In a conversation with EBONY, choreographer and dancer Camille A. Brown discussed the richness of Black social dances and the importance of discovering your body language and using that art as a way to connect with our history.
“Dance really lives in our bodies and the thing that I’ve come to learn, embrace and lift up is that we have history in our bodies that’s living and breathing,” Brown shared. “We have our own individual history but we also have our heritage. Each one of us has our movement language and it’s about tapping into that and pulling that out.”
That’s exactly what a group of Afro-Mexican women in the southern state of Oaxaca are doing. The group of women, named after Obatala – meaning child of God and sculptor of mankind in Yoruba- are using the art of dance to connect to their African roots.
As for where their knowledge of the cultural dances came from? The ladies have the Internet to thank. After hours of YouTube research, the women, who are from Africa’s northeast region, decided to use the dance medium because they realized that’s where slaves from their town came from.
The group of dancers travel and perform throughout the region with the intent of spreading awareness of “an identity historically disallowed from their narratives.”
“Our dancing is an open invitation for young people to join us,” lead dancer Anai Herrera states in a video captured by AJ+. “We want this to consolidate our own culture, our own identity as Black people.”
Get into the rhythms of their world below.