I am professing my love for West African dance in this digital space, and hopefully convincing you to take some classes in the genre. I have been obsessed with body isolations and rhythm since I was a child (it’s in my blood), so I was thrilled when I finally started taking African dance classes at age nine. I was a stiff wannabe ballerina until then.
There’s something about drums (especially the djembe) that just moves my soul. I like all types of music but I really need drums to feel it entirely. A lot of my feelings about West African dance (and music) makes so much more sense to me after having gotten a DNA test that showed me to have ancestry from Ghana/Ivory Coast (the latter being the birthplace of mapouka). Now that I know, I want everyone else to know it too.
Speaking of knowing, I found myself in a conversation with a pole dancing colleague who lamented the fact that she couldn’t twerk and I suggested that she take some African dance classes. Not only is it a fun workout as long as you get out of your head (because there is no counting, you just dance until you hear the break), but it’s great for the abs, for creating better body isolations (which is great for hip-hop and break dancing), and also for your rhythm.
Don’t believe me? Then take it from Beyonce. It has been months since the video for “Grown Woman” began circulating but I am still in love with it because of the African influence (Beyonce also did this with “Run the World Girls”) and I’m sad that no one (outside of my friends and I) seems to care enough to talk about it. So…
Watch the entire video, or skip to the part with the beat switches at 2:35.
I got my entire life at 3:50. That type of isolation is not easy, and a reminder that I still have some work to do.
In related news, check out these ladies from the Congo killing it with contemporary-style African dance.
It’s bigger than “twerking.”
Do this for a few months, eat well and see if your waist doesn’t almost disappear with abs poking out, to boot.