African dancers

As I danced a piece that made its way all the way from the Ivory coasts of Africa, I felt my mind sniff out the dance. At first with bold assertion and a hint of reservation to a moment, or two, of fumble.

Then on to full resignation to the live drumming: I couldn't embrace the movement or hear the timing and allow it all to speak through me if I didn't full submit allowing whatever ungodly show to surface.

This is what I've noticed when I give in:

At some point I look ugly or awkward. But I get over this.

Sooner than later the step sits inside me and I plant roots into the song.

Sooner still the song accepts my humble interest and takes shelter within me.

I then begin to dance with depth and grit unaware of all else that isn't the beat of the drum and the sensation of life aching to escape.

As I witness resistance flowing in a balanced whirlwind around my limbs, the kind you only see when people have fully succumb to their art, and when judgement of ugly has turned into focus and joy, people begin to follow my lead.

The teacher seeks out my energy and at the end of class he asks me what company I dance with and for how many years I've danced.

They can't believe it was my first African dance class and that I have only a year of formal training.

There's a dancer in all of us if we're willing to listen. And there's the chance to be surprisingly good at something if we get out of our own way long enough to make it happen...