The Body Moves

It’s supposed to. We’re not designed to be merely talking heads.  Tonight I saw this truth vividly.  I went to the annual recital of Dance London.  There had to be 150 kids and teens, strutting their stuff in 42 (!) performances.

Two years ago I worked with a girl who I’ll call “Jessica”, as a volunteer in her Grade 6 class.  I saw her a few months ago and she invited me to come to the recital.  I said yes right away.  It was a privilege to be there.

The evening started with a video.  A woman founded the studio in 1993, and she was sitting with the current owner.  She wanted to teach dance techniques to the young ones and she wanted them to be happy as they were learning.  No competition among the students.  Everyone treated equally, as I saw tonight.  When there was a group number, everyone had a chance to be at the front of the stage.

I loved the conversation.  Soon there was another one: two moms of young dancers reflected on 25 years ago, when they were the little kids onstage.  Sweet.  And then a third pair of human beings graced the chairs.  They were both under ten, and clearly loved to dance.

Jessica performed in four numbers, surrounded by a variety of colleagues.  I followed her every move, as proud of her grace and commitment as any grandpa would be.  She was in a ballet troupe that floated through a gorgeous piece featuring the rich tones of cello and violin.  The sound system was awesome.  During Jessica’s last dance, there was a moment when she and her partner were at the back of the stage.  Then they strode rhythmically to the front, oozing confidence.

The costumes were brilliant – shining this and flowing that.  My favourites were glittering green and silver dresses for a Roaring Twenties number.  I can’t remember what those dresses are called [now I remember – flapper dresses], but the kids were giving ‘er, and that’s all that mattered.  Oh, the smiles on those faces!

I watched arms extending full out to the side or up to the sky.  There’s something about the body at full stretch that inspires me.  And the choreography!  So seamless and graceful.  Combine that with a driving bass beat sometimes, and there was great joy on the stage, and in the seats.

Tiny kids had their turn too, often mentored by an adult at the end of the line.  Who cares if some of them were unsure of the steps?  They were out there, fully visible, moving and grooving.

So … this not young body needs to move as well.  A whole bunch of six- to eighteen-year-olds showed me the way.  Happily, we all teach each other.

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