Sunday, August 24, 2014

Bridesmaids' Line Dance At An African American Wedding Reception

Edited by Azizi Powell

SHOWCASE VIDEO: Johnson "Sirius" Wedding Reception

Lyarks, Uploaded on Aug 17, 2010

Produced by Lyarks Films International | | Johnson Wedding Reception featuring Championship introductions, choreographed dance numbers, and more...
The Bridesmaids dance occurs from 3:41-7:20 in this video.

I happened upon the Johnson "Sirius" Wedding Reception video while surfing YouTube for African American wedding ceremonies and recption dances. Although the focus of this post is the bridesmaids' group entrance and line dance [3:41-7:20], I also like the earlier segment where the groom's men one at a time are introduced to the reception guests as though they were athletes entering the playing field [the beginning of the video to 3:30]. A commenter explained the word "Sirius" in the title:
Juan two three, 2013
"google "alan parsons project sirius/eye in the sky" Also, the chicago bulls use this as their intro to starting lineup"
That Chicago Bulls basketball team used that Sirius song explains the way the groom's men were introduced to the wedding reception guests.

From the Wikipedia page: ""Eye in the Sky" is a 1982 song by the British rock band The Alan Parsons Project from the album Eye in the Sky. It hit #3 on the Billboard charts in the U.S. in October 1982,[1] #1 in Canada, and #6 in New Zealand and was their most successful release. The instrumental piece entitled "Sirius" segues into "Eye in the Sky"' on the original recording."

One other segment of this video that I like is the bride and groom's entrance and dance, and the group line dance of the entire bridal party [7:21 to thee end of the video.]

In a middle portion of the video a White man at this Black wedding is the only guest who is included in the video. He compliments the wedding and the reception and thanks the bride and groom for inviting him.

The bridesmaids danced into the reception area in a vertical line to the DJ chanting [I can't decipher what he chanted. It may have been a portion of a record. ]

One group of groom's men stood behind the bridesmaids and one group of groom's men stood in front of the line that the bridesmaids created.

Each bridesmaid was introduced to the wedding guests by the DJ who started chanting:

Ebony* Step up, Step up. [*The bridesmaid's first name]
Ebony* Step up, Step up.

[At these words that bridesmaid danced forward into the space created between the bridesmaid line and the line of groom's men that the bridesmaids faced.]

[The DJ then chanted]
Get it, girl.
Get it, girl.
Get it, girl.
Get it. girl.

[That bridesmaid then did a dance. The other bridesmaids kept moving to the beat. Some bridesmaids waved their hand and shouted encouragement to the woman dancing. The groom's men and some wedding guests joined the DJ chanting "Get it girl!" or otherwise exhorted the bridesmaid to danceee well. ]

The DJ then chanted]
Ebony* Step back, Step back.
Ebony* Step back, Step back.

[While facing forward, that bridesmaid then dances back to her spot pace in the bridesmaid's line.

The DJ then immediately repeats this pattern by calling the name of another bridesmaid. The women are called in random order. Sometimes the woman standing next to a bridesmaid was called next, but that wasn't always the case.

Eeach bridesmaid did a different dance or did the same dance in their own way. But, instead of dancing, one bridesmaid named "Queen" walked regally to the center, posed, and then struted back to her spot in the line.

It's important to note that each of the bridesmaids were supposed to have equal time for their individual time in the center. However, one bridsmaid named "Angel" continued to dance in the center even when the DJ chanted "Angel step back step back. Finally, the DJ said "Angel, please step back" and then he called another dancer to "step up", even before Angel was back in the bridesmaid line.]

[One time the DJ changed up the chant by saying
Hey, girl
Get it, girl
Hey, girl
Get it girl]

[And one time the DJ said:]
"Turn around
Step back, Step back
Turn around
Step back, step back

[At 6:45 in the video, when everyone had a individual turn, the chant changed a little bit
DJ- Ladies,
Bridesmaids & the DJ - Ladies
DJ- Ladies,
Bridesmaids & the DJ -Ladies
DJ - Get it up. Get it up
Get it up. Get it up

[During this portion of that line dance, any bridesmaid who chose to danced in the center and then step back. In this segment there were usually several bridesmaids in the center at the same time.

[During this segment the DJ also chanted]
Get it up.
Get it up.
Get it up.
Then slow down.
Get it up.
Get it up.
Get it up.

Say ooh! Say ooh!
She’s sexy. She’s sexy.
Yeah yeah.
Get up. Get up.
Get up.

[The DJ could have a chanted other similar exhortions or interjections here if he had wanted to.

[The dance continues until the DJ stops chanting.]
In this chant "Step up" means to "move forward" and "Step back" means to "step back into the line".

"Get up" and "Get it up" both probably mean to "dance well" (Raise [up] the energy).

This bridesmaids line dance (which I've titled "Get Up, Step Back") was performed in the space that was created between the vertical line of the bridesmaids and the vertical line of the groom's men. The men didn't join in this dance, but they certainly could have done so if the DJ had chosen to call them by name.

This formation with a middle space is similar to the formation that is now known as "the Soul Train line". Click for a pancocojams post about the Soul Train line.)

That middle space is also the same space that is created in many African American children's vertical lines or horizontal line games. Usually these line games were and are only played by girls. However, sometimes, as in the case of the line game "Here we go Zoodio" (also given as "Zudio" , "Zodiac" and similar spellings) males and females of all ages play this game. Click for a pancocojams post of the game "Here We Go Zoodio".

A performance space is also created in the middle of the ring in [usually] children's circle games. In those games, the peeerson in the middle is asked to "show me your motion". And, like that bridesmaid line dance, preferably each middle person does her (or his) "own thing" (i.e. a different dancee or a different motion, or does the same dance in her (or his) own way. Click for an example of the ring game "Pizza Pizza Daddy-o" that was performed by African American girls in 1967 in Los Angeles school yard. is another clip from that same Bess Lomax Hawes produced DVD which features short clips of those girls performing various circle or lines games.

This same pattern of individual members of the group having an equal turn to shine in the spotlight "center stage" is found in the consecutive soloists turns for [usually girls] foot stomping cheers. Click this page of my cocojams website for more information about foot stomping cheers and for examples of those cheeers:

It's significant that that same middle of a circle performance space is found in the dance that a member of the Georgia Sea Island Singers demonstrates while other members of that group sing the very old African American religious song "Throw Me Anywhere Lord". Click for a video of that song.

Related links:
for a video of another United States wedding party doing a line dance [Video #2 in that post.] That post also includes videeos of other African American line dances.

Also visit this link on another blog of mine that I rarely post to to find a post about wedding line dances from Southern Africa, where it is customary to have contemporary wedding reception line dances by the wedding bridesmaids, grooms, and sometimes also including the bride and groom:

Thanks to the bride and groom, all the members of their wedding party, and thanks also to the DJ of this featured video. Thanks to the producer of this video on YouTube.

Thank you for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed watching this Line Dance at African American wedding reception party. It was fun watching this. You guys gave awesome performances. I feel you would have practiced hard for this dance.