Group attempts ring shout dance record

July 26, 2011 at 4:30 AM

WASHINGTON, July 26 (UPI) -- Organizers of a Washington ring shout dance, a ritual passed down from descendants of slaves, say at least 400 people participated in the world record attempt.

The organizers of the dance, a tradition of the Gullah-Geechee, descendants of slaves brought to North and South Carolina, Georgia and Florida from West Africa, said they filmed the Saturday event at the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum to send to Guinness World Records for consideration as the world's largest ring shout, McClatchy Newspapers reported Monday.

The dance involves moving in a counter-clockwise circle with participants shaking, clapping and swaying their arms.

"The real significance of the ring shout was as a purely religious experience. No one shouted for anybody to see them. You just were praising God," said Griffin Lotson, the manager of the Geechee Gullah Ring Shouters from Darien, Ga.

Members of Lotson's group, which led the dance Saturday, said the culture was largely neglected following the U.S. Civil War but has been experiencing a revival that began in the 1990s.

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