Dance the night away…

A little girl, maaaaybe 10 years old, performed the most elegant and happy dance this morning at church.  Her hair was pulled back with a fresh white flower head band and her white ruffly dress bounced as she skipped around moving her hands.  The dance moves are definitly different here than in the states, but the joy on her face could be transferred to any human that feels the freedom and liberation that the love of dancing brings about.

This all reminded me of the spring picnic we went on with the women at SB which is the business WMF runs here.  The place is called WonderWorld and it was pretty sweet with its paddle boats, the big swing ride that usually has dragons on the ends but here has peacocks, a five minute train ride, and a few play places for kids.  It wasn’t anything spectacular except for the people we were with and seeing the families play together.

The highlight of the day would have been the “nightclub” that we all went to.  It was a large rectangle room called “the icebox”… which means there were 4 window air conditioning units.  By the end, the men were off in their own area and all the women and us foreigners were dancing our 6 songs away in front of the AC unit and wiping off the sweat between songs.  Lovely, I know.

I’ve learned some dance moves over the years- mainly from the mentally handicapped that I’ve worked with… well, just the moves I like the most 🙂  Anyways, the way I learn the best is by observing so I would watch a woman and copy what she was doing.  The women were getting a kick as they watched me mimick their moves.  At first, we worked on some arm/hand movements, then the hips, gradually putting it all together.  These women were amazing and they could move!

At one point, they all went wild when a certain song came on.  The moves they started doing were very provacative and I was a little taken aback at first.  Then it dawned on me- these women are former street workers who once used their bodies to seduce men to earn a living.  What a beautiful picture to see their sexuality coming out in a safe environment surrounded by other women where the shame has been taken away and has been replaced with liberation and joy.  Too often I see people plague sexuality as sin or shameful, but not in this context.  It was beautiful. The next Monday when I went to work, the women had Beth tell me that I was a great dancer… I told them I had great teachers (meaning them).

Kolkata is a challenging place with the overwhelming amount of poverty and need we are faced with each day as we walk the streets, yet, even with the dirt and pollution that is plastered on the streets and in the air, beautiful people and relationships emerge.  The little girl that danced to a song honoring God this morning is one example.  There is a guy in the church that has been serving kids in the slum for awhile now and she is one of the about 15 kids that come each Sunday morning to sing and learn about God.  Even though she lives in the slums where it is dirty and poverty is ramped, her dress was perfectly white as she elegantly danced with freedom and joy.

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