Gloria Kincaid is Philadelphia royalty. The 67-year-old North Philadelphia native is the undisputed queen of Philly Soul Line Dancing.

Never heard of soul line dancing? Soul line dancing is a unique form of exercise that combines dancing and culture that traces right back to our African roots. It’s more popular than ever these days, especially among African Americans.

A cultural preservationist, Kincaid skillfully teaches dances like the electric slide, the wobble, and the cupid shuffle to participants from ages 8 to 80 throughout the nation. She also spices up her classes with karaoke to add up to even more fun and fitness. (Singing means you’re using more oxygen and increasing your aerobic capacity).

For more than 20 years, Kincaid has taught throughout the city at various locations, including the Overbrook Environmental Education Center, Community College of Philadelphia, Sayre Morris Recreation Center and Main Line School Night.

She has received numerous awards, and most recently she was awarded the Leeway Transformation Award for cultural producers who promote social change.

Last week, I got this high-energy lady to take a short break to chat with me to get the low-down on her philosophy on fitness, health, and soul line dancing.

Gloria Kincaid
Courtesy Gloria Kincaid
Gloria Kincaid
Wow, you’ve been teaching soul line dancing for more than 20 years. What is it that you find most fulfilling about your work?

Teaching. Knowing that I have reached someone and they get the dance, and especially with someone who thought they couldn’t do it. I’m on cloud 9 when I know someone has learned from me, and I hear: “I got it!”.

That’s cool. Are you also a choreographer?

No, my passion is teaching, not choreography.

How do you define soul line dancing?

It’s mainly about how you feel about the songs or the dances. In other words, how it touches the soul. Soul line dancing can be any music from the African Diaspora: R&B, Gospel, Jazz, Reggae, Cha Cha, Hip Hop, Zydeco, Go Go, Philly Sound, Motown, Chicago Stepping, and African.

What are the fitness and health benefits of soul line dancing?

There are many fitness and health benefits to soul line dancing. Soul line dancing can help you slim down. It reduces stress [and] can help maintain flexibility. It can improve your memory leaning dance steps. Not to mention the social benefits and so much more.

I see that your company is called D.A.S.H.E.R.S. Entertainment. What does the acronym D.A.S.H.E.R.S. mean?

D.A.S.H.E.R.S. stands for “Dancing and Singing Helps Everyone Relieve Stress!”

Yes, indeed, dancing and singing does relieve stress, and science backs you up on that, too! According to many scientific studies, at least anecdotally, it appears that music, dancing and singing has enormous health benefits. So, I guess that means everybody should be dancing and singing like nobody is watching, huh?

Yes! Also, many of my students find they shed a few pounds, improve their blood pressure, and have better management of diabetes, too.

Well, it sounds to me like soul line dancing combined with karaoke is a slam dunk. How many people lives do you think you have touched with your unique style of soul line dancing and karaoke?

I’ve been teaching over 20 years, taught thousands of students, and I just love to feel like I’m helping people. I truly believe in the Zimbabwean Proverb: “If you can walk, you can dance; if you can talk, you can sing.”