Thirty-three years ago today, Irish playwright, novelist and poet, Samuel Beckett died. He was 83.
“One of the most influential and widely-discussed avant-garde writers of the 20th century. His most famous plays, “Waiting for Godot”, “Endgame” and “Happy Days”, display his absurdist, anti-realist traditions. https://www.onthisday.com/people/samuel-beckett
Is it Terpsicore or Terpsicurry? “If that’s all there is my friends then let’s keep dancing” (song by Peggy Lee).
My first book of poetry, Tangoed Up in Blue, was about learning to dance at an Arthur Murray’s Dance Studio in Kentwood, Michigan. My wife and I spent seven years learning, competing and generally enjoying dance in many forms. We met many new people, visited dance studios and floors across many states and acquired a small wardrobe of dance costumes. We considered it our “country club membership” and spent more than a few dollars each year enjoying the art.
Prior to lessons, I considered dance as something akin to doing jumping jacks or slow Frankenstein rotations that could only be performed in loud, dark environments after three drinks, at least. Fortunately, with lessons, alcohol was not needed but didn’t hurt; especially, if you were being asked to dance by strangers in a crowded hall. I remember one night at a dude ranch in Sheridan, Wyoming, being asked to do a Western Swing dance with someone half my age in an old barn used to introduce visitors to one another. My wife and I were there with her family for a horse-riding family reunion and she encouraged me to accept the invitation. Yes, dance is a fun way to make contact in a strange place with strangers.
I’ll never forget the first time I danced with a man. It was my wife’s professional teacher and he wanted to see how I waltzed. My wife was trying to explain how I couldn’t really lead that dance so her teacher wanted to experience my lead for himself. Sure enough, I needed many more lessons 😊 Funny, how that works out.
They say, dance is good for physical fitness, mental clarity and emotional stability. “They” being dance instructors mostly. But are there are more important reasons we dance? Self-expression, body/mind alignment, releasing depression and endorphins? Certainly physical touch alone can be healing so full body contact while swaying and gliding across a dance floor must be truly liberating.
If/when this COVID-19 pandemic subsides, I might consider taking lessons again. It’s been close to 15 years since my last lesson and there’d be a lot of rust to work off; but, as the Zimbabwe proverb goes: “if you can walk you can dance.” The opportunity to “shake a leg” would be a fun way to enjoy an evening or two; hopefully without a facemask and latex gloves, of course.