The Day I Learned How To Dance
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Secondary School is quite an amazing time in a person’s life, that’s where you get your first kiss, your first romantic dance and your first real girlfriend. Sadly none of that ever happened to me. I was quite awkward in school…especially on the dance floor.
I played video games a lot growing up from Street Fighter to Killer Instinct to Mortal Kombat, so it was not surprising that my idea of a really cool dance move was the Subzero (remember him from mortal kombat) fighting stance, which basically entailed me on the dance floor swinging side to side like a ninja and out of beat.
Sadly I had no idea that I could not dance, in fact I really thought I was an awesome dancer until I realized that people were not laughing with me but were laughing at me. But did that stop me from dancing..nah…I kept on dancing mortal kombat style, street fighter style and killer instinct style, nearly killing my poor dance
victims along the way. My style of dancing was to move to every beat of the song, that’s what I understood as dancing.
All this went on, until one day in SSS1 (I know, I did this for 4 years) I was
dancing flapping around in my dorm room with a walk man plugged to my ear, when Chukwuma Ikeakor walked into the room. One year my senior, he was one of the coolest cats you could ever meet in secondary school. He had observed me dancing…
Back then the album that had just come out was Life After Death by Notorious BIG and the song I was attempting to jam to was Hypnotize.
Now if you remember Hypnotize it has this sick Bassline that goes like this dum-dum-d-dmmmmm if you have not heard the song…then s
orry youtube it. Anyway I was jamming and jamming and he was just watching and watching, and then he made me stop…probably right before I whacked him in the head Johnny Cage style.
And then in a deep still voice (added for effects) he said:
“Ofili you can dance, the only thing is that you are dancing the wrong way. Don’t try and dance to every beat, instead focus only on the bass line, that beat in the background, everything else is melodic noise.”
That was the best dancing advice I had ever received. People had given me tips on how to dance before, but no one had given tips on how to listen to the music. And for the first time in like forever, I started searching for the bass line in songs, I would nod my head to the beat, then tap my feet and soon my whole body was bumping, to that one bass line in the background as I ignored all the other layers of beats. And soon (it did not happen overnight) I began dancing much much better (I might even show you guys a video proof). Now I am not Michael Jackson or an Usher Raymond type dancer, I never reach that level. But I can hold my own at any Nigerian wedding…don’t try me.
So now you are probably thinking, what does dancing have to do with the price of pure water. Actually nothing, but that lesson thought me something important about life. In the words of one of the greatest poets Maya Angelou, Everything in the universe has a rhythm and everything dances. You, me and everything around us dances to the rhythm of the Universe. But much like the rap song Hypnotized, the Universe has a bass line to it, a steady rhythm that plays in the background. The one beat that we should tap our feet to and bump our heads to. The rhythm that matters.
Sadly people (just like me in Secondary School) don’t dance to that beat that matters, instead we try to dance to every single beat. And because of that, we fail miserably on the dance floor. Nowhere is this more evident than in the case of the Christian Religion…
At the core essence of Christianity, when you take away the layers and layers of doctrine and tradition is a core consistent message…Be kind to people, do not judge people and help them get to Heaven. But rather than focus on that core message, people focus on the fringe messages…
O the bible said that women should not wear trousers, our pastor said that the King James Version is the only true version of the bible, that religion wearing white with the funny caps are demonic, that church does not pray loudly they do not have the power of God, oral sex is a sin….
It is one thing after the other, religions stressing themselves over everything but the core message. And that core message is like the bass line beat of the Universe, if we focus on it we find more meaning to life and more clarity in things, we dance better. But this rarely happens as we get caught up with everything the Universe throws at us.
What I thought I learned in my small dormitory room in Ogun state several years ago was how to dance without killing people. But what I really ended up learning was that everything in the Universe has a rhythm and that if I was to successfully get through life without killing myself…I would have to dance to the beats that mattered.
What beat are you dancing to today?
Bonus: You might not be able to dance like Subzero or Johnny Cage but you can always dance like a true mathematician..do the SINE dance…
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Written and Drawn By Okechukwu Ofili of ofilispeaks.com
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