January 10, 2010
I played for a West-African dance class today and it felt good to drum again and to spend time with a lot of beautiful people. A couple of years back, I took a few dance classes to see if it would help my drumming – not sure about the drumming, but it did help me get over a little bit of the fear of dancing and it also built on the respect that I have for dancers. African dance is very physical in its movements and it demands that you are in good physical condition, but dancing when you are not confident demands that you are in good mental shape as well.
At the end of dance classes, a student is encouraged to enter the circle, formed by other dancers and the drummers, and to perform a short dance solo. This circle format resembles the way that most dancing occurs in Guinea, Mali and other countries of West-Africa. Today, I watched someone with a great fear of dancing in public (never mind the pressure of the circle), overcome that fear with beauty and humbleness. It was wonderful to watch.