Sunday, January 11, 2009

The dancing Dot

I was enjoying some coffee and dry toast at Saint's Diner in Codman Square this morning when I was approached by a fellow customer. "Hey, Mr. Writer," he said, "You know not all of Dorchester is Irish." I looked around at the obvious and replied that I'm not of Irish descent either. "Then why do you always use the Irish when depicting the spirit of Dorchester?" He was referring to yesterday's report on the Dotusi, a dance that marries Irish step dancing with 60's era, camp, go-go moves. It was one of those moments that showed the power of the internet at work.

I explained that I can only relate things as I find them and that I have often commented on Dorchester's Vietnamese element and the African-American culture around Codman and Morton Street. I have reported on the Polish enclave near Andrew, and the Cape Verdean community around Uphams Corner, and the polyglot international students that live around UMASS Boston. I suggested that if there were really to be a dance to represent the spirit of Dorchester, indeed, more parties would have to be involved in its choreography. Did this gentleman know anyone with the expertise?

"I have a cousin who danced in a few Snoop Dogg videos. She's got some Dorchester moves that make Riverdance look like a cake walk. She didn't like your description of the Dotusi either."

I suggested she get in touch with the dancers in Neponset for some collaboration. The gentleman agreed to put this suggestion to his talented cousin. We will see what comes of the cross-pollination. Anyone else willing to lend their sense of rhythm to this project is encouraged to do so but, as with most things, we don't believe a committee is the best means to achieve artistic expression.

Dorchester is a multi-faceted jewel of a place full of folk carrying DNA from around the globe. No one strand dominates the others. Dorchester is, in fact, a sprawling jelly of a place that jiggles and sparkles according to the jostling of its many constiuent ingredients. There won't be one Dorchester dance in the end, but many, as befits a place made up of so many feet, each moving to their own beat.

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