Making of a Junkanooer
Buss A Move
Before we go any further, I need to explain that I am not your average Caribbean girl. When people think of women from this region they imagine we're all born with a magical rhythm. While that is generally true, I’m the exception. I'm socially awkward, my hand and eye coordination suck and I would never sign myself up to dance. I’m not as bad as I think (I hope), and I'm sure it has something to do with shyness. Or maybe I just need a little liquid courage in the form of tasty Bahamian drinks such as Kalik, Sky Juice, or Goombay Smash.
Until now, I had been challenged to become a Junkanooer in four weeks so that meant I had to have a little of everything, if only to do it once and never again. I visited the Shell Saxons Superstars choreographed dance practice to pick up some moves or even a little two-step that I could do repeatedly without anyone noticing.
Music and dance practices are a little different than building in a shack. These sections tend to practice at schools, where they can have some privacy. The Saxons were no different as both their music and dance section were practising at a local public high school.
The first thing I noticed was that women of all shapes and sizes were dancing and boy did they look good. They pranced, they jumped, they shook their bodies and it was in unison. It reminded me of visiting Ardastra Gardens and watching the flamingos stand at attention, no feather is out of place and no bird is left behind.
The next thing I noticed was the smiles, they all smiled as they practised their dance moves. Then it hit me, I have problems smiling and walking at the same time but these girls, no matter what they were doing, they smiled. Even if they messed up, that smile remained imprinted on their faces. It was like they were always putting on a show and someone was always watching. I was learning already and realising how difficult it would be for me to smile, remember a routine, dance, and look good at the same time. The envy!
After watching them practice for 30 minutes, Sabria Thompson, who had volunteered to help me learn a small but simple routine and I went outside for a little one on one.
I was already dreading it. I only know how to "shake up myself", which we call whining in The Bahamas, and it's not on time and there are no steps included. Before we got started, I stressed how basic I needed the routine to be. I explained, I was socially awkward and needed something that wouldn't require much thinking as this wasn't my thing.
The first routine required me to pivot three times and then pose as if I was a model in a show. The last time I heard the word pivot, I was playing netball but that's neither here nor there. This routine, however, proved to be troublesome. So, Sabria came up with something else, which I also failed. I am really not a dancer. The last proved to be a charm, all I had to do was walk and shake up myself and then twist. Although I didn't get the twist correct, I was sure if needed be I could get it and finally have something to show for my time spent with the Saxons.
After learning a simple routine and realizing at the end of the day Junkanoo music makes everyone dance regardless of skill level, size or culture so I will be fine - I was good to go.
Stay tuned to find out where I ventured to next to prepare for my performance on 'Da Cay'!