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Embodying Praise: Sacred and Authentic Movements
Episode 344th November 2022 • Mensimah's Round Table: Conversations with Women of Power and Grace • Dr. Mensimah Shabazz
00:00:00 00:21:21

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We have a saying in many communities in Africa that says that "if you can talk, you can sing; and if you can walk, you can dance." This episode's focus in on Embodying Praise through dancing, and movement. It is one of my favorite sayings because it tells us that we have been gifted with an instrument of great Spirit to experience life. When we lose body wisdom, we lose the opportunity to dance and praise or celebrate the sacred.

In native and indigenous cultures, the word sacred is embodied and it is manifest in many forms, including movement. One of the main functions of movement in some of these traditions is to honor the earth, life and ancestors. It also is a medium to preserve sacred practices and ritual, universal wisdom and values. The drum or drumming is an integral part of rhythmic movement.

I have seen a few women perform dances from various traditions and I want to share my thoughts and wisdom on the experience, as part of the conversation with women of power and grace.

The dancers mentioned are:

  1. Jill Guillermo Togawa who founded Purple Moon in San Francisco. She used dance to shine light on stories from less visible communities.
  2. Wyoma - Teacher of African Healing Dances
  3. Loretta Green - Specializes on Liturgical Dance Routines.

Other dances mentioned are:

  1. The "Sowu" a tribal dance performed by the Ewe people of Ghana, Togo and Benin and the Suku from the Congo. This dance is a healing dance and it is often referred to as the ‘dance of life.’
  2. The "Suku" represents the passion and sensual aspects of African dancing so well.

We understand nature and the word sacred means many things to different people but there are some common denominators in its meaning. It is the recognition of the power in self, because it is what frees us to be present in our lives daily and what allows us to feel comfortable enough to step out into the world to share our gifts within our communities and the world.

Happy dancing!


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