Robert Greene II is an assistant professor of history at Claflin University, and blogger and book reviews editor for the Society of U.S. Intellectual Historians. He has written for Scalawag, Jacobin, the Nation, Dissent, and In These Times, among other publications. He lives in Columbia, South Carolina.
A Points South essay from the South Carolina Music Issue.
Men and women—sometimes pairing off, sometimes dancing alone—cluster in the center of the club, lightly prancing just off their heels. In unison, the dancers then form a circle, shifting to the side counterclockwise from time to time, giving each other just enough space to continue moving their feet and legs. At times, they wind their bodies in place, moving unpredictably like twisting leaves in the wind. Whether they know it or not, for a moment or two, the dancers are linked back to their ancestors in coastal South Carolina in the previous century and, further back, in West Africa, also dancing—for tradition, for religious beliefs, for sheer joy.