As I was driving home last night, planning this post as mile markers disappeared into darkness and headlights provided my path for safe travels, I couldn't determine when I actually started to like dance. I know I was really into break dancing. My floor work was mediocre at best, but my popping was pretty good. Still I am sure it was before that, those Sunday morning cleaning sessions with Mom and Dona Summers or Al Jarreau or Lionel Richie or some other R&B artist improving the chores. Inevitably there would be a dance moment, a moment when mom took my embarrassed hand and taught me to shimmy or jive or twist. Dance is another one of those taboo interests that are not taboo to me because I was raised by my mom.
Of course, there was my senior year of High-School when I participated in the G.A.T.E. program, which was focused on making the performing artists multi-disciplined, Singers danced, Actors sang, Dancers acted, etc. There were also some high-school musicals when I dated my first dancer...ah, Cecilia, but I think my passion for it happened in college. Lindenwood had a really great Dance program. While I was in school I took every opportunity I could to learn and grow. While others were passing out drunk under trees, I was at dance concerts, art shows, and theater performances. This is also how I met my ex-wife. She was an amazing dancer, moved with passion and power. She spoke through movement, and I had open ears. During our relationship I learned a lot about the history of dance and dance companies. Her favorite was Alvin Ailey for every time she mentioned another company like Pilabolous, she mentioned Alvin Ailey 15 times. Though we have now been divorced longer than we were married, my passion for Dance has never wavered. For the last 3 years I have had season tickets to the Dance St. Louis presentations and am completely addicted to So You Think You Can Dance.
I got to see the Alvin Ailey Dance American Dance Theater for the first time a few years ago and finally understood why Angela was so enamoured with the company. Dance St. Louis brought them back this year, and I was fortunate to have front row seats for yesterday's matinee. The piece that affected me the most was "Anointed" which was Choreographed by ex-Ailey dance Christopher Huggins.
While I do not have the words to adequately explain this piece, I will speak through the language I know best, poetry.
Evoke emotions through limbs and lungs
Extension resolved into contraction as you engulf him
Breathes life through arms and fingers
Saves you from gravity as bodies become one
Leave anointed by soul and spirit
I couldn't find an image of the exact moment I am talking about, and it was not in the preview, but here are some shots from the dance that I liked.
If you have never been to a professional dance concert, I encourage you to seek one out and experience a silent emotion that has the power to change lives.