Line Dancing as a “Support System”

We have all experienced grief and loss and for some of us, we find it hard to cope and move forward while still holding on to memories of our loved ones. Going to therapy or grief and loss counseling (especially in African American families) is more of a taboo topic for our community. We tend not to go to therapy to help us deal with our issues. We stay silent and often find negative ways to cope. However, there are several positive ways (and maybe unconventional ways) to embrace grief and loss in a positive way.

Ms. Paula Allen, who is a Recreational specialist at D.C.’s Parks & Recreation, (Turkey Thicket in Northeast), loss her Grandfather in August of 2004 and not a day goes by where she is not thinking of, honoring, and remember him.

One of the many ways that she embraces the grieving process is through volunteering as a line dance instructor. For Ms. Allen, not only does she enjoy bringing people of all ages together, dancing is her therapy.

“Dancing helps me keep my mind busy and not be so sad during this time (in August),” says P. Allen.

This August marked five years the Turkey Thicket Dance Addicts have hosted their “All White Out Dance Social”. This dance social is special because dance groups from all over the DC Metro area come out to support each other and dance the last days of summer away.

“It is a great way to end the Summer and see what everyone has learned since February,” Paula tells Uprising Experience.

This free event took place on August 24th and was open to the public. Each year, the Dance Addicts invite residents to come dance with them and encourage participants to wear all white.

Janee Stewart, Ward 4 Resident, also appreciates the support system that comes with dancing. Ms. Stewart who has always been a dancer, started line dancing 4 years ago. “My Grandmother was one of the original Line Dance students and she invited me one Friday and I’ve been coming ever since.”