Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Chocolate Line Dancing

        I was under the impression that line dancing and square dancing were for White people. In fact I thought Caucasians used this form of movement to celebrate how pasty they are. I envision a middle-aged man and his wife putting on cowboy boots, chaps, a button up shirt, jeans, and a cowboy hat and then heading out for a night on the town with other Whities to do the "Boot Scoot'n Boogie!" I learned a few line dances and square dances in Junior High School (part of the reason I thought they were White!). Most of these dances were incredibly lame except my favorite, THE CHICKEN DANCE! The Chicken Dance is one of the most highly enjoyable past times that was ever created (second only to the male version of the  Shake Weight). The jiggling, gyrating, and tempo changes are just absolutely riveting! The Chicken Dance is ALWAYS a must every time I visit my Step Dad in Salmon Arm. Although I always question whether or not it's the dance or the inevitable liquor leading up to the dance that thrills me. It's probably the combination. So it comes as no surprise that I was indeed surprised to see people of color embracing this so-called Vanilla dominated art form. 

              A few ingredients are needed before any Black line dance can start: a moderately sized dance floor that's preferably made of wood (perhaps a cedar or spruce), lights that move in circular patterns across the dance floor that alternate colors, a disco ball that spins uncontrollably, Patron or Hennessy, and a lot of Black people. Now, as I've explained before the people of Texas are NOT by any means of normal stature. They are size huge! Imagine the Michelin Man except in an assortment of colors. This becomes of most importance in a moment. On one particularly evening my friends and I arrived at a Jazz Lounge in Dallas and sat down. They had a live band and food. It was lovely! If there were any White people at all in that place, they must've been working in the kitchen, or perhaps they were midgets and I missed them because of how quickly they scurry. Anyways, everyone was sitting down and all was just fine. People are eating, drinking, and talking at the lounge and having a lovely time. Then all of a sudden the DJ plays some "old school" song that I've never heard in my life and then suddenly the herd begins! It's like elephants in Africa! You hear them coming from afar trekking to the watering hole in the Savannah! You see them, as though in slow motion, running with heavy strides to the dance floor. And please don't forget......THEY'RE ENORMOUS! SOOOOO ENORMOUS! I thought there was an earthquake! Women with gigantic hot-air balloon sized breasts bouncing up and down so violently I thought they would hit themselves in the face and end up in a concussion. They ran so fast. It was like for a moment speed forgot how fat they were. It was as though the people themselves paid no mind to the fact they had just devoured seventeen happy meals fifteen minutes earlier. I don't know how they managed to move so quickly but they did! I'm telling you, once that song comes on...YOU BETTER WATCH OUT! So there they were, 100 Black people squished together on a dance floor that was maybe 15ft x 15ft. Thank God I was sitting on the side at a table enjoying my cosmopolitan because had I been in their way I surely would've been trampled and crushed to death (at least it would be a funny story at the funeral, I guess someone else would have to write THAT blog). So the 100 Brown elephants were on the dance floor and they began the Black line dance. They actually ended up doing several different ones but they are all based on a similar template. Here's how Black dancing works.
1. You all begin facing downstage (that usually means in the direction of the DJ, the live band, or wherever most of the food is).

2. The herd usually takes a few steps to the right.
3. The herd takes a few steps left.
4. Then they "take it back" which means they move backwards. Usually when they do this they also lean back for dramatic effect.
5. The last step varies depending on the song. Sometimes they "walk it by yourself" which is a walk in place that allows the gigantically enormous individual to transition to the next facing which would be stage left.
 ***NOTE: Black line dancing ALWAYS moves in a counter-clockwise direction OR You may instead of "walk it by yourself" you may just simply chug or scuff your right foot to transition. It depends on the song.
6. You repeat these steps until you have faced ALL directions and it just keeps going and going like the Black Energizer bunny until the song finishes.
**ALSO NOTE: Black Line Dancing similarly to the White version is narrated so it's very easy to follow along. Just make sure to wear football protection if you're under 200 pounds.         

      In Texas, Black line dancing is used as a form of celebration of one's Blackness. It's a way to relate to your people whilst moving in a counter-clockwise direction. It's like talking loud in moving theatres while rotating. Although I have not been appropriately educated on all of the social dances of the Blackfrican American culture I certainly am incredibly curious to see how much Hennessy it will take to get me to participate.


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