Sunday, March 10, 2002

Andrew & I went to check out the new mall today.




Truthfully, I'm most excited about the layout. It's amazing.

The part known as Main St is outside, and it feels/looks like you're waliking down....well, a Main Street in Somewhereville. Nifty, colorful statues of people are scattered about, and there are several beautiful fountains. One of the funniest things that I saw today was a stone-faced policeman standing next to 3 knee-high duck statues with raincoats on. I wanted a camera so bad right then.

Inside the mall, there is a great variety of stores, but, again, it's the layout and design that facinated me. The mall is roughly X-shaped, but the legs aren't symetrical like malls that I'm used to. And, the store fronts are each unique, and they have chimneys!! Again, a nice Main Street feel.

For me, the whole experience was *made* by the entertainment in the middle of the mall at the junction of the legs of the X. As we came in the doors of the mall, there was an African-American dance group performing. I was mesmerized and fascinated watching the dancing and hearing the rhythmic drums. (The similariites to belly dancing was astounding.) There were 4 women dancers & 1 man dancer plus two drummers and 1 man who seemed to be the emcee, if you will. The costumes were typical, colorful African attire. After dancing a few numbers, the emcee invited folks outta the audience to join them on stage. He did a great job of picking a variety of folks (old white man, short Asian lady, black child, etc.). The audience folks stood behind the dancers and were to mimic their movements. It was the most beautiful thing that I've seen in a long time. I cried. I truly had tears in my eyes standing their watching those folks shake their stuff.

Unfortunately, Andrew & I were STARVING so we couldn't stand there forever so we moved on.......

Later, while passing by again, a group of tap dancers were tapping their thang when I spotted the emcee standing at the back of the audience. I told Andrew to hang on and approached him. When he turned, I told him how much I had enjoyed his troupe's dancing and that it had made me cry cuz it was the most beautiful thing to see folks of all colors and sizes dancing together with such joy. He hugged me! Then, I asked about his group, and he said they were from Durham and were known as The African-American Dance Essemble. I stammered, searching for the name of the Durham group that I'd been wanting to see for years. I looked right in the emcee's eyes and said that I thought the man's name was Chuck who also had an African-American dance group. His reply was simple.

"That's me," he said.

Andrew approached, and Chuck hugged him too. As we said our goodbyes, I noticed that Chuck now had tears in his eyes too.

I later explained to Andrew that the reason that the dancing made me cry was because all those people dancing together was how I wished that the world would be. Why can't we just get along? It's beautiful.

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