Community members shake to the beat of zydeco

Community members get in formation for zydeco line dancing

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Almost any native of Southwest Louisiana can explain what “zydeco,” is, but put simply, “that’s just a creole little thing,” says local dance instructor Printes Jackson.

Jackson teaches Second Line dancing at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center in Lake Charles.

Jackson’s love for zydeco started when he was younger.

“Growing up with my grandpa, that’s all he did,” Jackson said. “Zydeco, zydeco, zydeco.”

The rhythm of Southwest Louisiana is a blend of musical traditions that often feature the accordion, a sound that community members stomp their feet to.

You can learn to Zydeco dance for $1 at Ward 3 Rec.

Jackson invited former First Lady Michelle Obama in June 2013 to come and dance with the class.

“Zydeco is very beautiful,” Jackson said. “I want her to see the line dancing, the zydeco aerobics, the beautiful part of that you know.”

Michelle Obama couldn’t visit at the time, but Jackson kept the weekly classes going for all ages to enjoy.

“When you leave here, you’re sweating,” Eileen Newman said. “You’re paying for it the next day, okay."

Facility manager Stephanie Chretien said Jackson’s passion was to teach zydeco line dancing ever since he started working at the MLK Center.

“You have to give them that opportunity and I did,” Chretien said. “I’m very proud of him.”

Chretien did the two-step with 20 other people in the gymnasium who smiled and gave high-fives to each other after each song.

“It helps you to really rest good at night, that’s a good workout,” Chretien said. “They’ll have the lesson that they’ll learn to go out and do zydeco on their own."

Jackson said he plans on writing to Ellen DeGeneres to show her what zydeco line dancing is all about. Until she responds, Jackson said he’ll keep on dancing, working to make people happy.

“Make me go even harder,” Jackson said. “And I enjoy the music, I love it.”

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