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Leeds West Indian Carnival
Credit for audio clip: Sonic City

Khadijah talks about the history of Caribbean dance

(Recording credit: Sonic City)
The fact that I wanted to be able to dance,  I wanted to kind of relearn that whole thing of soca dancing and being a part of that. Soca dancing has an energy that is very spiritual and it’s found within the African and African Caribbean community. We believe as African Caribbean people that it’s a tradition that’s grown out of Africa - that we’ve taken with us through the slave trade onto the cotton and sugar plantations. Both that element of dance and ground, that groundingness now. If you look at somebody dance at the Carnival, we say the dance is ground, it’s a grounding dance, so we call it whining and calypso dancing, so they will whine, as in their hips will do a whining circle, that will take them to the ground , as opposed to jumping up in the air. Yeah, so you see some jumping up in the air, but it’s more, what we call whining – and we say that is an element of connecting the person to the earth. And it’s the heartbeat as well, so the calypso pans once upon a time would have helped that. Now that’s been compensated for the sound system. It’s still calypso music, still soca music, it’s moved on but it’s more contemporary – the beats are still wonderful. I would like to see the steel pan come back on top of that as well, so that you’ve got all of those elements, so you’re keeping traditions but you’re also moving on with contemporary times as well. And that’s always been my interest since 2001, to bring all these elements and show that these elements are very educational.