While dancing in the rain may seem like a good idea in movies and books, we all know that a little water in your boots can ruin a perfectly good evening. However, we also know that nothing can stop Whidbey Islanders from having a good time, and a little rain certainly won’t stop a Bayview Street Dance from happening in full swing.
The crowd began to gather a little before 6 p.m. and the show started in a relaxed fashion about ten minutes later. Sarungano, a four-woman vocal ensemble from Whidbey Island, began the show accompanied by special guest Dr. Sheasby Matiure all the way from Zimbabwe.
Sarungano means “story-teller” in the Zimbabwean Shona language, and the band does nothing if not live up to their name. Hauntingly beautiful harmonies floated, uninhibited, into the open space in the Bayview Cash Store, where people swayed or leaned against the walls with their eyes closed as they took in the music in their own way.
The first dancers of the night arrived on the scene shortly after Sarungano began. Two blonde sisters with colorful dresses to twirl in—laughing and dancing hand-in-hand on the otherwise empty dance floor as the crowd looked on. Their perpetual giggling was contagious and many people smiled as they watched the older girl twirl her sister carelessly in her outstretched arms.
As the music transitioned from the gentle melodies of Sarungano to the lively beats of the Seattle-based marimba band Ruzivo, more people began to join the girls on the dance floor, making the floor shake along to the music. Soon, the floor in front of the marimbas was packed with smiling and dancing people. The two blonde girls continued to dance in the middle, oblivious to the fact that they were the pioneers of that night’s dancing movement.
Upon returning to the fringe of the room after dancing a while with his girls, their father informed me that this was their second year of coming to the Bayview for the street dances, a community event that the girls greatly look forward to.
This is the exact sense of community that Goosefoot Director of Programs Marian Myszkowski envisions as she talks about the dances.
“We like to think of this as a true community event,” said Marian—“where friends and families come to hang out together and have fun, where new friends are made and old friendships rekindled.”
And a true community event it certainly is—children dancing with their parents, couples leaning against the wall and talking, friends meeting up to share a beer or two on the balcony overlooking the dancers, families meeting for dinner in Tres Gringos or Basil Café where the music can still be heard….and while food and drink is easily accessible, all are welcome and encouraged to come, just to dance, as well.
Marian pointed out the importance of this part of the dances, as well. “It’s important to us that our events remain not only free, but also non-commercial,” she said with a smile. “You won’t find food or merchandise booths; folks are welcome to eat and drink at the Cash Store merchants or bring their own picnic dinner to enjoy on the grounds.”
Whether it be indoors in the warm and lovely Cash Store or outside beneath the evening island sky, the Bayview street dances are a fun and lively expression of the Whidbey Island community in its entirety.
Make sure to mark your calendar for these upcoming street dance artists and come join the fun. I hope to see you there!
- July 30—PeTE
- August 13—Deja Blooze
- August 27—Western Heroes
(All photos by David Welton)
Audrey Neubauer is a soon-to-be senior in high school who has decided to try her hand at journalism this summer.
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