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Archive for August 12th, 2007

Dancing in the City

Sunday, August 12th, 2007

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I’m still catching up… Two Wednesdays ago, I danced with Habibi Dancers at the Allen Street Farm Market. I love this market. It’s truly serving its city neighborhood which has many cultures, ages, incomes (mostly lower income). This neighborhood has a higher than average percent of immigrants, a good number of whom are refugees. Lots of folks do not have a car and there is no grocery store within almost 2 miles.

You can find fresh organic produce there at some booths. I found pure maple syrup at two vendors, and one had maple sugar which I really love and which I’d been mail-ordering at times. I’d much rather buy in my own city. I also found some fresh herbs which pleased me.

We had maybe a half dozen dancers that day. I danced in three numbers, but we all took turns. When it was not my turn to dance, I took a few photos. You can see that we were literally dancing in a parking lot which is transformed once a week into this market. Around the perimeter are booths for groceries, prepared foods, baked goods, and jewelry among other things.

After the show, a woman from Somalia came over to say hi. Her English was imperfect, but she kissed me on the cheeks three times as I was often greeted in Ethiopia. She hugged me and was clearly happy to have us dancing there. She tried to ask me a question about Egypt (most of our dances are in an Egyptian style). I found out that she spoke Arabic and one of our dancers speaks fluent Arabic so I called her over and they talked for a moment.

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If that lone Somali woman had been the only person there, it would have made the whole performance worthwhile. She must feel so isolated, yet going “home” is likely not safe, so here she is. I’m glad we made her feel more comfortable and hopefully feel welcome in my city.

Sometimes I am proud to live in Lansing. These moments are what makes life here really special.