Photo Credit: Regine Belinger
How Vlogger Regine Bellinger Connects The African Diaspora Through Dance
Regine Bellinger, 30, is a digital nomad who teaches performing arts online and has a passion for the African diaspora. Originally from Brooklyn, New York, she travels to various countries to study local and regional dances, and now she wants to connect the African diaspora through dance.
To do this, Bellinger created a project Called Régine Bridges the Gap.
“I started one year ago living abroad, being a digital nomad full time. Régine Bridges the Gap is a travel vlog that bridges the gap between the continent of Africa and the African Diaspora through dance, food and culture, along with daily life vlogs in local areas. I am familiar with the African Diaspora, that is my main work. I haven’t reached the continent of Africa just yet, but I will in 2022.” she told Travel Noire.
The project started this year when she did a national tour featuring dance styles from Miami and New Orleans. After that, she visited Cartagena, Salvador and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
“In Cartagena, Colombia, I studied the popular Afro based dance style, Champeta. Champeta is a fusion of Congolese music and Colombian artistry. I was able to meet with local artists in Cartagena to teach me Champeta moves. Cartagena was one of the most energetic cities I’ve visited so far. Everywhere you turned, it was Champeta playing on the radio and people jamming,” Bellinger said.
She said that her trip to Salvador, Bahia, was also remarkable, spiritual and welcoming, despite the city being on heavy lockdown while she was there.
“I was still able to witness the culture and art. In Salvador, I was able to train in Orixas Dance which is the dance of the Orishas in the spiritual practice, Candomblé. I learned the movements of the warriors Obá, Xango, Oxossi and Omolu. It was super spiritual, and it not only allowed me to learn about the Orixas but also about myself.”
Rio de Janeiro, the most visited city in Brazil by international travelers, also impacted Bellinger positively.
“Rio is the root of all my international experience. I always say Rio de Janeiro trained me to be ready to venture and study dance internationally. I became a Passista of a Samba School in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and paraded in the infamous carnival twice. Outside of Samba, I grew a love for the dance style, Passinho. Passinho is a high- energy dance style straight out of the low-income communities of Rio de Janeiro. I would attend some trainings in the community with friends and just watch in amazement of all the dancers and talent that come out of the communities of Rio de Janeiro.”
The experiences in these cities helped her realize that she was able to do anything and learn anything.
“I never thought that I would see myself travelling and learning these local dance styles. These were styles I thought I could only experience on YouTube. But being able to travel to these areas and speak with people inspired me and molded me into who I am today. I also saw how we were more connected than different.”
In the places visited, she could relate to local artists and their styles and dances.
“I can relate because there is a style they do that is also similar. It’s a true bonding moment, and it means a lot to me to connect those dots. I bring a piece of that back home with me and apply it to my everyday life with the people in my own community.”
The vlogger revealed that she is planning to have a streaming series of her travels and dance.
“I want to show a wider audience my perspective of learning these cultures and how the African based dance styles in the Americas and the continent of Africa are similar. I want to showcase how we kept a part of Africa in our daily culture. I plan to travel throughout the continent of Africa and experience the African diaspora outside the Americas as well. There is so much for me to learn. I cannot wait to learn more styles, especially styles that move and inspire my mind, body and soul. Dance is not only something I do. It’s a lifestyle, and it’s my international lifestyle,” she concluded.
You can follow Regine Bellinger on Instagram.