Caribbean Student Association at Southern
Ellie Sherry — Reporter
A culture full of passion, pride and dance continues at Southern in the Caribbean Student Association.
The Caribbean consists of over 7,000 islands and each brings their own culture to the table. However, the Caribbean styles of dancing that are most commonly seen today, evolved from when Africans were brought to the islands through slave trade.
When they were brought over, with them came their culture and styles of dance. This combined with the dancing and culture of the indigenous people, created modern Caribbean dancing.
Southern’s Caribbean Student Association has several dance coordinators who create choreography for the group. Elementary education major Briana Patterson, a junior, is one of the dance coordinators for the women of CSA. She said she had no previous dance class or group experience before coming to be a part of the Caribbean Student Association.
“I am Hatian and Jamaican, said Patterson, “and my mom taught me how to wine [an African-Jamaican dance] at the age of eight, and I have been dancing for fun ever since,” Patterson said.
When the only dance coordinator at the time announced she would be traveling abroad, Patterson created choreography to show to her and became one of the current coordinators. When she makes choreography, she said she often just tries to listen and find the beat of the music while creating the dances in her bedroom.
Another one of the dance coordinators is chemistry major Russell Briscoe, a freshman. He was chosen to be dance coordinator by their adviser Shermaine Edmonds.
“Mrs. Shermaine texted my sister because she saw me dancing at SCOP, said Briscoe. “She wanted me to be a dance coordinator for Southern, it was really honestly shocking because I was just dancing and having fun at SCOP,” Briscoe said.
Edmonds has been working at Southern for the last 18 years. She said as the years have gone on, people now know who they are on campus and the group has expanded. She also said that the group runs more events than just the showcase, which used to be one of the only events the group used to run.
While there are multiple events CSA dances at, they also host their own events including “Rep your Flag.” According to the Vice President Kenya Dixon “Rep your Flag” is “for all people to bring their flags to rep where they come from, Caribbean or not.”
Not all students that are in the Caribbean Student Association are Caribbean themselves, like Dixon herself.
“I’m not even Caribbean myself, but I do love Caribbean culture anyway,” Dixon said.
One of the things that CSA strives to do is educate people about Caribbean culture, and like Dixon, potential members do not need to be Caribbean to be a part of the club. All students need is a willingness to learn and to appreciate the culture to be a member.