An exploration of African dance work(out)shop

Megan Vesevick recounts her experience learning African dance in the Saturday morning workshop.

Linda+Kazibwe-James+form+Whittier+Christian+High+School%2C+who+is+originally+from+Kenya%2C+leads+an+African+Dance+Workshop+on+Saturday+morning.+%7C+Rachel+Adams%2FTHE+CHIMES
Linda Kazibwe-James form Whittier Christian High School, who is originally from Kenya, leads an African Dance Workshop on Saturday morning. | Rachel Adams/THE CHIMES

Linda Kazibwe-James form Whittier Christian High School, who is originally from Kenya, leads an African Dance Workshop on Saturday morning. | Rachel Adams/THE CHIMES

Linda Kazibwe-James form Whittier Christian High School, who is originally from Kenya, leads an African Dance Workshop on Saturday morning. | Rachel Adams/THE CHIMES

Megan Vesevick, Writer

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When I came into Sutherland Auditorium for the African Dance Workshop this morning, I was not expecting to get a full body workout by the end of it.  When Linda Kazibwe-James, a Biola alumna, asked us all to come on to stage, I knew by the end of our time I wouldn’t simply know the history of African dance, but have a few moves of my own to show off.  I was really excited about this because I absolutely love dancing.  I’m not very good at it … at all … but I enjoy moving my body and having fun in that way.

We all sat in a circle, and Linda began to talk about the history of dance as a whole and how it has changed through the centuries.  She talked about how dance has been turned into something sexual because of the culture, and that is why sometimes in Christian circles, like here at Biola, dancing is something students are asked to refrain from doing.  However, dancing was not created for that purpose.  Dancing was a way to express yourself, to enjoy each others company, and even as worship towards God.  Dancing is definitely not a bad thing, God created our bodies to be able to move and twist and shake, and we can definitely praise God through our movements! I really appreciated her saying these things, and I wholeheartedly agree.

We didn’t stay seated for long, and we are all soon on our feet and learning traditional African dance moves, ranging from easy to very difficult.  It had the potential to be a little awkward or embarrassing for people, but everyone really got into the moves! It was a blast! I’ll probably be feeling it in my back and legs tomorrow, but it will be all worth it. Taking part in something that for the most part, is a universal practice in all cultures reminds me of something we have in common with each other.  Although we dance differently — some more wildly, some more controlled — we can connect through it.

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