that are sometimes buried in our bodies. Stress and trauma are buried in our body when we haven’t found ways create space for them to move. Truths are also found nestled in the body awaiting freedom. When truths are buried expression is also inhibited.
It wasn’t until I started learning and performing the traditional, Wob Dwiyet dance that I realized that music and movement could collaborate in my body. This dance tradition is explored in the Kweyol music of my childhood. This music brought my father back to life. I remembered watching him dance in our dancehall lined with bamboo and covered by the Moon and the blanket of stars in the Caribbean night sky. His long body would sway with the sea breeze and the moon would dance on his skin. In my dance practices I often closed my eyes and saw his joy and knowing. I pulled it into my feet and explored it in my arms. I allowed my body to transmute the memory and found dance. Every time I listen to Zouk and perform my Wob Dwiyet dance I am unfolding into ancestral vibrations. These vibrations are always present now and provide a pathway for expression.
Dance has become less about executing movements and more about expressing truths, feelings, and sensations – much like my other movement practices. Fourteen year old me would cringe at my current dancing posts on instagram stories – Forty-Seven year old me finds incredible joy in my ability to live in my body and celebrate the vibrations of my soul and my ancestors.