Monday, August 15, 2011
I hold her and listen.
The pictures flash through my mind,
And I know about her life more
Than she would tell if asked.
I sense that her history is a labyrinth
That she herself has not mastered.
She is so young but has lived so much.
I feel the joy of dance counterpoised with great mourning and loss.
The music encrypts the moment with its own mysterious message.
And I am in awe once again that tango is not just
the skill of movement,
Tango is about the embrace of one human being, one soul,
Who transforms me if I will let it happen.
But so often I forget this Most Simple Thing.
I have learned to listen and believe that through embrace we are able to sense more than we might allow ourselves to believe possible. This poem is dedicated to a young Eastern European woman, with whom I danced in a small town. She was a beginner and did not dance very well. I tried to hold her as if she were very special and feel her presence. I felt if I did not do this, I would be just tortured with an unsatisfying dance. In doing so, I discovered something that I already deeply knew inside of me: That one can dance with another soul and this is supremely satisfying. In talking with her later, I found out what I had sensed from holding her -- that her life was very complex: A life with no contact with family and no way to return. I did not ask her why. She "escaped" through Russia, a bizarre path to freedom that my mind's paradigms cannot understand easily. I think we all are capable of more soul dances. Many of you have experienced this. If you haven't, try it. See what happens.
Research on this theme: http://www.spring.org.uk/2011/04/10-psychological-effects-of-nonsexual-touch.php
Sculptor: "Dancers" by Jonathon Borofsky; unknown photographer in Denver, Colorado. If you know who who took this, please share that with me.