Across the world there are universal practices that bind communities and cultures together and remind us how similar we are. Dance is a universal practice that can be found in almost all cultures. From traditional tribal dance in Togo, to ballerinas of Paris, each culture has found a way to express emotions rhythmically.
Earlier this week, Alaffia honored former prima ballerina Elizabeth Marie Tall Chief. Not only was she the first prima ballerina of Native American descent, but also one of the first American prima ballerinas. Throughout her life she actively fought stereotypes and misconceptions of Native American people. She is a shining example of an individual who fought to break down stereotypes to pursue her passion.
In Togo dancing styles are as diverse as the people who call Togo home. Styles include Agbadza, Kamou, Soo, Tchimou, Djokoto, Kpehouhuon and many others. Dance becomes more than just movement of the body; it becomes emotional, social, and spiritual. Even though each different stylistically, they are tied together by power of movement and the joy it brings.
When Olowo-n’djo returns yearly to Togo, he is met with joyful singing and dancing. Members of Alaffia Co-operatives in Togo express the joy of having a living wage, and the positive impact our community projects have on their country. However, the joy isn’t just felt in Togo. During the Empowerment Tour Olowo-n’djo was moved and overjoyed with the positive energy he received from customers and stores, and he too was moved to dance. At Alaffia we hope to continue giving people reasons to dance and express joy through the power movement.