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Reading is fun

Dance for me
by nate
Monday, May 10, 2004

"I saw them first!" - I wanted to shout it in the other smiling faces that saw young love personified in dance.

page: 3

My friend Wynn is an old school folk dancer. He performed for years touring the southeast with a group of dancers called the Green Grass Cloggers and developed a love for folk music festivals matched by few people. He breathed in every aspect of every festival he could attend, getting to know as many people and dancing with them as often as possible. Back in his salad days he even devised a portable clogging dance floor that accentuated the sound his syncopated steps made when he moved. Upon meeting Wynn and my other friends at the appointed place, I joked with his wife there on the fringe of the dusty parking lot that he is "Mr. Festival." She agreed as she poured me a generous gin and tonic in a tall, Styrofoam cup, and tossed over a small, bottled water for me to wash down my cocktail later when thoughts of hydration replaced those of inebriation.

Drinks in hand we laughed and chatted about the groups they'd heard and danced to the last two days as we made our way slowly back to the dancing tent. Wynn had danced until three or four the night before, he told me. Proof of his love of festival life was attested to by his eagerness to dance the night away again after only a few hours of sleep. He had his dancing shoes, old worn and thin soled, in one hand and a cold drink in the other as we headed towards the dancing tent. The next band set to play in the tent was Zydeco Experiment with Preston Frank. By the time we made it to my friends' folding chairs outside the tent, the band had begun a romp through the bayou and the dance floor was instantly packed right to the very edges of the plywood.

I stood for the first two songs just outside the edge of the tent, talking to new and old friends, occasionally looking into the whirling mass of bodies spinning and dancing on the floor, barely able to see the band through the throng and feeling a pull towards the dance floor if only to watch. When the third song started I excused myself to "go people watching", and stepped out of the bright sun and under the edge of the canopy facing across the dance floor from the band.

Unlike the more free form rock 'n roll dancing of the Snake Oil Medicine Show's dancers, the zydeco band's revelers moved in more traditional swing and western swing steps. I watched an older couple move gracefully albeit somewhat tentatively through the tightly packed dance floor. Their bodies anticipated well each other's movements as they took their small, almost mincing steps carefully around the dance floor. This couple's bodies were held closely together by arms lovingly clenched at the small of each back and also alternately high on the shoulders. Aside from the occasional peek forward, back, or from side to side to insure safe navigation of the dance floor, the two looked deeply into each other's eyes with orbs that glowed with the brilliance and constancy of a well stoked winter's fire come brilliantly to light in open spring air. This was a pair of soul mates cutting a rug and flying below most observers' radar. I wanted to track them down and tell them how much I admired the grace and familiarity with which they moved if only to see if they'd blush. And I wanted also to tell them that I aspired to project that type of love with my mate so that others might be so inspired. I stood looking at them wondering if they would allow me to photograph them afterwards to better preserve the memory. I was carefully practicing an impromptu introduction to the older couple when I saw the real reason I drove nearly an hour on a lazy spring Sunday to come to this festival.

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