St. Lucia’s ‘Sidong Pon It’ Dance Craze By Jimmy Im
“When in Rome” doesn’t always apply to the Caribbean, especially when it comes to nightlife. Islanders, often territorial, like to separate from ex-pats and tourists – understandable on a variety of sunburned, economic-colonialist levels. You saw Lost. “This is our island,” said the Others. Were Jack, Kate, Hurley, and Sawyer ever invited to their camp for an all-night rager? I think not. When I arrived Saturday night on the island of St. Lucia, I met a German implant, Alan, who wanted to take my friends and me to Kokomo (in Soufrière, St. Lucia), the local dance club. He explained there would be no tourists, which sort of alluded to the fact that my friends and he would be the only “white people.” We were hesitant, knowing this could either go great or incredibly wrong, but Alan said, “You have to see sidong pon it for yourself,” did a little Urkel dance, and we were off.
Kokomo is a small dance hall just a ten minute drive from Jalousie Plantation on the south side of the island. The island is split by North and South, and South is the least touristy (and much more beautiful) of the two, with only five resorts and a whole lot of locals. As we parked and walked up to the club on an unlit street, there were local St. Lucians lingering near the door. Alan urged us inside, a dark hot box with loud reggaeton and dancehall and only African-Caribbean clubbers. We walked to the back to the bar, eyes heavy on us, into a den of more sloppy construction and no decor save the flashing laser-beam neon lights and a pool table that served as a bench.
We didn’t feel unwelcome, but no one exactly talked to us at first. But then, one by one, locals came up to Alan to slap him five, greet him, and meet us. Everyone in the club seemed to know him and—more importantly—like him. Local Piton beers and tequila shots were poured and denizens made space for us on the dance floor as the night went from a slow beat to Rihanna and Shaggy.
When I noticed Alan missing from the group, I turned to see him sidling up behind a heavy girl and start grinding against her. Okay. Then I noticed that Alan wasn’t the only one doing this. I scanned the dance floor to see half the crowd grinding. I think Aaron saw us and gave us a thumb’s up. I can’t be sure – it was dark. But I knew I was being introduced to siding pon it.
It went on all night. One person simply backs up into another and starts getting their bump-and-grind on. There are variations of sidong pon it, too, and inventing them is apparently a pastime here on the island. There was hand-on-boob sidong pon it, up against the wall sidong pon it (very popular), back-arched sidong pon it, three-way sidong pon it, boring-just-stand-there sidong pon it, girl-on-girl sidong pon it, one-leg-up sidong pon it – even head-on-floor sidong pon it. It’s not even a “heat of the moment” kind of thing, as you can politely decline someone’s request to sidong pon it. The dance hails from Jamaica and spread to the other islands like wildfire, and each island has its own variation. St. Lucia? More Dirty Dancing than High School Musical.
Before I knew it, a local woman who noticed my piqued curiosity backed up and thrust her butt into my crotch area to give me a sample. Well, let’s just say I gathered an audience. I have to admit, it was fun, a little liberating, and definitely called for a drink afterward. However, I’m not sure the dance would go over well at some of my favorite joints in New York. I guess it’s just another incentive to visit St. Lucia again.
user submitted from blackbookmag By Jimmy Im