(continued from moon goddess)
After the opening ceremony, VB and I danced for a little while in the main, up-tempo room. But after the serenity of the ceremony, it was a little hard to break right into the full-on dancing, so we soon decided to go and check out the down-tempo meditation room. This room was later to become a veritable sauna of closely-packed bodies and clouds of incense and sage smoke, but at the beginning of the night it was tranquil. We joined twenty or so other people, many of them sitting quietly and meditating, a few dancing slowly, a few doing dance stretches or yoga poses. The DJ, a shy, sweet-looking young woman with a tangle of light brown dreadlocks and layers of earth-toned gypsy clothes, was playing a perfectly chosen mix of slow beats threaded through with world music sounds: didjeridoos, tablas, flutes and marimbas and myriad different drums. She would bring the energy up, slowly, till we were almost dancing, then pull it back down to a more dreamy, meditative tempo.
After nearly an hour of stretching interspersed with quiet sitting and brief dancing, VB and I headed to the up-tempo room. I now felt ready – energized, suffused with sage, woven into the night with my fellow human beings. Bouncing on bare feet, we hit the dancefloor.
And danced, and danced, and danced. For four hours. Four hours of straight dancing is a lot, particularly at a completely sober event where you don’t really know anyone – the focus is on the dancing. I danced through every movement I’ve ever made, through every memory of every dance I’ve ever been part of. As I searched back for new motions, the right gesture for the next beat, I found myself reliving all the dance in my life. It didn’t come in chronological order, but simply however my muscles demanded that I remembered.
Finding myself turning an ankle out in a particular way, I recalled tai chi lessons with CV, in LM’s garden back in D’Kar. The endless nights of dancing in her house came back too, of course – all the moves I’ve borrowed from her and AT, the feel of insistent hands on my hips saying THIS is how you move them!, the ecstatic spontaneous circles as our favourite Freshly Ground songs came on. The traditional dancing at their wedding and then the long, sweaty nights at Trekker’s night club.
Whenever I dance, I remember my capoeira days. I’m forever shuffling my feet in samba rhythms (or trying to), swinging with the beat and motions of capoeira kicks and dodges. I remember the parties at my mestre’s house, the dark living room crowded with people from all over the world, the first time I danced with a man that actually knew how to grab a girl and lead, rather than the half-hearted slow-dances of high school. When I lift my hands in the air I recall the motions of the maculele sticks, and when I spin I remember learning to whip my head around as all dancers do, maximizing the time you face forward and minimizing your dizziness. Whenever I dance, I long for more latin music.
Older memories came back. The first time I really enjoyed dancing, without feeling self-conscious: in Australia, when I was 14. I didn’t care what I looked like, or if the whole world was watching – I just got carried away.
Ballroom dancing lessons, taken just for fun. Breathless, exciting nights at clubs. The best dancing partners in the world in the Terrace taproom, ducking behind the big square pillar and making up the most ridiculous moves as we got in everyone’s way. And so many more.
By the end of the night, my legs were trembling with exhaustion. I felt wrung out, in the best possible way. VB and I walked to the bus stop, and I rode the #4 bus home.