Day 6: Keep Dancing

“You aren’t dancing if you’re thinking about it.” – A. Tane

For me, dance is the heartbeat of life — everything in nature is doing a dance. Bees play musical chairs with flowers; trees lean with the wind’s lead; dragonflies skip daintily across the water. 

Dance is how I worship – it’s how I wrap myself around God, and let my soul speak. Without need for a partner or audience, it has been a way of life I’d forgotten — until yesterday.

I don’t know what that thing is for you, but whatever takes you so deeply in that you’re out of your rational mind, it’s THAT.

Yesterday, my mother and I attended a “jazz concert” which was (thankfully) more of a block party with “de folk.” Down home folk…the kind that grab your wrist to tell you how “purty” you look. (Damn! I love that about the South.)

I felt at home – all the melanin glistenin’, snaggle-tooth gold-plated smiles, drawn out vowels, children with natty hair curling closely to their faces, the smell of beer and sweat…

and the rhythms of Cuba pouring from the stage filled me with memories of experiences I’ve yet to have. The impulse started behind my belly button and between my shoulder blades. 

I knew it was only a matter of time. 

I spotted a man at least 25 years my senior, with salt and pepper hair, dancing alone: grooving. I never took my eyes off of him as I told my mother, “Hold this,” thrusting my purse in her lap.

Off I went in his direction.

Assuming he was Cuban, I walked up to him and asked, “Bailas?”

It was all she wrote. 

Something, simultaneously familiar and strange, filled my entire being. I danced my perfectly coiled bun into a messy mop of hair. My shoes got left, and I danced my bare feet until they blistered. 

I was there, and not.

I sweat through my shirt. I couldn’t catch my breath, and when it caught me, I allowed myself to be caught up by the best of everything in that moment. There was no stone left unturned.

I walked away full. And I still am. And I am going back for more. 

No matter what happens…KEEP DANCING.

-Maya Yamada, my high school dance teacher

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