A Breakthough Insight, I think………..

A couple of nights ago I had put on a CD of rhythm and blues. My wife and I began slow dancing between the kitchen and the family room. As usual, I had trouble following her. I have watched people slow dance by moving back and forth from one foot to the other; that is not how she dances. It’s complicated, at least to me, and she is completely incapable of breaking down what she does.
But as we danced, I noticed that she seemed to anticipate the pulse or beat, as some call it. I relaxed into it as much as I could.
Later I asked her about it and she conceded she started her step slightly before the “beat,” so my mind went to John Miller Chernoff’s statement that African construct a counter-rhythm in their heads, counter to the one being heard. That creates the interplay that creates cross rhythms. I then thought about how often I had witnessed African-Americans and Africans in a gathering where music was playing and some would be moving to that rhythm – shaking a foot or bobbing their head – and others not. I wondered if perhaps the ones not moving had simply not bothered to construct a cross rhythm.
This gets deep, so I guess I’ll have to dance with my wife some more.

One Comment

  1. Sandra says:

    Do Like receiving the e-mail NOTICE of a new blog 21 Aug 2021. Wishing this Intro is part and parcel of the “Being a Subscriber” thing. (smiling)

    I did Not Teach any adult Dance while growing up around Detroit ….
    I did do a class for 9 years olds — Interpretive Dance. And our Recital at an elementary school, was to the Song “Quiet Village” ….. I was thrilled with my Students performance… The Animal sounds in the Music…. and the Stealth, slow movements of my adorable human animals… the audience, wide eyed waiting for those moves to culminate, before another Move Began… possibly Sharp this time.

    I certainly did Like my Ratio, 12 students, and YES 5 Black, 1 amer Indian, 5 caucasion, 1 exchange student from Germany. And yes, The German (smile) did have a different rhythm in accentuating the beat …..

    Wish I would have been fully aware of what you spoke of in this Blog, about the Counter Rythm of African culture. And I believe you also meant, this is organic to Blacks. So Intriguing to me as a “movement- Suggester” in several Healing Modes I’ve given classes in….

    I did Smile outloud as you wrote, “as YOU followed HER” … And ‘ she is completely incapable of breaking down what she does.’
    When I moved below the mason-dixon line, (drum-roll of the dramatic) But Light hearted story next. Went to a Country-Western COUPLES dance class….. met a man, who had never danced before in his whole life (as he was raised in strict southernbaptist, hope that is clear enough) AND YET HE was a Prodigy — in the movement of “dance AND later that year, We were Teaching (Couples Only, none of that line-dancing-alone stuff) … and we were married 9 months after meeting. and we spent the next 30 yrs. together… (I miss Dancing the Most of all now)
    And very sad to say,
    we had no Black students in our class ….. I must have Not done the Ads, correctly enough, But did Not , could Not,,,, fit into an Ad, that I’d grown up in Detroit and had Friends and Family of the darker skin color …..

    ooops, apology, I got carried away there, in My Happy Feet …. years…
    Furthermore, we had “males” who’d come into class, saying they had the “2-left-feet” saying …. they didn’t have any rhythm” ….. Which of Course, I took it upon myself to Offer Truth, “That Everyone Has Rhythm, And Really Anatomically, NOone has Two LEFT feet…..
    And since You’re here with the loving Female than “brung” You,,, You have the motivation of Love, that gives You the Best Chance of becoming a “DANCER”.

    DANCE offers many Types of HEALTH …. So Enjoy,
    We taught:
    Waltz, Cha-cha, 2types of Swing, Foxtrot (ballroom name for cntry 20step) and Free Style,,, so much fun “Merenge”…..

    Thank You for the opportunity to Live in my dance memories.
    AND I know You will Keep dancing with Leatha, because she won’t give Up until You Get It ….. (smiling.

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