Saturday, November 20, 2010

#2 Community {10 things I want from Trinidad}

Binahkaye means “the dancer radiates OUR awesome powers”.

It has always been important to me to orient myself and my movement as a part of the community. As a dancer who values the contribution of every human being’s dance to our world, I reflect the infinite possibilities of the people’s dreams with my vibrant dancing body. When we dance, we paint testimonials of humanity with our bodies, etching the air and space with the purest expression of what we are choosing to experience right now. Coding our muscles with memories of our journey, and the knowledge gathered along the way, our dance at times is wiser than we know ourselves to be.

My dance evolution was steeped in communal awareness from a young age. It was in high school that I first fell in love with facilitating dance in communal, non-traditional spaces. At the church where I grew up, I nurtured the creative expression of women and girls who didn’t know that they too had something unique and essential to share when they danced. At the time I didn’t know that I was planting seeds for processes and approaches to movement that would form the core of my artistic journey.

I LOVE that feeling when I am dancing with someone who is at the beginning of her creative revolution. It is like watching someone give birth to her power, a power that was always there, but waiting to be actualized by the individual. That is what our dancing bodies do—they activate the innate creative force within us, enabling us with insights and wisdom that enrich our lives, propelling us toward greater realities.

Sometimes it is challenging to explain my perspectives on movement. It took me several years before I felt confident enough to express that I am not “teaching” you how to dance because you already know “how” to dance. Rather, I am encouraging you to TRUST your dance, to believe in your process enough to share your dance with us. I recognize that every person on the planet has a sacred dance that is like a vital ingredient in the recipe for world peace, love, and prosperity. If one person’s dance is compromised, the “soup is off”, humanity misses out on something. This awareness fuels my passion and my mission to dance with as many people on the planet as possible. EVERYONE has that essential piece we need to make the whole.

It was in Ghana, 8 years ago in a small village called Adalku in the Volta region where I danced one of the best dances of my life. A storm flew down onto the dirt, the mud softened my feet, and I was soaked in ecstatic praise as musicians clanged weathered metal parts together, conjuring up ancient spirits and savory beats.

I loved the participatory, inter-generational process of the community’s dance. Somewhere in my soul, the Divine whispered, “this is home.” Not home, as in a physical place, but home as in, this is where I am to birth my creative genius, here inside humanity’s dance.

Shortly after the dance in Adalku, a poem came to me, its opening lines becoming the mantra for the early stages of my career: “The Most Beautiful Dance You Do, Is the One You Do With Your People.” As I have journeyed and grown over the years, I continue to delve into my fascination with the organic movement that springs forth from communal dance exchanges. In Trinidad, I am eager to experience the frequencies of the people’s dance, the sway of the crowd, the gait of the walk, the dip of the back, the flutter of feet, the spin of a nation.

Every element of the community’s dance empowers the exploration within my own body, thereby allowing me to acknowledge and honor the ways in which the people express their truth. Imagine the global shift if we all valued and honored each other’s movement as a beautiful contribution to our lives. This sharing process cultivates the preservation and expansion of the human community’s dance. This is how WE dance towards peace, this how WE move in love.

Stay tuned to the JOYISM! blog for the complete series, "10 things I want from Trinidad." Also, I will be writing about my dance journeys in Trinidad and posting them to the JOYISM! blog. Subscribe to the blog, join JOYISM!'s mailing list, "like" JOYISM! on facebook--stay connected to the dance!

Contribute! Make a donation to JOYISM!'s Trinidad dance residency at any time. Your support is always appreciated and is strengthening my ability to create dance and peaceful exchanges with communities around the world. Find out more about my program in Trinidad at

Photos by Caroline Angelo

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