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What Gives You Life? For Me, It’s Dance

We all have something that brings us life. For me, that is dance. Specifically Afro-cultural dance. I began dancing about 3 years ago when my cultural anthropology professor invited me to a “drum circle”. I had been to one before at Venice beach and expected the same high and wild movements to the slightly askew music. He told me that for my first time, maybe I should come to watch.

It took me a couple of months to finally show up, and when I did it changed my life instantly. The sound of the drums was loud enough to feel from across the street. I walked up to the community center in Long Beach that I was told would hold the circle in anticipation of… I had no idea what I was actually walking up on. If I had ever heard drums orchestrated in this way, it had most likely been in movies about Africa or when someone at the beach had vaguely attempted to recreate the sound, but as I reached the door and saw the crowded building.. the drummers, the audience.. all facing the dancers giving smiles and energy on the floor, headed toward where we were standing, I knew that I had never felt anything as amazing as this before.

I was hurriedly ushered to move in and sit down by an older man clearly still entranced with the strong relationship between the music and the dance. Next I knew, I was up, shouting, jumping, laughing, clapping. Something in me switched that day. Priorities, interests, needs, resources. Music chose me to use as a vessel for joy and love because I chose to show up for myself.

We all have something that brings us life. Mine is dance.

Dance takes the life energy swirling within me and transmutes it into creative energy that I can use to manifest my visions. Dance is prayer. Dance is breath. It is celebration, sorrow, remembrance, destruction, creation. With Afro-diasporic dance I was rebirthed. Any excuse to not live in my greatness was evaporated.

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