DANCING LIKE YOU’RE CRAZY
My friends took me to see a dance performance for my fortieth birthday. Some of us are novice dancers ourselves (and I use the word “novice” here loosely), while others just enjoy dance and especially love to just be in the presence of dancers, especially professional ones manlig-halsa.se/. We love to sit back and experience the sheer bliss of witnessing the art of fellow human beings taking flight.
This particular performance was somewhat unconventional. To say it was off the wall would be an understatement. We sat in a small theatre downtown Toronto and watched as nine (or so) dancers moved about the stage in this totally unchoreographed, erratic fashion, to a backdrop of intentionally dissonant music, peppered with the odd bell or the startling blast from a harmonica thrown in.
The vision of the whole production was for the dancers to move continually and without repetition, like objects in space, bouncing off of random space objects (i.e. each other), expanding and contracting, and generally without any rhyme or reason. They pulled this off exceptionally well. We were all completely lost.
Some of my friends were agitated and wanted to leave within the first fifteen minutes, while others found the experience so unnerving, they simply stifled laughter.
We sat and watched this awkward exercise for a full hour and took a collective deep breath when it finally wrapped up. Needless to say, we were stunned to see that several of the dancers were outwardly emotional when they lined up to take their bows. Many of the audience members jumped to their feet, shouting praise, whistling, and applauding. My friends and I felt like we were the Twilight Zone.
We found out later that several of the dancers in this particular company were actually world renowned. I thought about it all evening, and the following morning, came to a conclusion: This was probably one of the hardest things they had ever done. They had no choreography to grab hold of and to hide inside. They weren’t able to awe the audience with signature dance moves or to pull us all into a story that we could relate to. Our hearts weren’t moved by swelling music, and our minds were generally just confused at the spectacle. If it had just been them, doing an exercise with no audience, it would have been challenging in and of itself. How much more so, to have us all watching them, and not really understanding what they were doing? They weren’t even able to give us warning, or explanation, or excuse.
It was completely and totally, vulnerable.
ISN’T THIS WHAT CHILDREN DO?
I thought about what it looks like when a little kid dances. Up to a certain age, there is this unabashed erratic nature about it that seems so free, so uninhibited by the expectation or judgement of others. At some point, every child starts to notice when people are watching. The shame creeps in slowly and eventually takes such hold that we aren’t even able to dance when we’re all alone. Some of us try to get training, to better our skill of expression so that we can communicate our zeal in an inspiring way. In honestly, isn’t is also just so we won’t embarrass ourselves?
I thought about the worship and discovery weekends my sister and I put together for women twice a year. I thought about the times when we just play music and dance, flag, paint, or just listen to the music. Over the years, I have become familiar with a lot of the hidden pain and joy that so many of my friends carry. I thought about what it would look like, for any one of them to suddenly just let go and go for it; to dance around the room erratically like a child, lifting their arms and their beautiful face to the sky, unashamed. And I thought, that would probably be one of the most inspiring things I could imagine.
Maybe it’s just me. I’m sure a lot of people would just quietly excuse themselves from such an unhindered display of passion. Maybe that’s because it’s something that threatens to light a spark inside of us that has been all but extinguished for most of our lives.
For me, I’m not interested in living inside of shame for the rest of my life. I know that means I’m going to have to do things even though I’m scared out of my mind. I’m going to have to jump off some cliffs and suffer some falls. But for me, it will be worth it.
Bust out the harmonica. It’s on.