Aside from being an installment of “Monday Morning Madness,” I need this video as background for at least two coming posts, especially for readers unfamiliar with Trinidadian or Indo-Caribbean cultures, with their dances, and some of the terminology that is used. This post follows the previous (Video) Notes from the Indian Diaspora.
This video, featuring Rikki Jai, begins with an Indian wedding. The idea of teaching a bride how to “wine,” shown in this video, comes up later. So what is “wining”? It is not connected with dining, nor is it a misspelling of “whining.” It is a way of gyrating the hips, and more than that, the bottom, or what some Trinidadians call a “boomsie.” The really good winer is the one who can virtually unhinge her boomsie — showing that the boomsie is working it up, as if all on its own, can be emphasized by dancing with a bottle on one’s head. The bottle stays in place, the boomsie does not. Wining of the kind you see here is dancing reserved for women only. Women who do this professionally and regularly appear in commercial venues may be known as “winer girls.”
Some will claim, in the cultural politics of inter-group competition, that wining originates with East Indians. That may or may not have some truth, but let’s put it this way: if they are not monopolists the video shows they can be specialists. There is also a very thin girl in a mid riff and bright green shorts in the video — that is an example of a “tiny winy,” that will come up again. Many chutney soca performances are accompanied by expert “winer girls,” and in a cultural milieu where women’s bottoms are highly valued, their motions count.
There are different wining motions, and even speeds, but one of the classic motions involves doing a ∞ (sideways figure eight) motion with one’s bottom, as if washing windows. I will leave viewers to detect other motions in the video. And one more hint, “show me your motion” will be the centrepiece of another coming post.
Finally, note that this example of chutney soca is sung in both English and Hindi, which shows, to some extent, the success of the revitalization of Indian culture. Even those of us on the outside get to learn some Hindi thanks to these musical productions, the way I recently learned from youtubing my way through Bollywood that “bindiya chamke” means “glittering dot,” as one example.