Can I Have This Dance?

North America has greatly lost its sense of dance as a culture - we tend to leave it up to the "professionals" - but in most other cultures (note especially the Africans and the Polynesians), dance is just what they do. When there is a celebration, they dance. When they go off to war, they dance. When they mark a new season in life, they dance...and it's not just the young, it is everyone, of all ages. I was significantly affected a few years ago when we were attending a church service in Kona, Hawaii and in the middle of the worship time, 2 older (and I must note, fairly overweight) women got up and spontaneously began to do the hula. Tears were streaming down my face as a watched the beauty of sway of the hips, the fluidity of the flowing arms and the delicate gestures of the articulating hands. Have we maybe stolen away the natural splendor of the movement of a woman by either requiring that only the thin and the trained do it or by contaminating it with sexual themes? Is it maybe time to take it back in it's true form?

And men, too, have often had their gift of dance taken away - few men dance any longer in North America and those who do are either led into quite an effeminate direction with it or need to be super-athletes to do it (think breakdancing...does my huband really need to be able to spin on his head to dance?). But again, the Pacific Islanders have it figured...take a look at the "Haka", a dance done by the men of the Maori culture (the best clip is of the New Zealand "All Blacks" rugby team) this is a dance for stirring th warriors to step out into battle (I, personally get shivers everytime I see it). At the First Nations event a couple of years ago, we watched a crowd of Polynesian young men sing the Haka over a group of young Canadian First Nations men. There were tears and weeping...a realization that many of our young warriors have lost their hope and their courage - this seemed to be a reinstating of them into their place in this culture. I pray that they, too, would dance an impassioned dance of identity, of authority, of strength, of purpose...

I'd love to ask again, can I have this dance?