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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: 5

Each turn showed the sheer glee on both young dancers' faces. The joy of dancing together with other dancers was accompanied by a noticeable lack of self-consciousness. The occasional miss-step while trying to incorporate a new move was met with a laugh and the immediate repeat of the move executed to near perfection. In fact, during brief periods where the band's foot stomping pace slowed, both the girl and boy looked appraisingly at the other dancers, smiling all the while, even pointing out a few of the more interesting steps nearby and instantly incorporating them into their own movements. I wondered what sense of competitiveness these two whirling, youthful spirits might harbor inside themselves. Then I thought, perhaps as fantasy or romantic longing for the ideal they represented, that they would compete along the lines of old world Olympic aspirations whereby a worthy competitor lifted one's own performance through the mutual pursuit of excellence with the others competing.

It occurred to me that they probably loved one another, too. The feigned looks of surprise they exchanged upon executing a successful spin perfectly and the knowing, flirtatious glances freely given back and forth when they brushed together gave the two away as lovers. They talked through smiles as their movements carried them farther and farther into the crowded floor. A wink from him, a seductive toss of her head; theirs was a language we all recognize. Throughout each dance a conversation crossed their lips for them alone to hear, but the conversation their bodies held was deliciously public. When they came together to embrace as a necessity of their routine, anyone could tell that the pure and locked gaze into each other's eyes was the steamy, even sultry look of lovers.

I wasn't the only one watching in awe. I saw a dozen other people admiring the young couple as they improvised on what had to be a small lifetime of training in accepted swing dance techniques. I scanned the entire crowd in an attempt at discerning how many other lucky people had found the pleasure of motion whirling before me. Even though some others saw the pair and we nodded and pointed out the couple to others, I decided they were my couple.

"I saw them first!" - I wanted to shout it in the other smiling faces that saw young love personified in dance. Even though I had no basis for such a claim, I was willing to scream it until I was hoarse. There dancing imbued me with such a sense of vicarious vitality that I hungered for some glamour by association despite never having seen these two before in my life.

I watched the other dancers on the floor fail in any attempts to equal the skill at dancing and at portraying a depth of expression the beautiful couple had just exhibited while all others still succeeded in celebrating their own joy of movement, in their own way. The beauty of public dancing, or festival dancing at least, is that it's about the joy—no more, no less.

I saw a man in purple velour shorts and a tank top dancing like no one was watching. He moved with the serious sexual power of a male stripper, and though it was suggestive to watch, no one seemed to feel accosted or offended by him as he danced around in a tight little circle. I witnessed a couple grinding so closely that it made me blush. Their movements together left nothing to the imagination. Another pair of older dancers glided in slow motion as if they were ghosts there one last time to join the living's awkward, spastic dancing and to pronounce a distinct love of being alive through dance. Two middle aged and dowdy looking women did a modified Texas two-step that looked as in place on the floor as the Mona Lisa's smile does under glass at the Louvre. A crowd of dread lock wearing teens pogo danced and mocked the swim in reggae beat while padding around on crusty brown feet, trailing tie-died streamers of ribbon cut t-shirts. Every dancer owned a small space where their world bumped and jostled the perfect worlds of every other dancer. Individuality was the rule on a stage and dance floor where no real rules applied.

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