On Teaching Dance

I have dancing in my blood and coquetry in the very marrow of my bones. I come from a long line of crotch on the floor, hype, drenched in sweat, Caribbean, antebellum south dancers! My elders danced at home, in church, on the streets. There was dance everywhere from block parties to Earth day celebrations at Malcolm X park in West Philly. I remember my first year at Garden Spot High School; there was a talent show. I wore a blue and white sheet and danced to an African drum CD. I practiced for weeks! My classmates and teachers were pleasantly surprised. I even joined the Latina sisters merengue and bachata routine. I was the only black person to graduate in my class. The white girls had cheer-leading, so I started my high schools very first dance troupe that I believe still exists today.  Kept Lincoln University’s dance company alive by renaming it Onyx in honor of all of the beautiful blacks that cultivated movement to sounds on campus. I loved teaching. My smile and patience always connected people to me. That was my way of relating to my pupils. Teaching the culture behind the dance first then the moves. We got down to business and never ceased to have FUN! And while my career as Therapeutic Recreation Specialist allows for a fair amount of creativity, art, and movement I have no consistent space to teach dance or movement the way I know how. I’m lucky to still have a space to dance-as a professional member of a respected African dance company and by traveling to take class with other dance company’s around the area. However, I do miss teaching dance. I miss the energy exchange of that.

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