Friday, November 30, 2012

To Renew (step 3): Learning to Dance

Skyscrapers, please forgive me.
I didn't mean a word I said.
Skyscrapers, I was just tangled up in my own head.
And somehow in all the madness,
I thought that I was seeing straight.
It ain't always pretty, but it seemed there was no other way.
And I guess all I ever loved was standing right before my eyes, and I was blind.
So skyscrapers, please forgive me.
I stand here a penitent man.
Skyscrapers, I'll never look down again.
'Cause I guess all I ever loved was standing right before my eyes.
Yeah, I guess all I ever loved was standing here all the time, and I was blind.
You were right here all the time and I was blind. 

Music Video for the song "Skyscrapers" by OK Go
Director: Trish Sie
Producers: Trish Sie & Paula Salhany
Cinematography and editing: Paula Salhany
Dancers: Moti Bunchboot & Trish Sie

Always I danced when I was young.  And stayed up late with foam curlers in my hair to watch the ballets on PBS -- Giselle, Swan Lake.  Tap and ballet at my tiny angry teacher's house whose shiny wooden floor squeaked beneath our feet.  Many hours clicked away to "The Sunny Side of the Street."  Tap gave me a headache.  But ballet -- "She's very good," another mother said with a surprised voice.  "But tall," said my even taller mother.  Because, as she explained at home, ballet girls need to be short and small so the boys could toss them up in the air, could hold them up and spin them around.  Nothing else in the world did she ever say I couldn't be -- lawyer (I would be so good), doctor (her own sister was one), businesswoman (her aunt), professor (I would be a natural).  "But in ballet they're looking for all the same.  Like a set of girls all alike.  Only primas are taller. And you have to be very very very good to be a prima."  I could tell she didn't think it was a life worthy of tall women like we were always going to be.  So I made up my own dances, like nothing I had ever seen.  Twists and leaps and spins, sideways, backwards, rolling, reaching.  Uncle Dex said he knew people who danced like that.  He even knew one whose name was exactly the same as mine.  "He would," my mother said.

"Do you do ballet?"  I would be asked in surprised voices, at odd moments.  When I picked up a piece of paper off the ground.  When I was just walking and slipped and recovered myself.  "When I was younger,"  I would shrug.  And when no one was around at home through high school, in my college dorm, in the middle of a field, in an empty parking lot, I danced.  I turned up the music, any music, and danced my strange dance.  Will I ever stop dancing?  I wrote once in my breathless journal.  Will I ever grow old?

I married a man who doesn't dance. Much.  He will dance with me.  He tries.

But I myself have not danced for years now.

This month isn't really, isn't only about dancing.

This is the threshold of the month I've been building up for with some trepidation (as if forgiving lots of little things will made the other bigger seem easier, though maybe it will turn out more like Frodo and the ring, but the dancing as a sweetener, as a nonverbal enactment that may slide me around, a way of laying claim to a portion of grace).

This is the hardest step so far, but the step (after decent sleep/work rhythms) that I need most before I can go on with the rest of my life:

Learning to Dance (Dec)
  1. Learn to hula (1+/ wk)
  2. Practice sign language (1+/ wk)
  3. Yoga (2+/ wk)
  4. Forgive something daily
  5. Do exercises in Forgiving Ourselves
  6. Dance every day
  7. Keep to the rhythms of Binding Up Lost Pages (Nov) and Keeping Time (Oct)
the texts: The Dancing Bear by Peter Dickinson,  Forgiving Ourselves: getting back up when we let ourselves down by Wendy Ulrich, The Art of Growing Old: aging with grace by Marie de Hennezel


Lisa B. said...

!!!!! I endorse this message !!!!!

(and maybe I will take it up myself.)
(may I just recommend that you watch Step Up 2: The Streets? It is trash and it is transcendent, and it is not rated R, but it has totally inspiring dancing in it.)

Mrs. Organic said...

Hula is lovely and sign language is the perfect dance partner.

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