Because We Were Born to Dance…

Africa, Girl stories

One of my favorite early childhood memory was my dad trying out new music collections. And when he found a favorite he will nod his head in pleasure, flick his cigarette and do a dance. I always watched attentively. He will point out the highs and lows of each instrument and ask which piece I loved and why. We always agreed on the same selections and when we didn’t, compared favorites as we danced. My mom never joined us in this exercise. In fact, she always argued that it was a waste of time and effort. She said my dad was plain right crazy to assume that we understood his musical madness. If only she knew. She pointed out that his dance was rhythmless. She was right about the dance though. My dad had only one dance-step irrespective of the genre of music. And I was highly impressionable, I learned everything, including the dance.

I often wondered what brought my parents together. They were complete opposites of each other.

My dad was romantic. He loved life and was constantly looking for avenues of expressions. There were music, books, art, photography and random analysis. My mom was a realist. Her passion was her family. She got impatient every time my dad started his narrative and thinks my dad talks too much sometimes. But they will always tease each other is an amiable banter.

My Dad would retort that she was disinterested because it wasn’t Shina Peters ( a Nigerian Afro-Juju musician the Yorubas loved). “My music is too refined for you, too much coordination of sounds! You would have that Yoruba noise instead”!

She would respond that at least it was danceable. I hated it when she interrupted our discussions. I mean it’s not like she even cared anyway!

Years later, I will understand those interruptions as her way of expressing her pleasure and pride.

So I learned to dance in the evenings — right after supper. I will dance on Saturday morn00056_04, Angkor Wat, Angkor, Cambodia, 1998, CAMBODIA-10111. A little girl looks at the carvings. Magnum Photos, NYC8848, MCS1998012 K041. Sanctuary: Temples of Angkor_Book Retouched_Ekaterina Savtsova 11/7/2013ings right after Cadbury breakfast television. And still I dance, right after a crazy day at work. I will kick off my shoes, pour a glass of wine and turn on Spotify and dance.

Someday I will find someone to dance with, watching the sunset we will dance without rhythms. We will dance with our heart. And when I have kids I will teach them to dance beyond the sounds. To let the rhythm soak into their soul and let the lyrics rhyme with their heart. I will teach them to analyze sounds — because life is full of music. They should dance through every tempo — through the highs and low.

And dance endlessly because we all were born to dance


Excerpts from the Girl from Mafoluku, original piece from Oge

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