John ODHE, Yenagoa
As the book of word meanings rightly puts it, dancing is the act of moving rhythmically to music, typically following set sequence of steps. In other words, it is the movement of the body in a rhythmic way, usually to music and within a given space, for the purpose of expressing an idea or emotion, releasing energy or simply taking delight in the movement itself.
From the above lexical explanations, it becomes clear that dancing requires more than just rhythmic movement of the body to music. It has to do with some strings of energy as driven by one’s emotions and delight. Different people go dancing for different reasons. According to physiotherapists, dancing has the elements to effectively promote good health by improving cardiovascular fitness, strengthening the muscles, increasing circulation, decreasing blood pressure, lowering the risk of coronary heart disease, reducing stress and many other health benefits.
Dance, often times, comes in two major forms. They are either competitive or voluntary. When dancing is competitive, be it religious, cultural or conventional, the dancers have a target of thrilling their audience silly and thereby winning prizes or other benefits for themselves in return. Voluntary dancers, on the other hand, are those who dance to music for personal expression of a joyous mood or in appreciation and honour to one’s creator or superiors as the case may be.
Most times, dancing is associated with children, teenagers, youths and the middle aged. Whenever the aged dances in public, as whimsically as it may occur, it gives joy to his or her children, relatives and those around that vicinity. The dance of an aged man occurs once in a blue moon. The same applies to the highly placed in society. Majority of the rich as well as very influential politicians holding key political positions in the society especially in this part of the world do not find it funny to give a wild dance at a public event, not even in a religious service.
Furthermore, many religious heads; great and renowned clergymen also find it difficult to give special rhythmic body movement during praise sessions at church services. Some general overseers of some of the popular religious denominations do not even bother to get on their knees while their subjects are busy displaying fabulous dance steps during worship hours.
However, the case of the fifth executive governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri, is different. Indeed, Senator Douye Diri is a dancing governor. Unlike many of his colleagues who shy away from dancing in their places of worship, probably as a result of ego, governor Diri derives no pleasure in raising self-pride when it comes to the business of dancing. In any of his outings, especially in the household of God, his musical dance steps always send a loud message to the audience and to the whole world. The governor cares less about those watching him but focuses on how to please his maker with his admirable, well calculated dance steps, often stooping very close to the floor, and waiving his handkerchiefs with both hands in a typical Ijaw way.
Some pundits would liken Diri’s penchant for lavish public dance, not minding his position as number one citizen of a state, to the expression of his deep recognition and appreciation of the finger of God upon his head. Some would say it’s an acknowledgement of his divine acceleration through the political ranks to become the fifth civilian governor in a most miraculous fashion in history. Yet, others are of the opinion that the Almighty God may have seen him through the avalanche of litigations that his government went through that took better part of his first one year in office as a result of his humility to Him which Diri exhibits in his measured dance steps.
Luckily for Diri, he has a deputy in the person of Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, who competently compliments his dancing culture. Whenever the both of the governor and his deputy happen to worship under one roof, they automatically become the toast of other worshippers in the glare of cameramen. With their accurate dance steps, the alluring smiles on their faces as they move their bodies with maximum release of energy, the audience have no choice than to join them in what would always climax in an atmosphere of explosive praise.
Sure, Diri and his deputy are a perfect example of the saying that dancers do not need wings to fly. Moreover, it is quite believable that Diri may not unaware of a lover of dance who once said “l dance because there is no greater feeling in the world than moving a piece of music and letting the rest of the world disappear.”
His dance style is reminiscent of King David of the Bible who did not consider his status as King of Israel but danced in public. Probably, that’s one of the reasons God named King David “a man after my own heart.” Who knows? Diri may have as well copied from King David’s dance steps and he seems to be happy about it.
So, do you want to experience dance at its boiling point? Do you want to see a governor and his deputy dance as if their existences depended on it? Do you intend to see the dancing King David of old in person? Then meet Diri in church.