One of the things that was great about public school, especially here in St. Louis, was the dance groups. Every grade, starting in fourth or fifth grade, every grade had a singing group or dance group. There were dance contests on the playground. There were sock hops and dances where we would be hype when the best dancers went head to head!
I remember how dancing was before the invention of social media; you had to be there to see it. Plus, if you saw it, you could hype it up all over again! That there was the best part!
“Girl! Did you see Keisha in Room 204 and Ananda in Ms. Green Room in 205 dancing outside Tuesday?!”
“Boy, you know Kevin in Mr. Harris Room Moonwalk?!”
“I can do the Whop, Cabbage Patch and The Troop better den you!”
With the advent of camera phones and social media, that same Blackness that I grew up with, I get to see again! There is something about seeing Black children dancing that always makes me so happy.
A little known fact about me is I wanted to be a ballerina. I really did! So to see this fusion of hip-hop and ballet (hiplet!) being created and performed in the age of a Black Prima Ballerina for the ABT, Misty Copeland?! And EN POINTE! I am here for it! To see the group Syncopated Ladies getting the shine they deserve? I am here for it! Even with our dear MeMe’s daughter, BG, having a love for dance, and doing several performances that she choreographed herself?!
I. AM. HERE. FOR.
Dance and Blackness in the country is a distinctive experience! It is something our ancestral selves appreciate, and certain feelings are accessed with a certain body movements. Dancing for us, FOR US, is always deep. It’s always passionate. It’s always extra. It is always from a place in our souls the Masters and the masters of this world couldn’t touch.
To the kids on the IG videos: Keep shining!
To the kids who desire to be choreographers: Keep working!
To the kids that do the over the top prom intros: Auntie Jenn see you, babes!
Keep your shoes tight, because you gotta be light for the flight. And the limit is not, never was, the sky!
Admin note: I would be remiss not to remind you all of these distinct Black dance spaces: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater; the wonderous phenomenon that is the Dance Theater of Harlem. Dance is more than expression. It is art! It is joy! And it is unapologetically Black!