The Last Dance of Year
Today was the last Sabar dance class of 2009, thus, it was a wrap-up for us. It was very fun and silly, we cranked up some funky moves with Baram'baye (spell?), the drummers were so amazing (even more than usual!), and everyone seemed to enjoy the finale and got more excitement to dance in new year :) Though I still suck with Sabar (and Djembe and anything!), I actually could see a lot of improvement in myself, in comparison to 5 month ago, when I first started. Now I can follow the most of basic/traditional moves, and if I can't, I still greatly enjoy the struggle to catch the move without stress. Though I'd like to be "dancing" than "following," but think back, I couldn't even follow the basics several months ago, so it's good for now :) I am so glad this realization came to my mind today, even it was so hard to leave house due to the extreme cold.
The best thing about learning West African Dance is that, more you dance, more fun you get. (Like digging a potato in dirt!) I think the reason why we feel so emotional when we see the beautiful dancers and drummers from West Africa is because they embody the "joy of life" with all over their body and heart. When dancers embrace the drum beats, and the drummers and their beats melt together with dance, it's all about "feeling," unlike other verbal communication. And their dance IS the story of people's life which has been carried on for thousands of years. I have been thinking, "How can I output what I learned from Griots as a Japanese stranger?" but I have not found an answer yet.
Dance is my hobby and I'm not trying to be a performance artist or anything. I'm still skeptical about my rack of talent in dance even. But I LOVE dance, and I LOVE the drum beats, and I LOVE how much dance can make my body and mind so happy and healthy, so 2 years of going to dance classes easily passed. When I'm stressed out or not feel right about myself, dance can make me so clear, open, and neutral. One dance can also bring the new world about the culture and people's life behind it. (ex. I learned about the Bayefaal culture through Bayefaal dance) It even effect my creativity - whether it's direct or indirect, dance effects what I create in good way. There are so many good things returns to me when I dance. So when I realized, dancing became my basic life necessity, just like eating and sleeping.
My new year's dance resolution is to be able to dance in solo circle by the end of 2010, and of course continue having fun with dance. The slow and steady win the race, it's the idea :) Also, this is not directly connected to dance, but I hope that my dance practice keep feeding good energy, joy and inspiration to my main work of life as a designer. It's my fuel! I also would like to give back something good to Senegal or Guinea and other amazing West African countries and its culture and people through my own work, so I hope some sharp idea comes to my heart!
Some of the people in my class has been dancing for really long time. When I see their smile and beautiful polished moves, it's hard to not wanting to still be dancing when I become 60 years old.
As a lucky new bee, I can't thank enough for everyone have been supporting the amazing NY West African dance community for long time. I'm so grateful that I live here :)