Folk Dance/Test

Zachary: Well, in our family we have a ‘folk dance move’ I guess you could say. It’s a dance that our dad and his brothers made up or adopted or something. It’s kind of a goofy move where you kick you feet outwards, alternating from right to left, to the rhythm of the music you are listening to. I don’t really know how else to describe it…Anyway, everyone in our family can do the dance and… interestingly enough most ‘non-Seelys’ can’t do the move. So now, we have this tradition, whenever our family is together, at a wedding or what not, and a cousin has a new significant other, we see if they can do the Seely dance. We’ll give them a little tutorial but we kind of try to let them figure it out. So because none of our generation of Seelys are married yet we’ve developed the belief that when one of our girlfriends or boyfriends can do the Seely dance, preferably with enthusiasm, they ‘belong’ in the family.

This tradition incorporates a few different folklore elements, the dance, the test (or right of passage), and finally belief that an outsider’s ability perform the dance qualifies he/she to be apart of the family, thus implying marriage (yet another folklore practice)! The dance importantly signifies familial identity, suggesting a sense of belonging through innate ability to perform the dance. Additionally it exposes our family’s anticipation and value of marriage. The test imposed on non family members represents the desire to ensure new members’ belong in the family.