Get Up and GO, Haitian Style




When I was in second grade I quit Ballet and switched to West African Dance. My body appreciated the booty shaking aspect of it. And then, years later, I found Haitian Folkloric dance and it was so so good. Last year, in between jobby-jobs, I found myself dancing five days a week. I got invited to go to the National School of the Arts in Port au Prince, as a dancer and photographer. It didn't seem like the responsible thing to do, buy plane tickets and head off to the Caribbean while my husband was stuck holding down our city life. But something told me to just go, plain and simple. And so I found myself in classes for ten hours a day with 80 locals in Haiti's capital city, moving to rhythms so furiously fast that my mind had to just get out of the way or else i'd be tripping all over myself. I bonded with the locals, stayed in their homes, held their children, laughed until we were all crying as my creole blended with french blended with spanish blended with english to communicate things that no longer seemed important. As I headed to the airport to come home I felt like everything in my life had lead me to that moment. And it was a very good moment. I promised to stay in touch, to call often, and return soon. I felt like I had a new family and that everything made sense. With the earthquake, much of my "family" has perished. Dancers still have untreated, festering broken bones and nothing makes sense. Except for my gratitude, for seizing the moment when I had the chance, to see and experience a beautiful city, people and culture before a new wave of unimaginable tragedy rolled in.

 

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