Thursday, December 06, 2007

Because this woman is a dancer

I arrived at Saturday night's show like I always do: dressed to kill and severely winded. This lovely combination comes from my desire to exploit a rare opportunity to wear my fabulous new whatever, mixed with my perpetual inability to find nearby parking, further mixed with a resulting need to sprint from my car to the theater in very impractical shoes. They're usually shutting the doors as I arrive, and I'm forced to stumble to my seat in the gloaming of the setting house lights.

This time as I rushed into the theater, I wasn't met with the disapproving scowls of an usher, but with the sounds of a live soukous band. Next to the band was a bar and a make shift restaurant, and stage right was littered with tables of patrons munching on some sort of delicious smelling African food. As people milled about the stage, the show began.

I'm not going to begin to describe the actual performance, because that just doesn't make for interesting reading (though I will say that it was very well done, and moving, and thought provoking, and frustrating, and incomprehensible at times, and a very palatable treatment of heavy subject matter). So let's skip straight to intermission, shall we?

Intermission began abruptly, with a well-timed observation from choreographer/dancer Faustin that the bar was not seeing nearly enough activity. Obediently, we formed a line and ordered our beers and 2nd helpings of dinner. As the band started up again, the drink line turned into a dance party that slowly took over the entire stage.

My impractical shoes forced me to leave the dance floor early, and I spent the second half of intermission watching the disco from the bleachers. As I sat and watched all those people gettin' their groove on, I was impressed, delighted, proud. I was impressed with the sheer number of audience members on the floor; delighted at those who lacked any sort of rhythm but couldn't be bothered to care; proud to be part of this crowd that appreciates the joy and freedom of movement regardless of any noticeable talent. I'm not gonna lie to you, I can get a little emotional - a little philosophical - about the whole thing, and while I surveyed the scene playing out before me I thought: This is dance.

Because I'm a dork. Just like when I was in high school, and found this advertisement on the back cover of Dance Magazine:
Why? Why does this women push? Push herself to her last ounce of stamina. Push, day after day.

Why does she train? She captures strength and passion. Yet with one small gesture... the tilt of her head, she becomes a portrait of effortless grace.

All this dedication. All her determination. Why does this woman push?

Because this woman is a dancer, and a dancer is all she ever wanted to be.
It featured a photo of a woman at a ballet barre, sweaty, exhausted, and still working her ass of, engaged in an exercise that made it clear just how flexible she really was. It was something like a "Just do it" ad for the dance world, and I walked around with it proudly displayed through the clear cover of my binder. Because I was cool like that.

I also owned a t-shirt that said "It's a dance thing..." on the front, and "...you wouldn't understand" on the back. I bought it a drill camp, along with 30 of my school mates. Because there was an entire dance team of us that was cool like that.

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