July 22nd, 2008

African Dance

I have no qualms about making a fool of myself for a good cause. Heck, I make a fool of myself all the time for no apparent reason, so doing it for a good cause seems like an improvement. The cause, in this case, was the writing festival and the foolishness was African dance.

I love dance. I have taken years of jazz and ballet. But what I find is that as I get older, new steps challenge me more than old ones. My body is willing to remember more than it is willing to learn. Needless to say, African dance has not been part of my education to this point.

What we grown-ups were asked to do was simple enough. It was about clapping, mostly. The hard part was finding the starting point in the plethora of beats: what is obvious to a young music major is not obvious to me. And there was good news: we were effectively The Pips, support for the African dance experts in our midst, one born in Ghana, one studying the form in school.

I ended up having lots of fun. Which was good because the good cause of the foolishness didn’t work out so well. Not a lot of writing ensued. The kids in my group, at least, found extra energy in the motion and struggled to settle down to write.

I am resourceful, however, and I can find other good causes for the application of my foolishness. For one, all the time the kids spent dancing and watching dancing was time they weren’t wailing about having to write, which is good for my equilibrium.

For another, it gave me something to write about now.