Everything in the universe has rhythm. Everything dances.
Dance is the hidden language of the soul.
Maya Angelou, respectively Martha Graham
(Two independent quotes, invited to dance together by my hand today…)
Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Martha Graham, Maya Plisetskaya, Rudolf Nureev, John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Ecaterina Gordeeva, Serghey Grinkov, Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Shakira, Carmen Amaya, Joaquin Cortes, Michael Flattley... the list can go on … beautiful artists, bringing joy in our hearts and smiles on our faces, teaching us to dream about flying on a perfect music, only barely touching the dance floors.
This morning, as I was surfing through the internet, a couple of sad news caught my attention: the death of Ben. E. King (the singer of ‘Stand by me”) and of the Russian ballet dancer Maya Plisetskaya. Many other bad news were decorating the screen with their ugly headings, mostly reminding me that what we started to call ‘crisis’ for some years now is just the current state of affairs, no matter where we live in this world.
Positive news however got also some attention, as a new baby-princess was born in the British Royal family yesterday. If you can ignore the collateral damage done by journalists, this certainly brings a smile in my heart, the same heart that also sheds a tear for Ben and Maya’s departure.
I smiled some more, as I remembered that the day before yesterday I met a baby-girl named Maia, who was born this April. Who knows? Perhaps she will become a famous ballet dancer. Or at least she will learn how to gracefully hold her head and ballet her way through school and further on, as far as she may dream!
I have no idea why, but the song that came to my heart today was ‘Time of my Life’.
It happens to me quite often to sing a song in the back of my head throughout the day. Usually it is something I hear in the morning, either at home while I get ready for going out or on the way to work. Sometimes it is not something I hear, but a tune which I reminisce from the past and I carry with me for the whole day, or just until a more appropriate music replaces it, according to whatever happens during that day… It gives me a certain mindset and also a certain rhythm for the things I have to do.
Shortly after midday, I lit up a candle and then started to walk through the beautiful streets of Vienna. Today I decided to wonder to some new places, where I never walked before. I looked at the quiet buildings, their harmonious architecture and majestic lines. I tried to imagine them full of life, as I suppose they should be on any given (but preferably sunny!) working day.
Suddenly I realized that … I was dancing! Not obviously, not physically, not like Gene Kelly in the rain, but … I was singing ‘Time of my Life’ and my soul was dancing to it, while my body was walking down the streets of Vienna. And my steps were somehow harmonized with it, as my walking just felt ‘in-sync’ with the tune. Because this is one of the songs that always make me get up and dance, no matter how tired, disappointed or hurt I am …
While dancing with the buildings, the trees and the clouds, I wondered how long it has been since I have written something. In 2013 I thought I was quite close to finalize my ‘ways’ series, while now I am not even sure whether it should have an end anyway. I could be just gradually adding to it in the years to come, as work in progress throughout my daily life.
(A short note for those who do not know or cannot remember what I am talking about: I started to write some thoughts about the world crisis, back in 2011. It started as a collection of thoughts about financial and sovereign mess, which extended to human rights and tolerance, then somehow evolved into a so-called ‘roots’ series. They are basically personal views for the dilemma ‘what went wrong’? The ‘ways’ series came later, in an attempt to find answers to the other, somehow circular dilemma - ‘and now what?!...’)
Today a ballet dancer, a singer and a royal princess made me pause and listen to my heart. And there I found one of the simplest and the most beautiful of all the ways to approach life and take on problems head on.
I therefore would like to invite you to take your bodily presence in this world … for a dance - today, tomorrow and for the rest of your life! No matter if the dance of your choice is ballet or tango, if you are on thin ice or on soft carpet, if you need to invoke rain or fertility, if it’s time to mourn or to party, if you plan to start a game or launch an attack… No matter if the song of your heart today is ‘Stand by Me’ or ‘Beat It’, ‘Kalinka’ or ‘Zorba’, ‘I’m a believer’ or ‘Hit the road, Jack!’…
Some may argue that dancing is a form of art and that they are not ‘gifted’ for such an endeavor. Of course, we are not all Fred or Ginger, same as not every singer is Maria Callas, every scientist Einstein or Edison, every basketball player Michael Jordan or every gymnast Nadia. I am not talking of THAT kind of dancing. I am talking about another kind of dancing, which transcends everything – art and religion, as well as any line of work. A form of human expression which I suspect to be older than the speech, one which resides in every living soul, no matter how easy or difficult it is expressed outside. Every act of creation has its own dance.
Every one of us has a rhythm inside, and so we dance to it every day. Our dancing part may be our heads, our hearts, our stomachs, our feet or our fingers … our music may be something we hear, something we feel, something we dream, something we fear … our dance may express harmony or disruption, peace or torment, despair or hope. Dancing may come out as elegant or erotic, majestic or common, provocative or inviting, intimidating or encouraging.
We are investing significant part of our waking hours to communication with many living creatures in our limited universe. In particular, I find humans quite difficult to convince that reason does not exist in the absence of feeling (and that feelings are easily hurt or misread), theory and practice can coexist in parallel worlds just like the Sun and the Moon, law does not always mean justice and education does not always mean character. In my daily life, I need to do a lot of dancing with many people that dance on very different music. Sometimes it is hard to follow the tune but, same as everything in life, practice brings one closer to perfection. And for those who have seen me dance, they know what I am talking about …
Last year I have discovered that I start each day with a smile. Today I noticed that a tune is also somehow involved in the universal conspiracy of my daily life. I do wonder what the next year will bring new to my understanding of life.
Until then, I leave you with a feminine smile … As I started with a motto compiled from two great ladies, I shall end with a very important thing you should learn about dancing:
Dancing is wonderful training for girls; it's the first way you learn to guess what a man is going to do before he does it.
Christopher Morley (Kitty Foyle character)