We too, if we follow our Leader in perfect unison, can experience true joy in the daily living and dance of the gospel!
Every fall, I have the chance to participate in the technical side of a Polynesian dance production at BYU called “Luau”.
One of my favorite dances in the show is called the Sasa, performed by the Samoan section. The Sasa is a community dance. The performers sit cross-legged in rows, and in exact unison, they portray daily movements such as cooking, washing, or rowing a boat. In recent years, groups have often chosen to incorporate more modern movements into the dance, such as the “dab”, the “bernie”, or in the case of our show, the prowl of a BYU Cougar!
The Sasa is led by a fa’aluma, (meaning “clown” or “jester”) who runs around freely on the floor between the rows of dancers, performing exaggerated movements, shouting calls, and keeping the group in time. The dancers on the floor follow the fa’aluma with perfect obedience, repeating his moves, following his tempo, and always maintaining those big, bright smiles on their faces!
A few weeks ago during rehearsal, I was delighted as I watched the charismatic fa’aluma running around our makeshift stage, clapping in syncopation and strutting comical dance moves to the rhythm of the beat.
As I watched this dancer-leader running between the rows and columns of his team, it occurred to me that perhaps this performance could relate to the dance of life that all of us perform.
Just as the dancers sat in orderly rows and portrayed ordinary actions, we too are organized into units—families and extended families, wards and stakes—and we each must perform the daily actions of life: maintaining a home, raising children, and serving our community. In this latter-day era, we also have to learn the modern dance moves associated with keeping ourselves safe from inappropriate media and distancing ourselves from time-draining distractions.
But we are also guided by a Leader, who moves often and widely around the group of dancers. His attitude is one of joy, and He encourages us by clapping to keep us in time, sending calls and inspiration through his Holy Spirit, and modeling perfectly the dance moves we must imitate.
We too, if we follow our Leader in perfect unison, can experience true joy in the daily living and dance of the gospel—evidenced with those big, bright smiles on our faces!
It is my testimony that as we obey our blessed parents, the officers of the Church, and our Heavenly Father, modeling the dance of our Leader, Jesus Christ, our lives will be long upon this earth!
- Traditional Performance in Samoan Culture: Two Forms, Victoria N. Kneubuhl (Asian Theatre Journal, Vol. 4, No. 2 (Autumn, 1987), pp. 166-176)
- A Grammar and Dictionary of the Samoan Language: With English and Samoan Vocabulary, George Pratt (London Missionary Society, 1893)