On Social Dance
Dance is integral to my cultural identity, especially growing up within the African diaspora. When referring to African dancing, I commonly joke about how each one of my Nigerian family members has a “go-to” dance whenever we listen to African music. This is further solidified when I find myself at Nigerian parties. For me, partying is synonymous with dancing, and at a Nigerian party everyone dances. There is even a tradition called “spraying” where people on the dance floor will shower you with dollar bills, which further incentivizes anyone who’s able to dance. In a way, dancing in social spaces is second nature to me. Whether it be dancing at home or in a social gathering one place where I’ve learned the most about my African culture is on the dance floor. Dance has always seemed like a key component of my personal identity and thus helps me connect in different social settings. From his writing, I get the image of African/African-American protestant churches. I can even hear my mother saying “In church we dance”. Specifically, in these spaces, dancing is an expression of faith and highly encouraged during times of praise and worship. It’s very normal for black churches to have dance teams/praise dancing troupes. Even when my family and I find ourselves in churches that are homogenously white, my mother still encourages us to sway to the beat and snap to the rhythm. In this way, dance seems to be more than just for the sake of movement and connection interpersonally, but also to connect metaphysically and further relate in an abstract way.