So I just realized today that I’ve been posting semi-regularly since the end of January. Its kind of exciting! But I’m also kind of monotonous and overly full of rantings. So I thought it was about time for another guest author.
This is an essay that Jeremy wrote for dance class a few years ago, that he chose to share himself and I have always loved. I wanted to feature it here because it tells such a beautiful story about why he chooses to dance. And I suspect he may speak for more than just me as well.
I notice her as I walk along the rows of watchers that adorn the walls. She is studying the passing dancers with a practiced eye. Tall, elegant. I can tell simply by her poise that she is a dancer.
Smoothly, I walk up to her, reach out a hand, and ask,
“Would you like to dance?”
She says nothing, only smiles as she takes my hand. I lead her out to the floor, skimming to the inner lane past the gracefully rotating couples, before we begin with a cross.
From the first, I notice that she is as graceful as she appears. As I spin to the wall, she is as light as air, but still firm in the frame. As she spins, her skirt flares in time to the beat, and soon, we are lost in the music – a piece by Enya, one of my favorite songs.
The pivots flow into the natural step, preserving the enchantment that surrounds the dance. I take a moment to admire how she turns – each step measured and exact, but still graceful and poetic. Shadow position comes at a thought. Complex series of spins flow together naturally, as if we had practiced for hours. We are as water in a brook, babbling over the obstacles in the crowded riverbed, negotiating the path inexorably, but still gently. We flow down and away, and for the moment, we are one.
As the last chords fade, the last spin turns into a dip, low to the ground. She looks up at me as we stand, eyes smiling.
“Thank you for the dance,” I say, bowing slightly.
She curtsies, and steps away, never to be seen again.
This is not based on any specific memory of mine, though I am sure something of the like has happened to me at some point in my dancing life. Rather, this is a template for all of those mysterious dancers that we have danced with, connected with, and let fade away from our lives.
What we do is strange. We form a type of connection with a stranger that most of us never share with our loved ones, and yet we constantly allow these connections to fade as the song ends. The type of connection between partners in a freestyle setting just isn’t replicated anywhere else in the world.
There is something inherently mysterious about that connection – the connection that lets us do moves and sequences that we have never before performed with absolute confidence in our partners, and in ourselves. That perfection of connection rises and rises, and yet still somehow disappears when the song is done.
We have the potential. We can share something together that few people can claim – absolute empathy with another human being. We can be more than just ourselves – for just that one, brief, tick of the clock. I dance to find this. I dance for those ephemeral moments of cross-step – and for that perfect connection.