I’m a free style dancer. I’ve been dancing all my life but no one’s ever taught me to dance. I dance by myself to the music I feel and abandon my body to the rhythm.
I’m not bragging. I know I can dance and I dance very well. When I go to parties or clubs, I hardly sit down – I’ve been known to dance all night!
The one thing I hate most is having someone teach me a dance move and then expect me to follow after one demonstration. It is then that my normally fluid body becomes heavy, my feet become uncoordinated. They never seem to connect to what I see. (Don’t even add a mirror to that equation – because it’s then that I am the most awkward.)
So as I sat enjoying the Zulu (mostly) men doing their powerful stick dance, I was content and focused on watching and photographing their moves.
That is until Smagna, our Zulu tour guide, called for a male and female volunteer to join the dance from the small group of visitors at the evening’s festivities.
After he picked the male from the ‘male’ side of the hut and looked in our direction, I knew. He walked right over, stood in front of me and stretched out his hand.
It wasn’t a very complicated dance routine. We did a few practice moves -step, step, step, STOMP! Step, STOMP! (I can do that!) – then the drummers began beating their drums furiously. Try as I might, I could not follow what the dancers were doing or remember what I had learnt.
When it was over, I thought, thank God, my humiliation is complete. I’ll never see any of these people again, I said aloud as I consoled myself.
But as I write this, I know, somewhere in Germany or the UK or France or some other country, some individual is sharing their photos of their visit to Shakaland and saying, I have proof: some black people can’t dance!
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