Today on the bus, Drew announced that we were going to an art center, and we’d also receive traditional Rwandan dance lessons.
This was my worst nightmare.
I canNOT dance. I only barely passed my beginner tap class last semester, and it was 100% focused on footwork. Moving my arms or the rest of my body? That was WAY too much to ask. I think the fear was evident on my face as we drove towards the center.
The art center was gorgeous. There was a treasure trove of inspiration to be found there (especially because much of the artwork was recycled), but I could only focus on one thing - how stupid I’d look dancing. My lack of adeptness would be particularly noticeable compared to the other people in my group - Imani, Lisa, and Lila are all amazing dancers. Me, on the other hand...I’m a gangly white boy. I am seriously out of my element. The music was only drums, so I had no excuse for not staying on rhythm - I had to perform.
Christian, our wonderful instructor, led us through several basic steps. I was keenly aware of Drew, Molly, and Gabrielle filming us (and I shudder to think of what those videos look like - it could be incriminating evidence!), but as the dance wore on, I stopped caring so much about what I looked like. I gradually began to lose myself in the drum music, and began to feel the polyrhythms rather than carefully think my way through each step. I started to enjoy myself towards the end of the lesson!
I still refuse to post the photos, though. Or the video, God forbid.
I am traveling to Rwanda with the intent of a sponge - I want to absorb as many unique experiences as I possibly can, and bring them back to share with my culture. I am a multifaceted artist, and Rwanda is a treasure trove of valuable experiences to draw inspiration from. As a visual artist, I look forward to seeing unique handmade art, and letting it inspire an artistic vision. As a musician, I look forward to hearing vastly different than what I’m used to, and letting that inspire music from my soul. And as a teacher, I’m looking to see teaching methods different than what I have known. I want to bring these gifts back and share them with my culture.