So We Dance! Spokenword Piece

Listen. Listen well for I have a story to tell. It is a story of sadness, pain, terror, resignation, desolation, hurt, pain, anger, betrayal. It is a tale of hope, courage, resilience, faith, defiance, leaning in, love, survival, tribute, longing, victorious beauty. This is the story of Merengue, Bachata, Salsa. Birthed by ancestors who were taken from all they knew. Taken from family. Taken from home. Taken from friends. These beautiful artistic manifestations of survival were in the heart, blood, breath of those who survived the darkness, disease, close quarters of the ship holds in which they were packed as livestock. Brought to the shores of the Caribbean in the feet of those who did not die or jump from the deck of the floating prisons. Despite loss of drum, family, country, and voice, the shackles around their ankles could not stop the movement that would become Merengue and Bachata. Salsa, as mixed as the children born of the slave masters and slave women, a phoenix of strength, defiance, and beauty. Kizomba born of Mother Africa’s children of Angola. Rooted in family. Rooted in celebration. Rooted in the legacy of music. Rooted in history and love. Born of the longing of Angola’s children displaced by conflict.

These dances born of such Han, deep sadness, manifest all that is victory, beauty, resilience, and strength. Each dance intimately tied to music as old as time, full of the echoes of the voic