Friday, July 17, 2009

Dancing with J


Lifting, bending, touching, twisting. The sensuality of dance with a connected partner, with a man who knows how to move. The shifting energy of give and take, fluid in the open air around us. The expanding and contracting distances, the invisible cord tethering our bodies, so that no matter the steps taken in opposite directions, still we could only describe a set circumference, an orbit we could not break. I remember only once in my life dancing with a man in a perfect rhythm. It may be significant that this was not someone I was involved with at any time, romantically I mean, and this was long after I had abandoned as lost my almost-career of professional dance. That world—professional dance and ballet specifically—was one I left before achieving any training in partnering, in pas de deux. That was a milestone for us adolescent ballerinas in training—a symbolic awakening to the adult world of coupledom—and I often wondered what it meant that my dance pursuit ended before I could achieve that marker. It has seemed to me often enough that maybe this fact, this lack, had broader implications: as though my life (dancing or not) was meant to be performed as a soloist only. But this man I danced with; he was a friend. We danced barefoot on the worn floors of a converted haybarn, barn doors open to grass and the smell of baking earth in July. We danced to Dead Can Dance. And I felt so alive then, not dead at all.

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