"She refused to be bored, chiefly because she wasn't boring." Zelda Fitzgerald

Friday, January 6, 2012

Poetry Friday: A Dance Poem

Happy Poetry Friday everyone! I'm sharing a poem with you today that I wrote about dancing. Half of my "high school career" was at a performing arts charter school, an experience that really molded and encouraged my inner artist (not that it was exactly closeted anyhow) and helped me think of myself as part of the art world. One of the things that was most unique about high school in our building was that gym was replaced by everyone taking dance class together. We studied all kinds of dance from swing to modern to African with ballet influence and we performed for the public and for our parents and friends. I miss dance. After we married A and I studied privately with pair of ballroom instructors and learned to rumba and cha cha and waltz together. We quit when we moved out of Michigan. I think from time to time now about taking a class or going out to dance night event someplace but my current craving is just the see a dance performance. I want to see something live with thundering energy and swirling movement and the breathtaking moments that are lifts and dips and the human body in amazing, planned motion.
If you have to ask what jazz is, you'll never ...
Image via Wikipedia

I think I need to get on my local community calendar and find a local dance company to go see on a date night. This is getting bad. But in lieu of that I am clicking play over and over on this beautiful but short film of a ballet performance/fashion show. The female dancer is Janie Taylor and the male lead Justin Peck, both dance with our own New York City Ballet. We're a lucky crowd here in the metro area. Janie's clothing in the piece chances every few seconds, all the outfits are the work of the designer Chloe, and she's modeling the spring and summer line from 2011. I love Janie's hair and the fluid, amazing movement that dancing with it down creates.

Downright swoony, right? On to my poem.

 Music In My Body

When I was a little girl we danced in the kitchen,
Polkas on the linoleum, skipping past the sink
My Sunday dress hopping with my curls.
We went to square dances and I learned the
Internal swirl and bop of an allemande left
And bought my first pair of fragrant jazz shoes,
Leather curled like a crepe about each foot.
My second dance teacher, a warm sapling woman
All dark arching brows and shining seal's hair
She told me once to use proper posture in the car
"Sit like a puppeteer is dancing you from the roof."
I attended prom and shambled through the odd, close
Shuffle of a slow dance with my buzz-cut boyfriend.
And then I toured colleges and chose the Baptist one
Where I was smuggled into a hopping, underground
Swing Dance Club, all covert big band heat and zow.
I was at a wedding a year later, doing the macarena
When I overheard an old man say behind his hand,
"Those Baptist girls sure can cut a rug, eh?"
I married a man who was my ballroom partner
In the community dance class we took together
We trod on each other's toes and wrestled for the lead
Dancing our first, silent round of couples therapy
Now we have three little boys, all avid pint-sized swingers
And we hop and slide around the kitchen together
And I feel, as we do the twist in front of the sink
That I'll arch like Martha Graham into my golden years
With my foot pointed ahead of me, still following
That steady stream of music in my body.

A man and a woman performing a modern dance.
Image via Wikipedia
 So, that's my life's story in dance, or at least some of highlights. Good thoughts. I am sometimes asked if I'm a dancer and told I move like one. I doubt I really give off fluid ballerina vibes but something about me tells people that I like beauty of movement and that is a pretty good deal. I don't think of myself as a "dancer" per say. I was never any kind of star in the dancing circles I was in, I was afraid of being lifts since I was a big of a heavy girl for most of my adolescence, I was a little shy and a kind of wallflower socially and I didn't have perfect graceful instincts like some of my close friends. I've never danced a solo of any kind. I do have to say though that writing this poem really made me think about how much dance has been a part of my story and history. We don't have to be stars in order to sparkle. To say that the only ones who are dancers are the leads is cheating all the rest of us who just love to move. I'm a dancer.

If you want to take in other people's entries for the week, feel free to hop on over to Teaching Authors, today's host blog for Poetry Friday and take a look at what else is being represented. And have a great weekend! I'll be right here, with my toe pointed, on Monday.

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