Here pulls a pulse, without and within you
harder than words and
softer than shadow in a warm, sun-day meadow.
She stands, clothed in a smile
poised to unfurl like the newly made fern
Which springs with the speed
that a smile reaches heart
or jump-jewelweed’s gift to the world.
Soft as the touch of a warm summer night
Yet strong like the grip of cub’s mother jaws.
there is no north, south, east, neither west.
Nor have we up or down, day, night,. month or year.
There is a moment, stretched out in steps,
Pauses and pulses and gaps between notes.
Forwards and sidewards and on to tiptoes
Half seconds of gossamer iron
with thistledown drifting
And suddenly but
she is quickly
she is pause
Then she is
The sum of everything
the universe around her
the music within her
She is, in this moment
All that does matter
circle, half circle,
sideward and forward
spinning and speaking
words without meaning
feel without feelings
All that does matter
Is she is and I am
Lost in a movement.
Above lies an attempt to understand the way dancing makes me feel; or the way that dancing is experienced by me.
Everything stays, but lingers on the outside, like the encouraging circle of a birthday jam. So I may have a bill to pay, a friend to worry about, toxicity from elsewhere. These don’t vanish, but they step back, like a minor role in a play, lines spoken, lingering in the background, quietly susurrating, a part still to play in the seasoning of the drama.
Remains an understanding that, the circle serves to sweeten the dance in the middle.
Remains the knowledge that sweet would not be sweet if sour did not exist.
Remains the realisation that the moment of joy relies on normality to serve as a marker.
It’s taken me a long time to find my still point, this silly, funny, infuriatingly difficult dance that is lindy hop. I am glad that I found it, found the warm and smiling circles, throughout the country, that happily part ranks and embrace me, wherever or whenever I wander into a club or a dance hall. We need no words, just the sprung steel anticipatory connection. The journey changes with each and every dance, even if the song was the same one played on repeat.
How do I dance? Sometimes I mess it up, sometimes the pulse eludes me, sometimes it’s nerves when I dance with someone who I’m a bit in awe of. But it’s all worth it, and the dance muscle strengthens with each dance, each missed step, each acknowledged ‘reset’.
Now, I’ll not worry too much about what I’m going to do, it usually seems to happen. Every now and then my brain will go, “ooh! remember you know how to do ‘kick the dog’!”
And I’ll do that move, whilst accepting that another move will shuffle off the rolodex of my dance memory, for a short time.
What has it taught me? Well, it’s helped me to realise that, despite being introverted by nature, I can still jump around a public place and make mistakes; that I can blend into the background when I want; that I can forget, forget, forget, just for the phrase, the 32 beats of musical perfection. I can make new friends, wherever I go, regardless of age, sex, class, race, colour or creed. It levels me.
And the people, the amazing people. Thank you, each and every one of you, including the ones I’ve not met yet.