Psalm 30:11-12 “You have turned my mourning into dancing;
you have taken off my sackcloth
and clothed me with joy,
so that my soul may praise you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever.”
When you think of dancing what first comes to your mind? Maybe it’s creativity, expression of self, stories, exercise, or maybe you have images in your mind of what dancing looks like. I love dancing and it has been a part of my life for many years.
I love how dancing brings people together, how it can be liberating, and the various ways it is a part cultures all around the world. Dancing is a huge part of Rwandan culture. People dance for ceremonies, presentations, celebrations, for fun and I’m certain for many other reasons.
During my time here I have witnessed and participated in dances from various regions of this country. The dances are not all the same, but the people seem to have great joy while sharing this part of their culture with me. I am constantly encouraged to join those who are dancing. Once I feel the beat and watch people’s footsteps I can usually join along in the dance.
My greatest dance teachers are middle school youth. There’s a group of teens and preteens who are very interested in me learning traditional dances. I am free ask them questions about when dances are done, and what the dances signify. They never fail to answer my questions and, after all my questions are answered, they practice the dances with me.
These youth never cease to amaze me. They’re patient, kind, and truly want me to join in the joy they experience from dancing. They help me when I make mistakes and celebrate when I get through the steps without any errors.
This reminds me of God’s love and how as Christians we should seek to make a longer table rather than build a higher wall. The youth could have told me to stop asking questions, or they could have acted like they didn’t understand my Kinyarwanda, but they didn’t. Instead, they found a larger space for us to dance, and welcomed me into the group. They’re generosity, love and kindness has made a lasting impression on me and will stick with me whenever I dance, no matter where I am.
This is a link to a video of dancing I was asked to take while I was with members from the U.S Embassy this past week. This dance was done as a way of celebrating all of the work that is being done at the NGO we were visiting. Moments after I finished taking this video, I was asked to join the in dancing and I did.