Dancing Is Not Cancelled! Thanks to Debbie Allen Dance Academy!

81178884-6b8a-4572-9c16-b60a92780360My daughter excitedly asked, “When does dance class start again, Mommy?” She was ready in her comfortable workout attire eating for it to get underway. Yesterday, we got the chance of a lifetime to dance with choreographers from Debbie Allen Dance Academy live through Instagram. At first, Quinn was doing it by herself because it was advertised for three to seven year olds, but the dance instructor said, “Mommy’s and daddy’s join in too!” As I was watching from afar in the kitchen, “Quinn yelled out, “You can do it too, Mommy! Let’s dance together!”

Though I had on jeans, not the most comfortable for dancing, I quickly raced into the living room where I had the Instagram live feed mirrored to my TV. In knowing this was a once in a lifetime opportunity, I decided to record us dancing together. We moved, wiggled, giggled and even breathed heavily at times as we tried to keep up with the dance moves of the choreographer. Afterwards, my six year old said, “I think Kenzie (her thirteen year old cousin) could have done that dance too!”

We both struggled a bit trying to keep up with the fast paced African dance routine, but it really was so much fun. Plus it was great exercise too. Yes, now has been quite a trying time. There’s so many limitations on what we can do, so I’m so glad that Debbie Allen and her dance studio put together such a wonderful online event with thousands and thousands of people tuning in together. In times like this that we must remember the Zimbabwe African Proverb If you can walk, you can dance. If you can talk, you can sing. My daughter keeps me moving which in turns keeps my spirits up!

All the best,


Having a Happy Kwanzaa with My Little One: Umoja (Unity)

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Quinn Demonstrating Umoja by Becoming a Part of the Ceremonial Dance

Kwanzaa is a week long celebration which celebrates and honors African heritage in African American cultures, and it pleases me that this is the third year my two and a half year old has attended a Kwanzaa celebration. Though my daughter initially clung to my husband and me this evening, she was a shining example of Umoja the first day of Kwanzaa, which means unity.

Part of the evening involved gaining some historical knowledge about Kwanzaa along with different aspects of African heritage. One of the people offering insight also performed a ceremonial African dance with roots from Mali. My daughter was captivated by the woman’s movements, so when she extended her hand to Quinn, she surprisingly took it without hesitation, even with the huge crowd of onlookers. Perhaps she could feel her positive energy and knew she would not do her harm. Maybe she was just moved by the familial setting and togetherness of so many people.

The woman remarked on how brave Quinn was and how we can all learn from her. In knowing how shy my daughter can be, I was astonished at how she stepped out of her comfort zone to unite with someone she did not even know. My little one actually played a significant role in getting some of the adults out of their seats to actively participate in the celebration. Quinn reinforced the importance of how bravery is sometimes essential to establish unity among people. Sometimes extending a hand with a welcoming smile is enough to make a person want to unite. It worked for Quinn!

All the best,

Tanya H. Franklin