Nostalgia, Dance, & Music: Finding Moments Outside of Myself
A strange sensation come over me. I felt eager to be years ahead of myself looking back at this moment with nostalgia. And yet I was living it.
I walked familiar streets that felt different slowing down. I had no intention other than following my feet north. The clicking of my heels on the pavement sounded like a painted texture. Color following behind me. It was the first time I actually stood in the middle of that square. And the man who rested next to me on the bench. One leg taller than the other. A single boot with an added five inch sole. He asked if he could smoke next to me.
How would this random detail last in my memory? Do we choose the things we carry through time? Do the moments you plan to keep stay?
A lyric made me smile: "You spent the first five years trying to get with the plan, and the next five years trying to be with your friends again." If I get to where I think I'm going, what will I miss? I wonder how my wonderings will change.
I've been running to the park and dancing on the basketball court. It started as a way to save money- dance and yoga classes can add up- but it has turned into a form of performance art. I challenge myself to see how free I can move in public space. How does it affect me when I dance and I know I can be seen? How does my body hold back? Where am I afraid to open?
I stopped to watch a flock of birds in unison. Their rhythm silenced me, taking me out of my personal drama. They flowed in circles back and forth. This is an image we all know. But the mystery of their harmonious movement is literally breathtaking. How do they share?
When I witness dance I feel as if I step outside of my life. I witness the dance of humanity filled with moments of tenderness and loss. My body understands this journey and senses its beauty. I can allow dark and light to move together and feel a subtle release.
I had the privilege of watching Axis Dance perform at the SOMArts Dis/Play art show. Axis is a mixed ability dance company that demonstrates the possibilities of movement and capabilities of the body. I sat next to my best friend and felt inclined to reach for her hand. Connected, we watched a dance between two women, which we decided represented one woman with her ego. She fought and then embraced herself.
After this show I took myself on a date to see the Lines Ballet. They demonstrate some of the highest quality dancer and creativity in the world. The current show incorporates the sounds of natural elements with lots of rain and insects. Costumes are minimal and neutral. The Lines dancers always feel like animals. They move and express themselves without shame or hiding. They break our daily postures and reflect back to us our true nature.
I had forgotten how dance offers insight into the overarching themes of life. This perspective takes me out of time. I feel close to intimacies and sensations that my mind and language can't quite touch.
At Coachella this year another best friend told me she knows we are connected when we listen to music together. No matter what is happening around us we can smile at one another and feel what the other feels. We let go of the chatter and lift our arms to capture that untouchable knowing of becoming part of something bigger than oneself. As I listen I remember I was not made to stand still. I was made to be moved and move.
I recently went to an open mic where I decided to forget the poem I planned to read and did an interpretive dance with a guitar player I had just met. We practiced once outside and then let it happen. In some ways I feel most safe dancing- it's comfortable for me to fall into my body and create a space of privacy. But I don't know if I'm any good at the creative things I do. And I don't think it matters. Because I have to let it out. And I have to live the freedom I want everyone to feel. So I can't be too concerned with what's good. I can't be afraid. The more I do the more I release.
I want to look back and feel nostalgia for my naive bravery. For the way I approached the exploring of creating in this life. Walking, dancing, watching, listening, holding hands, exchanging glances. A closeness to the sound of heels pounding pavement and a vision of the old man's cigarette in the sun.