The Fitting Dance

I've been reading The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything. And it is opening something in me. Last night I read about a drummer who was thought to be non-musical by his teachers. A mathematician who was deemed unpromising in math. And others who couldn't quite find their niche through the framework and direction of guides. I haven't read about any dancers who were thought to be non-dancing material.

But I think that person might be me.

The author was talking about how dancers use "muscle memory," and I thought about how I cannot copy someone else's choreography, nor even remember my own. It's like my brain is absolutely stumped. If stupid has a feeling, I've experienced it deeply when it comes to trying to memorize moves and reproduce them in some kind of predetermined sequence. My muscles, if they have memory, can't seem to remember in a conventional way.

Yet I have feelings deep inside that respond instinctively to music, that understand how to give shape to sound.

This morning I was going to exercise, and instead got caught up listening to some newly discovered music by Vassilis Tsabropoulos. Before I knew it, I'd closed the shades and begun dancing in front of the mirror. My hands became birds, then a kind of tailor pulling thread from wrists, knees, and my open mouth. It made me feel like both laughing and crying at once. I felt I could do this forever.

But I would never remember how to do it again. Not just this way. It would always be new.

Is there such a thing as an improv dancer? If so, maybe I am one. I don't know how I would grow in this. Perhaps just by shutting the door and the shades, and letting my spirit dance free.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Improv dancing... an emotional response to the spirit within the music. nice! :)

Blogger Unknown said...

There ought to be such a thing as an improve dancer. Your thoughts on dancing make me feel less alone.

Perhaps all that rigorous training in the conventional styles may do is give you new insight into what might be done. I find it to be this way with art. When I copy another, it always becomes new. (In other words, I can't copy ... not even myself.) But, when I attempt new directions, I find new capabilities. I am stretched beyond what I knew was possible.

Perhaps this tendency is an echo of who Christ is in us, never the same since he is too creative for imitation, but always beautiful and surprising.

Blogger Maureen said...

I think the most natural thing in the world is for people to move in response to music. Somewhere we get the (wrong) message that we shouldn't dance if we don't know how, that how being a standard most of us never aspire to anyway. We do know how, and at some deep level.

There IS in fact improvisatory dance; tango and belly dancing are two forms that use it, and I've seen it in classical ballet and especially modern dance. (Think John Cage's "chance" stuff and some Merce Cunningham choreography.) Some of the best, and most fun, performances I've seen have been improvised, because they're of the moment, pure response coming from that place in us that just knows.

It gives me joy to read your description of how you feel when you dance, move to the music.

I clicked over to listen to the music samples. I put the title on my list.

Blogger Dianna Woolley said...

Living in the now and GOING for it - that's what I call your improv dance of the day. I can almost feel the exhilaration of proving the point - YES, I CAN DANCE! Lovely and a bit related to the words over at MINDSIEVE today:)


Blogger HisFireFly said...

All this in perfect timing.. His timing. Thank you.

Yesterday I prayed and wrote about our very lives dancing to the music He selects for each of us.

Your post was an "Amen"

Blogger Unknown said...

LOVE IT! I think this is what David did...and I can't imagine something that would feel more freeing and I love that you just went with it...

now how would it feel if you were in and out of the subway with your Ipod doing something similar? If you got to that point repeatedly, well Heaven would just open up and you would be taken up:) {so maybe you'll hold off since you probably want to be around for your family;}

Blogger MAXIDUS said...

there is such a thing as an improv dancer, but i never heard the term as such. but most good dancers have to refer to their training for professional reasons - too many to list here. the foundation of movement to music is, at it's core something you have already have grasped. you would be surprised how many dancers lack this... passion? you may just be much farther along than you think. stay free and be confident in this. attitude is so important as well. i would love to speak further on this subject at Encounter 11 (yay) and even watch you move, etc... this should be fun. till then?

Blogger Jerry said...

I don't pull the shades. I wig out in front of my wife and kids.
We were watching the latest Karate Kid movie on net flicks and the background music go me up doin improv Kung Fu dance. They all just slightly ignored me but I kept on movin uttering fake Chinese. My body was achin to break out and it felt very interpretive and interuptive(to the others in the room shacking their heads and smirking).

Blogger Joelle said...

Oh, L.L. Yes, yes, yes. Watch Billy Elliot. Incredible film about a boy who had to dance--improv. Beautiful passion. Determination. Guts. Feeling. Says you all over. Be free, spirited one!

Blogger Pranavam Ravikumar said...

I loved it...Good show.

Blogger Stephanie said...

what a sweet picture.. you dancing with the shades closed. I am wanting that much freedom in my own life. To just dance when I am moved! thank you for sharing.


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